I love the old movies about the late 1800s and early 1900s… back when things were made of wood and leather, stone and steel… not plastic and laminate sawdust with a woodgrain sticker holding it together. It was a better time, I think… everything seems like it was so much more real and authentic… from the things we had to the work we did.. our relationships, friendships and families… life was a lot harder, but better at the same time.
A hundred years from now nobody will have antiques from now, because nothing is meant to last… our lives are disposable. We stamp furniture out of a mold when it used to be carved by an artist’s hand. Instead of shelves of leather bound books and journals containing our stories and memories scratched in ink, we have little screens that don’t really hold anything at all. Cars are made out of plastic, homes are built by robots and show up in snap-tight pieces. We microwave our food and eat in front of a television… everything is becoming cheap and hollow… and nothing means anything because nothing is worth anything. We aren’t taught to take care of our stuff because we can always just go to Wal Mart and get another one.
Sadly, we’re even starting to look at each other as disposable… we’ve all got a thousand friends living there in our smartphones, who cares if we lose a few? Why go through all the work to build a solid relationship when it’s so much easer to get a new, easy one every time another gets stale? Why are there so many kids with no dads? Because relationships are now plastic and disposable. When a plastic chair breaks you throw it out and get another plastic chair. When an antique oak chair breaks you get out the tools and you repair it to last another hundred years. When we look at our relationships as plastic, they aren’t worth repairing and so they never last.
When nothing costs you anything, it’s not worth anything. People are losing their value because we don’t learn to respect each other, we don’t learn to grow up and carry the world, we learn how to argue about our rights to do our own things, say our own things, and behave however we feel like behaving… and anyone who tells us differently is a bigot… because correction and accountability dont mean anything to us… why do we need to listen to those old people? They just want to kill all the fun! Why would I grow some humility and apologize to someone I hurt when I can just unfriend them and forget about it? We look for reasons to burn bridges instead of reasons to build them, because they don’t matter to us. Once upon a time, your reputation was important… what kind of man people thought you were effected your family, your business, everything all the way down through your grand children… today we just say “who cares what they think? I’m just being me!” ..and we burn the bridges and look for easier ones to cross. Once upon a time our words mattered… when we sat down with a pen and paper to write a letter, everything you said mattered… today we fire off a Tweet or a post or a text and start forrest fires we can’t ever take back. We curse each other and swear and tear each other down with every other word..
Once upon a time, men taught boys how to grow into men themselves. They taught them how to get up early and work hard, how to respect women and fear God. When a boy (or another man) got out of line, the other men would show up at his door and set him straight. How many disagreements were settled with a fist against a jaw, a handshake, and a return to work? Now its words and swearing and threatening, shooting, more arguing, lawsuits, on and on… Part of learning how to be a man is learning how to be corrected… but that’s an absurdity to our world today, because nobody is ever wrong…
…and so women are beaten, kids grow up without fathers, drugs fill the streets, we flip on the TV and have a side of pornography and violence with our microwaved dinners. We redefine what a family is, we let boys grow up to be 30 year old boys playing video games all day and teach them that being a man is a gold chain, a flashy car and a woman on each arm and teach our girls that being a woman means finding one of those boys arms to hang onto.
Pastor Mark Driscoll said that all of societies problems can be traced down to one root problem, bad dads. He’s absolutely right. We learn everything we know about the world from our dads, including who we are and where we fit into the world. When we grow, it determines how we look at our families, our jobs, neighbors and coworkers, and the root of all of it is wether or not we ever learn to value the world around us… do we value our relationships? Do we value being corrected? Do we find any value in a broken relationship that’s been repaired? ..or do we find our value in the plastic, comfortable, easy things? Which is really more important, your right to do whatever the heck you want or your responsibility to do what is right?