Not long ago a friend on the east coast went through a major moral failure. After much prayer and sharing, I sent an email to him sharing my best advice on righting his personal life.
Because he was not a believer, I decided to appeal through a popular concept that contained sound biblical principles. That teaching is called “Confronting the Brutal Facts.”
We need that same truth today to face what might be the most consequential development of our lives.
History may one day call it “The Great Turning Away.”
Momentous events populate the news this week including possible peace on the Korean Peninsula, the Israeli revelation that Iran cheated on its nuclear deal, and the National Day of Prayer taking place on Thursday, May 3.
The theme of the NDP this year is “Unity” which appears to be miraculously coming together in the Koreas and falling apart in the Middle East. I will write on these subjects in future columns.
Today, I’d like to take a critical look at Western culture and propose what might be our greatest threat. It originates from the cultural abandonment of biblical faith and the implications of turning away from God.
But it shows itself on a much smaller level, as basic as male and female.
What is the West’s greatest threat for survival?
Many grave dangers for people and nations exist in our world. Nuclear annihilation remains a top concern. North Korea appears to be taking steps backward on that front (Hallelujah), while Iran clandestinely moves forward toward nukes (Boo!).
There remains the problem of a great financial collapse due to our debt-burdened world and inter-twined economies–our flat earth. The scourge of social media evil and isolation looms large on the next generation while the present generation reeks profanities and vile comedy at a dinner hosted (but not attended) by the White House.
I’m sure you have your own list of dangers to your family and nation.
Have you pondered deeply that the greatest calamity in the Western World over the past two or three generations does not lies in bombs or vulgarities–but right in the epicenter of Western civilization: the breakdown of the nuclear family due to a loss of biblical understanding of masculinity and femininity?
God’s view of maleness and femaleness has been increasingly erased from our memory over the past half century. One obvious fruit of this change is the gender confusion of the present day with masculinity being out of style and feminism in vogue (and many young people not knowing which they are–or both).
These distortions are killing the West. Nothing stands more lethal to our existence than the destruction of the family unit. Men are not being encouraged to be themselves and women want to act like men.
This confusion destroys courtship, marriage, children and whole families.
Which brings me to the best clearest thoughts on this subject I’ve seen in some time. The following article by Suzanne Venker appeared recently on the Fox Business Network. I will quote it in its entirety while sharing some commentary.
“Chivalry is Dead Because Women Killed It.”
“A friend of mine whose mother died recently was going through her parents’ memorabilia and unearthed a Western Union telegram from 1954 that her father sent her mother just before they married. Here’s what it said:
“‘Darling, I shall be waiting for you at eight. With a lifetime of expectancy. My heart will be coming with you down the aisle. May God be with us tonight as we pray we will always be with Him. Thank you for becoming my wife. My love forever yours, Henry.'”
Heart-felt, romantic words. I spent yesterday with a friend from Mongolia whose culture shares Henry’s view. My friend wrote a song for his wife’s birthday that sounded just like Henry’s tender thoughts.
“Several days after I’d read this note, I came across this miserable tripe on Facebook: ‘Chivalry is harmful to both men and women,’ relays the woman in the video. ‘because it reinforces this idea that women need to be helped or saved by a stronger man. And it takes away a woman’s agency.’”
“The video is part of an ‘Unpopular Opinion’ series on Facebook, a concept that in theory I’d support. But there’s nothing unpopular about a video that sells the same tired message feminists have sold for years and subsequently became the status quo: that men and women are ‘equal’ and should therefore be treated the same.”
We ARE equal in worth–but complimentary in roles.
“Women can open their own doors, pull out their own chairs and take care of themselves, women have argued for years. ‘I’m strong enough to do all these things,’ notes the woman in the video, who identifies herself as Emily Panic, as she flexes her arm muscles to viewers.”
“’And what’s the deal with guys giving up their seats on the subway?’ she adds. ‘If you do give me your seat, and I take it, I don’t have to talk to you. Please don’t talk to me, okay? I got like 20 podcasts loaded on my iPod that I would rather listen to than you. That’s not meant to be mean. I just don’t want to talk to you.’”
This sounds like both role denial and social-media-isolation disease. Ms. Venker responds:
“The stark contrast of the Western Union telegram and this video depicting modern gender relations speaks volumes.”
“If there’s one common theme in the media today about the relationship between women and men, it’s the claim that there are no good (read: marriageable) men left. Well, gee, I wonder why that is?”
“It’s clear as day why that is. The relentless message from women and society that men have nothing special to offer—that not only is their income unnecessary, so is their chivalrous behavior—has built a wall between the sexes the size of Mount Everest.”
“Funny thing, though, the equality meme hasn’t translated to women paying for their own dinner or asking men to marry them. Why is that? Could it be that deep down, women know something’s lost when men and women are viewed as the same? Could it be there was something special about men being men and women being women?”
Yes, God-given conscience confirms that truth–if we’ll listen. Men and woman ARE special, but in different ways.
“In the days when men were chivalrous, women held a different kind of power than they do today. Feminine power is far more potent than the power a woman gleans in the marketplace. But women don’t access it. And they reject masculinity as well. Today’s universities are in fact offering programs specifically designed to quash male nature. And still women wonder why there are no more Henrys. Mature, respectful, marriage-minded men like him have vanished. Can we blame them?”
Not really. Ideas have consequences.
“Fortunately, as I wrote back in 2012, women have the power to turn it all around—because they are the relationship navigators. Men only changed because women did. That’s because men are born to please women. Modern woman don’t know this, for they’ve been conditioned to think of men as oppressors. But it’s true.”
“Any woman who wants what Henry and his wife had—and who wouldn’t?—can have it. It will take time because women have made a real mess of things. Nevertheless, they can begin by rejecting the narrative in this video.
“Instead, embrace chivalry. Praise chivalry. Praise men, for God’s sake! And then watch what happens.”
My new book, River of God: Where Religion Began and Why Grace and Love Will Triumph, discusses the epic worldview battles we face in the 21st century. On one side, the secular worldview blurs the sexes, creating the breakdown we’re currently experiencing–threatening our very existence.
The Islamic world view, on the other hand, stands at the opposite pole. Whereas secular progressives preach egalitarianism without exception, Muslims believe that women are the slavish property of men. A huge dichotomy.
Only the biblical worldview teaches the equal worth of men and women and the complimentary roles of masculine behavior and feminine prowess. It stands as the moderate and wise middle between two unhealthy extremes.
So, take Suzanne’s advice. Men–start acting like it. Get on your chivalrous horse and show women what loves looks like! And women–take the greater power you possess and entice maleness out of your mate or future husband.
Right roles–in wonderful biblical balance– create beautiful marriages and relationships. And great civilizations.
Just like Henry and his bride. I bet their love lasted a lifetime.
One of the perks of living six decades plus is watching culture change over time. Words alter meanings due to incremental usage. Cultural norms diverge as fads or emphases come and go.
But the greatest influence that brings cultural change is the change in worldview that a society holds to–coming either suddenly (through revolution) or slowly (by way of “drip-feed” indoctrination).
The Western World faces the latter problem today. Our two thousand year Bible-based civilization (in varying degrees) is being steadily replaced with a man-centered, atheistic or secular view of life.
One interesting exhibit in our culture? How we treat pets as opposed to a generation ago.