Stop Kidding Yourself…Nothing is Neutral
The woman simulating masturbation should’ve given it away.
The racist penis rap pushed me over the edge.
“Get up, we’re out,” I hissed at the students.
I had forgotten one important truth— nothing is neutral— and led my motley crew straight into an L-shaped ambush. I prayed that what we had seen and heard over the last half hour had fallen upon deaf ears.
“Nothing they haven’t seen before,” one parent consoled me. It didn’t work.
We desire neutrality.
It’s easier, neutrality.
I like what I like and who I like. I really don’t want to change and if we’re completely honest, I don’t intend to change. I bristle at the notion, in fact. The idea of division scares me a bit. The thought of the basic goodness of people comforts me and frees me to engage with whatever I desire and whomever I like in whatever fashion I see fit.
Besides, if there were division, I’d have to choose a side and I really don’t want to choose a side. I like being right in the middle, free to drift to either side at whim.
How’d that work out for Belgium? Or the Netherlands?
No one is neutral.
The Bible knows nothing of fence-sitting.
Like a sword, the word of God penetrates and divides. (Hebrews 4:12) Jesus—that cultural icon of inclusiveness and toleration—shocks us with divisive language.
“Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” (Luke 12:51) You’re either for me or against me. (Matthew 12:30)
John and Paul agree, reminding us that we are either of Christ or we are not, and if we are not of Christ, we are of the world and our father is the Devil. We are either slaves of Christ or slaves of sin (Satan). (1 John 5:19, 2 Corinthians 4:4, Ephesians 2:1-3, John 3:19, Romans 6:16)
Consider the implications.
Jesus demands that we choose. You are either a disciple of Christ, or you are not. And if you are not a disciple of Christ, you are an enemy of Christ. Application generates further discomfort.
My daughter’s boyfriend was not a believer, but a nice-enough fellow. He didn’t impede her practice of the faith and even seemed to encourage it. “So that’s good,” she explained to me.
On the surface, yes. Yet, at his core, this young man was not just not a follower of Jesus. He was a follower of Satan, a hater of God, an enemy of God, a child of wrath. Though he portrayed benevolence to the faith, his heart belonged to another.
She and he had different fathers and could never have true fellowship, real intimacy. Now, God may one day call him out of the darkness and into the marvelous light, but until then, they serve different masters.
We talked about it some. She agreed it was an issue. Inevitably, like Judas, his outward actions betrayed his heart and they broke up.
The neutrality of men is a fantasy, a myth.
Nothing is neutral.
Nothing generated by men is neutral.
Okay, my coffee table is neutral. My truck is neutral. You get the picture.
Nothing that reflects ideas, nothing that reveals the human spirit, nothing that communicates the heart, is neutral. How could they be? Just as no men are neutral, the things they produce that reveal who they are, could likewise never be neutral.
Music is not neutral. Television shows are definitely not neutral. Books, no way. Movies, forget about it. What else do we consume that men produce?
This is the dilemma for the believer.
Things glorify God or they do not glorify God.
My friend Joe, saved as a young man, began his spiral into drug addiction at the behest of Slayer, Metallica, Megadeath. He loved heavy metal music and began attending heavy metal concerts where they do heavy metal things. The fury of the music generated anger in his heart. Someone handed him a joint…and then another…inevitably a bazooka. He plunged into addiction and nearly death, spawned by his love for ungodly music.
In a draft of my second book, No Higher Call: A Biblical Treatise on Adoption, I quoted Clint Eastwood from the movie, “Gran Torino”. It’s Clint Eastwood, so it must be good. One of my editors asked me about it, “You know God hates that movie, right?” Of course he was right, but it’s Clint Eastwood! I prayed about it, and then removed the quote.
No one is neutral and nothing is neutral.
There I was.
“Perfectly fine for high school kids,” the lady assured us before we ordered tickets.
I tutor 9th grade homeschoolers and was planning an end-of-year event, dinner and a show. Our local theater happened to be showing “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Unabridged]”. Perfect.
“All 37 plays in 97 minutes!”, the website promised. An “irreverent, fast-paced romp”, it boasted. To be fair, the receptionist did say there was some “innuendo” and it was rated PG-13. Our youngest student was 15, but it was Shakespeare! C’mon.
It was smut. Garbage. Filth…pornography.
At first, I was amused. The actors were indeed talented and funny. Their witty improv captivated. At the first off-color joke, I squirmed a bit. Okay. Another off-color joke, this time a bit more provocative. Hmmm. I looked at the kids. Everyone was still laughing so…
The female jumped on stage and began twerking. If you ask, “what is twerking?”, you’re dating yourself, but I’ll humor you. She put her rear-end to the audience and bounced it up and down in a highly sexual and provocative fashion. I squirmed visibly and thought, “we need to leave,” but how? We were in a small theater with only one way out, the other side. We’d have to walk in front of everyone.
The woman simulated ejaculation. They made wordplay about sodomy. They began rapping about Othello, as a black man, and the size of his penis. Again, all very talented, all very funny…and all highly vulgar.
We stood up and paraded out, twenty high school kids and handful of adults, a sizeable chunk of the audience.
“I thought it was good enough to stay,” one actor chided us as we walked.
On the sidewalk, I apologized profusely to the students and the parents. They all understood and we laughed and discussed it for awhile and then went and got some ice cream and talked about it some more.
I felt betrayed, numb. I’d walked into a Satanic ambush with my guard down and been hammered.
I’d neglected something I know to be true.
Nothing is neutral.
In hindsight, it’s so obvious.
A friend informed me that the local theater was run by people who were no friends of God who, in fact, were openly antagonistic. Theater itself is awash in hypersexuality, homosexuality, and rampant worldliness. Theater companies pursue edginess and push boundaries.
Prudence has no primacy.
There is much going on here.
From the second we set our feet upon the floor each morning, we are embroiled in a vicious, cutthroat spiritual battle, a battle for the hearts and souls of men. The battle rages whether you fight it or not. You may not be Belgium.
And we have an enemy, Satan, who prowls like a roaring lion, seeking anyone he may devour. He is crafty and wicked and shows no quarter to the sons of God. And He is a liar.
“It’s no big deal.”
“Jesus hung out with sinners.”
“It doesn’t really matter.”
Conversely, God calls us to fill our minds and hearts with that which is true, honorable, just, and pure, that which is lovely and commendable. (Philippians 4:8) Dwell upon these things. Meditate upon these things and discern.
You cannot partake of the cup of the demonic and the cup of the Lord at the same time. This is the promise of our Lord.
Nothing is neutral.
Author - Founder
Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).
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