Slope Lube


From Wikipedia’s list of logical fallacies:

Slippery slope: argument states that a relatively small first step inevitably leads to a chain of related events culminating in some significant impact

If my own life and the experiences of the last nearly 47 years are any indication, as much as people want to call slippery slope a fallacy, Slippery slopeI’ve seen very few cases where whatever was heading down the slope reversed course. One could argue that civil rights are in much better shape than they were when I was a child of the 1960s, but most everything, especially in pop culture, whirls to the bottom of the downward spiral.

I wrote earlier this week (“The Money God“) about yet another voter proposition in Ohio arguing for casinos. It seems every other year for the past 20 we’ve encountered one of these darned things, and every time it gets closer to passing. That relentless chipping away…

One of the most pressing arguments this time around in favor of the casinos is “Indiana has them, and so do other states.” I find this tactic amusing, as it falls into the category of moms everywhere yelling, “Well, just ‘cuz Jimmy got a shotgun doesn’t mean you should have one too!” Any ad that trumpets that Indiana is stealing Ohioans’ money—cold, hard cash that Ohio itself could be stealing from Ohioans—is about as slippery slope as it gets.

So we get our casinos. And legalized drugs, prostitution, homosexual marriage, euthanasia, bestiality, and so on are at the hilltop gate waiting for their own race to the bottom.

Someone should have told the Holy Spirit He was committing a logical fallacy when He encouraged the Apostle Paul to write this:

A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
—Galatians 5:9

Or this:

…evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
—2 Timothy 3:13

I’ve read a few things by Christians lately arguing that Halloween ain’t so bad. Well, that may have been true back in the 1960s, but a trip to the local Halloween chain store today will have you wondering whether it’s owned by H.R. Giger and Larry Flynt. One 6-year old running around as a zombie drenched in fake blood and the “bedsheet ghost” of not-so-long ago seems like a relic from the pages of Little House on the Prairie. Halloween 2025—well, it’s hard for me to imagine what kind of ghoulish, occultic bacchanal that might be given the astounding amount of grease on the hillside already.

The Church is not exempt.

No matter where we stand on the issue of the ordination of women in the Church, the result is the ordination of homosexuals.

No matter what we might think about psychology, the synthesis of it and the Bible only further taints our contemporary theology.

No matter how we feel about modern Bible translations, the latest ones always seem “dumber” and less reliable than the ones before.

No matter what we think of megachurches with satellite branches driven by widescreen TVs, the result is a loss of genuine Christian community.

No matter what our opinions on capitalism and its ability to raise standards of living might be, we now treat God and the Church as commodities.

I’ve written Cerulean Sanctum for more than six years now. I could probably write another hundred “no matters…” for today’s list. But what I want to write about more than anything else is that someone, somewhere who is resisting the downhill slide. I want to hear more stories of Christians who washed the slope clean of grease rather than added more lubrication.

So if you would like to add a slippery slope example that just rots your insides, then please do. But also give us a story that ends not in the valley but standing atop the pinnacle of hope.

God knows we need to be hearing more of those positive stories in the days ahead.

They’re Taking Over!


Classic AM radio (photo by Vic Brincat)This last weekend saw me riding the driver’s seat of our Corolla for long stretches of time as I cruised north and back. Searching for some music to imbibe, I cruised the dial, the seek feature on our car’s radio stopping every 0.3 MHz to land on a different station.

Here’s what I discovered: about a hundred Christian radio stations, each and every last one playing “i Can Only Imagine” at the same exact time.

Okay, so maybe the “I Can Only Imagine” comment is an exaggeration—though not by much.

And each of those stations is “kid-safe” or “family-friendly.”

A decade or two ago, I would have welcomed those stations gladly. Now I wonder if all they’re producing is milquetoast believers whose idea of a spiritual challenge is choosing the right two-tone cover for their TNIV.

Worse, all these stations seem to be owned by the same conglomerate, so it’s not unusual to find two or three stations on the dial playing “I Can Only Imagine” at the same exact time because some “DJ” is sitting in a booth in San Antonio spinning that disc, pumping it out to thousands of subscriber stations across the country. Why? Because a lot of local stations obsessed over demographic figures, switched their programming to be mostly (bad) music, gave up their distinctive voice, and saw their audiences shrivel up. Or the stalwart audience went elsewhere, leaving the station to the new masses, masses who had no intention of financially supporting that station. Big conglomerate swoops in and the next thing you know, new ownership, and a DJ who sounds suspiciously like Ryan Seacrest.

I used to listen to Christian radio primarily for the teaching. I suspect that most Christian radio stations don’t even have teaching anymore. And what teaching remains seems about as stale as year-old bread.

There’s something tremendously sad about witnessing the dynamic Christian radio I knew in my youth distill down into this lowest-common-denominator slop we have today.

I find it disheartening, too, that the most challenging teachers out there are either gone from the airwaves or have dumbed-down their messages to be more appealing and easily grasped by an audience with an attention span of a paramecium.

I also find it discouraging that an artist like Derek Webb, one of  the few contemporary musicians I listen to, can’t get airplay. Then again, a line like “I am a whore, I must confess…” ain’t all that family-friendly, now is it?

So instead of dancing a jig over the juggernaut of contemporary Christian radio stations taking over the radio dial, I’m nostalgic for what once was.

Are you?

Loving the Status Quo to Death


Over the last few months I have been conversing with Christians all over the world concerning rethinking the Church’s ideas of community, countercultural living, and preparation for a coming storm heading right through our churches’ front doors.

After months of discussions, there is only one conclusion I can reach: We are simply too wrapped up in other things to be bothered.

The status quo has become our new idol. We are resisting changes necessary for the very survival of the Church as a relevant, life-changing force in America. We are resisting the abandonment of so-called “Christian” models and concepts that have proven useless in stemming divorce, family breakups, bankruptcies, drug abuse, and a host of other afflictions that are crushing our families.

We are looking the other way and whistling. Whistling in the wind.

One day things are going to get far worse for us and we are not prepared. We cannot contend with issues that pale in comparison. We have no systems in place for contending for what is coming.

The Lord’s parable of the wise and foolish virgins is a reminder that we have to be prepared. We are not—either in our spiritual lives or in our practical, daily living out of the faith.

Why do we cling to lifestyles that do not work? We do we resist changes that will save so many people from heartache and grief?

Anyone out there want to talk about changing the face of Christianity by coming into the fullness of Christ’s promises to the Church?

I’m here and I want to talk with you about turning the world upside-down.