To Hell in a Handbasket...

From our “to-hell-in-a-handbasket” department... It was reported today that the Damson Dene Hotel in England’s picturesque Lake District was replacing its traditional Gideon Bibles in each room with a copy of the popular “adult” (“adult” as in “pornographic”) novel Fifty Shades of Grey.”  The hotel, which was ironically bought from a Methodist group several years ago, decided that having Gideon Bibles around was “wholly inappropriate” in our postmodern, secular society.  What better way to be “appropriate” than to provide free of charge a widely popular smut novel?  Jonathan Denby (not Denbigh), the hotel’s owner remarked, “Everybody is reading ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ we thought it would be a hospitable thing to do, to have this available for our guests, especially if some of them were a little bit shy about buying it because of its reputation.”  But then Denby quickly added that he himself had not read the book.  Well, maybe now he can get a room and read it.

We do live in a postmodern, post-Christian, secular society.  One of the things that means is that we can forget the nod and special treatment that our culture once gave the church.  When I was a kid (granted, a long time ago), we didn't have school events on Wednesday nights because that was church night for many of the students and the school didn't want to interfere.  Well that has gone the way of the dodo bird, hasn't it.  People in our culture no longer just accept the Bible as the “The Good Book.” It is just one book among many.  People no longer describe good manners and helpfulness as “the Christian thing to do.”  In fact, they may be more likely to see waving a hateful sign and telling people they are going to hell as “the Christian thing to do.”  The Christian faith is going to have to compete in the marketplace of ideas with a host of other and conflicting ideas.  And in that marketplace, putting a pornographic novel in the nightstands of hotels is just as likely as putting a Bible there.

So how are we going to get people to take the Christian faith seriously today?  There is only one way.  And it’s not wringing our hands and shouting “Woe is we” as we complain about how our society is going to hell in a handbasket.  No, what Christians have to do today is to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and go out and live the joyous, triumphant, expectant and praise-filled life that Christianity was and is designed to be.  We are to reflect and replicate as best we can the life and teaching of the most amazing, gracious, loving, accepting and positive person the world has ever produced… because He was the power that produced the world.  The way we get people to take faith seriously today is to live it as it was meant to be lived. 

Oh sure, people died in the arena for doing that in the first century.  So what’s your point?