Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Always getting worse?

One of the things that it is easy to do is for the faithful to lament the ills of society. My friend Rev. Heath Curtis laments teen sexuality and immodest clothing. (Rev. Curtis was the Pastor whom Jay did the summer vicarage for two summers ago - a fine man). My classmate Rev. Larry Beane notes the rise of occult activity at his blog.

What I will say is that both these men are right - that dress and sexual attitude are out of whack today. . . and that attitudes towards the occult and Satan are quite lousy today. However - I'd argue that really, it's been this way for a long time.

Consider with clothing. I was flipping around the channels last night, and I saw some trashy film from 1976 - the year before I was born on. And it was a summer time movie - all about High Schoolers going out and having their summer fun and drama. And what were they wearing? Those short, tight 70s shorts with tight shirts. Or even this weekend when they had 50's week - you had some folks in the classic 50s dress -- and the classic skirt of that time was designed to emphasize a woman's curvaceous nature (a thick belt at the waist is designed to note the broadness of the chest and waist - that's what it does from a design point). Before that, let's see, the 20s had the flappers. . . before that you had late 19th Century dress with girdles, which again, were not only form fitting, but form modifying. Even the flowing dresses of 17th and 18th Century art were designed to highlight via drapery the feminine form. And if we think the 16th Century was any better - well, find a sermon where Luther goes off on a rant of the morals of the day, and you'll see otherwise.

Or consider with the occult. Oujia boards were quite popular in the 50s - as were seances. Hitler's Germany had a strong tie to the Occult. The early 20th Century was a time of great occult interest. Mediums and mystics have been part and parcel of the American landscape about near forever.

So I don't think things are on the rise -- every generation laments how things are getting worse. Rather this - with us today we are seeing in more and more ways the shattering of the myth that arose in the wake of World War II - that we were a "Christian" nation, with "Christian" values. Our Victorian veneer of decency is wearing thin -- it's not that there's more porn, it's that Bettie Page isn't hidden and and ogled with a few friends in backrooms, but rather available by yourself with a few clicks of a mouse. It isn't that people are more interested in the occult - it's that they no longer think they have to play act as though they aren't.

Or in other words - it's not that we are becoming more wicked - it's just that society as a whole is becoming less hypocritical. And thus, in the words of Han Solo, "Well bring them on - I prefer a straight up fight."

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