Disposing of Value(s)

I’m a fairly young guy yet, only being 32 years of age at the time of this writing. Even so, I do have a recollection of the days when things were built to last, and when those things lasted they were always appreciated. Since reaching adulthood though, I’ve went through several pieces of modern furniture (everything from end tables and coffee tables to cabinets, tv stands, and many, many bookshelves) only to have each in time collapse into an irreparable pile of crumbling presswood. I look at these pitiful heaps and then consider how much of the furniture and decorations of my youth, such as my parent’s old coffee table, are still in good shape today, being of a good condition and sturdy integrity. What does this say about us as a modern people?


In the past, things were made to last. They were built with heart, with durable materials and competent knowledge and worthwhile goals. Today, for whatever reason, so much seems to be built just for the moment, for transient tastes, of materials that can barely withstand the dampness from the condensation of a cold soda let alone time itself. Appliances are often the same way, as I know several people who have purchased new washers and dryers only to have them fall into disrepair in only a few years, while on the other hand there others I know who are still using appliances that were purchased in the ’80s, those in fact doing a better job in the long run than the new, super-duper fancy smart machines!

Is it about money? Is it about consumerism? Why are we building things in such a seemingly faulty way today? Well, truth be told, it actually has its basis, insofar as this is concerned, with a manufacturing philosophy established decades ago that actually aims to construct goods with built-in faults, thereby limiting their long term desirability and usefulness, in effect forcing the consumer to continue replacing it. This is called “planned obsolescence,” and there should be no doubt that it, at least in part, has had a detrimental effect on our culture as a whole.

trash
You see, we have this mindset now that, instead of fixing something that is broken, we often just replace it. While this certainly makes sense in some cases, there are other instances where the whole situation is just blatantly wasteful. And, like so much else, it goes deeper than just our wanton consumerism.

We make it easy on ourselves to get rid of things that we perceive as broken, and the same goes for ideas as much as products. Friendships today are far more tenuous today than they were in the past. Marriages are no longer built, by and large, on the understanding of “till death do us part.” And the social norms of yesteryear, many built upon thee unwavering foundation of scripture, are today being rejected en masse in favor of new, more pleasant interpretations. What’s more, it’s not just enough today to reject what used to be good; modern proponents want to prosecute those who disagree with the new norm…

I’m sure by now everyone has heard of the Christian bakeries that have been essentially put out of business for refusing to make cakes for a gay wedding.¹ It’s also likely that you are familiar with the infamous case sometime back concerning Kim Davis, who, morally conflicted about having to issue a “marriage” license to a gay couple, found herself embroiled in a hot national mess.²  Well, while I admit that these are just two particular instances in a growing sea of disagreement between those claiming to anchor their morals in their faith and those more comfortable with the lax views of society at large, we should make no mistake that the gap is ever-widening, and more pertinently, growing ever more threatening to the average men and women who stand in the way of “progress.”

Consider the current situation faced by Dr. Eric Walsh, a lay minister in Georgia, has been ordered by the State to hand over his sermons, notes, and any transcripts that may exist of them. According to his attorneys, the government is curious about sermons the doctor delivered on health, marriage, sexuality, world religions, science and creationism. Thankfully, Dr. Walsh is fighting against this outrageous overreach of the state. As one of his attorneys, Jeremy Dys, said, “If the government is allowed to fire someone over what he said in his sermons, they can come after any of us for our beliefs on anything.”³ 

There have always been battles between the faithful and the faithless. Even amongst those who do believe, there have been conflicts from the start, different sides seeing justification for their own perspectives on Biblical teaching. All that aside though, we appear to be reaching a crescendo with these kinds of conflicts here in America, a place which has largely been freed of such persecution in the past, as we enter a period of time in which those who are most faithful to the Word of God will invariably receive the greatest condemnations from those who claim to have risen above them.

The Bible is clear on this matter, that there will be a large scale rejection of the truth before the End is upon us. Are we seeing the beginning of that? Consider the words of 2 Timothy 4, 1-4:

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

In the past it was unheard of, and culturally suicidal, for an American to admit support for socialism, let alone to advocate its tenets broadly across the nation. It was unheard of to easily admit one’s homosexuality, let alone to force business to bend their morals to fit  desires of such persuasions. To be found in possession of a weak moral integrity, engaging in unscrupulous business or political endeavors, would have been terminal for one’s career in former years, while today they almost seem a prerequisite for the candidacy of the President of the United States of America. Like so much else, as culture changes around us, so too do the views of the masses in regard to the scriptures. Like the blatant disregard for marriage plaguing our culture, so too do we find the sentiment of “Don’t like the scriptures? Get new ones.” Consider for instance the abominable Queen James Bible

In the end, my friend, we must absolutely understand that there are things of true value, and that while it is up to us to make our marriages and friendships and other loyalties last, doing our absolute best to maintain high integrity and good fidelity and to work on problems rather than just throw away one bond in favor of a newer one, there is something of immensely great value that transcends anything we ourselves can do to sustain it, and that is the Word of God. It has been tried and tested for millennia, and those trials are not yet over.

So while it’s easy, indeed nowadays necessary, to trash that $30 bookshelf you bought from Walmart two years ago, we must recognize that the timeless Scriptures are absolutely invaluable to our mortal lives and those beyond, not only for ourselves, but for all who may look to us for inspiration and guidance. Dangerous days lay ahead; we need to all weigh our faith, bolster our spirits, and prepare for whatever is to come before we are indeed freed through the final deliverance of our Savior.

References:

  1. “Christian bakers fined $135,000 for refusing to make wedding cake for lesbians,” Todd Starnes, July 03, 2015
  2. “Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis, Who Refused to Issue Marriage Licenses to Gays, Seeks to End Case,” Corky Siemaszko, June 21st, 2016
  3. “State of Georgia demands pastor turn over sermons,” Todd Starnes, October 26, 2016

 

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Thank you very much, and God bless!

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