The Celebrity Idols Factor
If there is a TV program with an appropriate title it is “American Idol.” While it is relatively easy to point out some positive benefits of such entertainment, the audience is unknowingly contributing to our problem in America; the problem is hero worship. Movies, TV, sports, and the pop music industry supply more than enough American idols. While our teens, in general, are woefully ignorant of history and current affairs outside of the celebrities they worship, they likely know lyrics to ungodly songs, and likely know much about which unmarried Hollywood starlet (or is that harlot?) is sleeping with Hollywood stud what’s-his-name.
In a word, America has become obsessed with entertainment, and it is even more troubling when we consider that grade school aged children are often exposed to television programming that promotes the worship of such idols. As a matter of fact, the idol worship often begins with pre-school-aged children as they watch fantasy programming on TV. Teens are affected more than anyone else because of the school factor, the free time factor, and the freedom factor; the freedom to make certain choices on their own. The fathers in a similar fashion have become obsessed with sports. The 2013 NFL Super Bowl is less than a week away as I write this. If an alien from another planet were to visit us, or if a Founding Father visited us, or if someone who sailed across the Atlantic on the Mayflower visited us, they would no doubt be shocked at our obsession with a single GAME of football.
The Time and Space Factors
In broad terms, there are two factors that are precursors to the obsession with sports and other forms of entertainment. Space is one factor; when people become crowded into small spaces, they are limited in their ability to be entertained by what God has already given us, his creation. The small living space in cities also limits certain creative endeavors. Try building a tree house inside many cities and see what happens. Or, plant garden vegetables between the front of your house and the street, and see how that goes over with neighbors, the homeowner’s association, and city officials.
The second precursor is time. Dad is home from work, the kids home from school, the automatic dishwasher eliminates some meaningful work, and boredom sets in. People seemingly have nothing to do, especially when you discount the activity of actually reading the Bible or some other book as a meaningful/enjoyable use of one’s time.
Furthermore, there are so many sources of available entertainment, especially with hundreds of TV channels, the Internet, mobile phones, and other devices that allow people to watch sports, play silly games, chit-chat, Tweet, text, send photos; it is just seems to be endless.
Therefore, once people are crowded into small spaces with time on their hands, then a real challenge lies in what they are to do. Why not just grab the TV remote and get your daily mind poison? Or, pick up that mobile phone and go at it, so to speak. Think about it: a popular phone app lets people play Angry Birds that seems to be addictive. My two cents; Angry Birds played by crazy people.
Entertainment has become a time hog – As we look at the history of the family dating back to Old Testament days and compare that to family relationships today, the follow becomes evident:
- Fathers and sons don’t spend as much time together now as they did in the past
- Sons were separated from the fathers when they began attending public schools
- Fathers working in the city accounted for much of the father/son separation
- The sons filled their time with entertainment
- Entertainment also began to fill the father’s time schedule
- Sons are likely separated from their fathers about three-fourths of their waking hours and entertainment accounts for much of that.
- To a large extent, the entertainment becomes addictive; once they get use to being entertained, then neither the son nor the father care about spending time with the other. At least on the surface, that’s the likely outcome in my opinion.
Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, “Come, make us a god who will go before us…” (Exodus 32:1, NASB)
The Bible says the Israelis wanted to make a god because Moses was taking too long to descend from the mountain. The basic principle shown in that Scripture is still at play today… people get bored waiting. I suppose we could say that’s why the Devil invented the TV, plus a handy remote control.
In conclusion, regarding this lengthy discussion about entertainment, fathers and sons have filled their daily lives with things that occupy their time using those things that are most readily available. It becomes so much easier when they are confined to a small physical area. It is much like the domestication of an untamed, or wild animal; it is much easier after you first capture, and then confine it to a small place. Then you feed it what you want it to eat, and gradually over time you train it to do what you want. Who would do that to us, especially our sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters? Who wants us to loose the war with the information of this age (IOTA)?
The Pigeon Religion Factor
Pigeon religion has reference to the fact that too much of Christianity is based upon placing individuals into special age and/or interest groups much like one would place items in the pigeonholes of a roll top desk. Nothing in early church history suggests that we should follow such a pattern. In fact, the church has conformed to the world, in particular the public school system. During the latter half of the 20th Century many small one-room schools were replaced with larger consolidated schools. The one-room schools often had students ranging in age from six years to 14 years, and often, older students assisted the teacher by helping younger students in the classroom. I have more knowledge of this than the average person because my Mother taught in one-room schools, and my wife, Glenda, attended such schools. As larger schools were built, students where placed in classrooms according to age much like placing them in pigeonholes. In a similar manner, mega-churches have been on the rise, and similarities can be seen between big schools and big church congregations. Some knowledge of history can help us realize how the church has in many ways conformed to this age because of these changes.
A problem many of us have with history is that we don’t relate to any part of history in which we have not lived. Our thinking based on this view of history is dangerous, as we do not know all the influences that have shaped the pattern in which we now live. In fact, we know very few. The public school system is one of my favorite whipping boys, mainly because criticizing the public schools is like picking low-hanging fruit from a tree. Just walk around that public school tree and stop at any point, reach up and pick something to criticize and you will be safe. At this point in history, there is little that we can call correct and good concerning public schools.
When teens are put in a pigeonhole, they expect to hear things that relate to their interest and selfish desires. They don’t have to give a whit about the elderly widow ladies in the congregation; after all they are just old out-dated people. The chitchat among the teens is of course, geared to the same self interest. Teens are not unique in these matters; just pick any group and you have similar attitudes. How about the fact that some adults don’t want the interuptive crying of a baby while the pastor is so eloquently proclaiming his latest prosperity message. The larger the congregation the more pigeonholes to separate families into different groups.
One of the unintended consequences of pigeon religion is that this separation of family members may send an unspoken message that things of God happen in God’s house (that building constructed by men, where people congregate), and not particularly anywhere else. Furthermore, it makes it easy for some parents to shift all the responsibility of godly teaching to others. It can cause the father of the household to relinquish his responsibilities as priest of his home to someone in his congregation, the pastor, the teen pastor, and the Sunday school teachers.
In summary lets consider the hazards of pigeon religion in the form of a bullet point list. Pigeon religion promotes:
- A narrow worldview, a world of one person, me, myself,
- Dumbing down to the lowest level of teaching/learning
- Entertainment that can become the emphasis as a substitute for teaching important biblical principles
- The separation of family members at a time when we are to focus on God
- The centrality of the pastor rather than Jesus, as leader of the Church
- The unspoken idea that fathers can abandon their priestly responsibilities
- Attitude that I don’t have to study; someone will teach me
- The idea that the pew-sitter, especially adults, have nothing to contribute to the gathering of the believers; “Just be quiet, listen, and pay your tithes.”
Christians have a personal relationship with Father God through His son Jesus Christ, yet much of what the church congregations do is merely following or conforming to patterns of this age, particular the public school system model.
Christian schools have also been justly criticized for following the pattern set by public schools, using similar textbooks, methods of teaching, etc. with a prayer added to cover the God part of the day. The Nehemiah Institute through their PEERS testing program, has shown that most Christian school students have a worldview that is barely better than those students in public schools, and that there has been an alarming decrease in Christian Worldview understanding during the past decade. That’s convincing evidence that the pattern of this world is more closely followed in Christian schools than we would like to believe.
In summary of pigeon religion, we have followed a worldly pattern of categorizing people into groups that better enable mob control as it were, which is antithetical to cultivating individual development and responsibility, including the development of a stronger personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. It also hinders family oriented Christian gatherings and fails to promote inter-generational fellowship.
The College Factor
There is ample evidence that shows that the college campus is filled with more misinformation than any other place in America. There are four major reasons for this:
- Students on average arrive on campus with a warped worldview because they have been trained that way for 12-13 years in public schools.
- Students come to campus with freedom they did not have while living at home with their parents.
- The college campus has long been a cauldron for radical thinking professors, mainly in the social sciences (an oxymoron, for sure, as social and science do not go together), to settle in and spew their ideologies on to an unsuspecting captive audience.
- The marriage between radical college professors and tyrannical minded politicians and businessmen provides fertile ground to promote every imaginable thing that is contrary to God’s Holy Word.
It is not necessary to use a sledgehammer to kill this fly, but a few examples can give us all the information we need to make an informed judgment. I did a search (Start Page) for “queer studies college” and got over 290,000 results. At Wikipedia I found this, ” There are currently over 40 certificate and degree granting programs with at least five institutions in the United States offering an undergraduate major…” I looked at courses offered at one of the colleges and learned that they have more that 20 separate courses in their queer department. That’s queer, for certain.
While five colleges with a queer studies major may not sound like many, I found that more than 200 colleges have Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) chapters. In short, if the leadership at a college campus has trouble with gender identity, then there is little reason for any sane parent to send his son or daughter there to spend four years of one’s life trying to get an education in such an warped environment, and paying big bucks to do so. Some might say that is intolerant. That’s right, it is. Let me emphasize that much of “education” takes place outside the formal classroom setting. Also remember we are talking here about God’s instruction, “Do not be conformed to this age.”
Just as a matter of review at this point consider:
- A student beginning at five years of age is separated from his parents for six to eight hours daily during the school year for 13 years before entering college.
- The city dwelling student is also separated from at least one parent all summer.
- The average students gets no work experience
- The student has thousands of hours of media indoctrination by the time he finishes high school
- Therefore, upon entering college the student is like a dry sponge for soaking up radical, ungodly propaganda found on most every campus.
LARGE of anything seems to be a problem, large government, large cities, large schools, and large church congregations all contribute to the problem of conforming to the pattern of this world. Part of that pattern is “group think,” which stiffens creativity, individual thought and action. Furthermore, I remind the reader that Christians have a personal relationship with God, the Father, through His Son, Jesus Christ. It is a one-on-one relationship, and not a result of the Communist inspired “group think.”…DR, 10/14/17