While I am a defender of the free-market system, I am keenly aware that capitalism often does financially reward those who appeal to the lowest common denominator. Whether it’s music or art or food, the marketers often appeal to what is most base in us to get into our wallets.
Billboards, TV commercials, web sites—each of these increasingly cater to what I call the barbarians among us. I do not have to spend much time defining who I mean, because you have seen them. They are the loud, rude men (overgrown boys really) who whistle at women, dress like slobs, wearing ball caps indoors and cutoff cargo shorts everywhere they go, and walk in front of women instead of holding the door for them.
While we have long suffered through having restaurants at which scantily-clad waitresses serve food, unfortunately we can now add haircut places to that list—even here in Oklahoma. Our pornographic culture takes the greatest toll on women, who feel like they must play along in order to get attention from men.
In the end, the biggest losers in the equation are children, who see all of this and think it is the way the world works. We are, of course, not the first to suffer under such a barbarian’s world. We are, however, the only culture to do so while women’s rights were so supposedly guarded.
Conservative Christians who decry this culture are painted as extremists. The real extremists are those who have no standards. What Christians want is not women covered head to toe (like in some Eastern nations). We want modesty and beauty (instead of revealing and “sexy”).
The solution to this growing problem is not easy. But then again, nothing worth doing is ever easy. It starts with Christians taking a page out of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s playbook. Namely, refusing to give business to purveyors of the problem. If businesses or restaurants use women (or men) for their looks in order get business, don’t go there.
Secondly, he who controls the culture controls the destiny. Christians should not stop at boycotting bad movies and books. We should be creating good art. We do not need only Christian movies that appeal only to Christians (though I love those). We need Christians who make movies.
Thirdly, we must train the appetites of children now growing up to recoil at the sight of barbarians. Now, we want them to be redeemed from their sins and bad behavior (after all, we are all heathens in our hearts, solely dependent on Christ for redemption), but we must teach the children as we go that this is not the way men should act.
Finally, we must pray like never before. It might have happened to you already today. The marketing message bombards and tempts all that is base in our hearts. Ask God to change your heart and desires and to say no to the barbarian’s paradise, and yes to the paradise that Jesus promised the thief on the cross (Luke 23). May God help us each to become who He intended us to be, by His grace.