The Depression generation was known for building the nation. The Baby-boomers will be remembered for their disestablistmentarianism. For Generation X it will be the 80’s. Millennials? I’m convinced it will be our sarcasm. Louis C.K. was once on Conan O’Brien. There he gave a monologue on technology and Americans growing attitude of entitlement. He called my generation the most stupid, self-entitled generation. I thought that was entirely correct.
My self-indulgent, self-entitled peers have become incapable of serious, intelligent reflection upon life, culture and desire. If an example is necessary, turn on the radio and listen to any one of the top ten singles. There you’ll find celebration of sex without commitment, alcohol without restraint, partying without anything resembling a Monday through Friday, 8-5 work ethic. We want everything without responsibility, consequences or self-denial.
Worse yet, I have found my peers to be uncomfortable around serious conversation. So, sarcasm and satire abound. Horrific events are surrounded by humor. Insignificant experiences can only be described through meaningless grunts or extreme hyperbole. We lack the vocabulary necessary to discuss the horror and pain this side of eternity. A serious inversion of values has taken place. The insignificant has become monumental. The important only a trifle. The perfect example of this is Katy Perry’s present single “E.T.” featuring Kanye West.
Perry has gone on record explaining the reason behind the single as an “allegory” of sorts for a relationship with a foreigner (certainly she is thinking of her new husband, Russell Brand). The song speaks of an extraterrestrial intruder into the singer’s home. What follows is anything but a romantic relationship. It is best described as sexual assault. Verses that go “Take me, take me/Wanna be a victim/Ready for abduction” do not communicate normal relations. I will spare the rest of the lyrics. The single featuring Kanye West is considerably more explicit.
What concerns me most is what this song communicates about our culture and my generation. It troubles me greatly that a song like this would ever be written. Worse yet, that it would be among the highest off Perry’s latest record on the Billboard Top 100. The fact that such a song would be given such considerable air-time tells us volumes about ourselves. Evil is not evil if evil is satire or so the modern prophets declare. Sexual assault is sexual assualt unless sexual assault is satire. We shouldn’t take this song seriously, it may be argued, because it involves aliens. Aliens aren’t real and, even if they were, they probably wouldn’t be looking for earth women to take as lovers.
This may be speculation, but play this song for anyone who has been molested, assaulted or abducted and I doubt they would find it entertaining. Most likely you’ll have to turn it off 45 seconds in as they burst into tears. If we fail to see evil as evil then we will lose the vocabulary and moral ground necessary to combat evil. We are killing ourselves with foolishness if we believe that our actions can have no consequence, positive or negative, for those around us.
I fear we have become a people who lack the courage and the language to speak out against evil in this world. I also find it ironic that my generation is so highly involved in social justice issues.
I would be suffocated by despair if I were not a Christian. Christ stared the fullness of sin in the face and allowed it to crush him. Yet, that third day stands as a lighthouse into eternity declaring that evil had been destroyed. The head of serpent was crushed (Gen 3:15). The principalities and princes have been overthrown (Eph 6:12). The day will come when the true King will destroy evil forever (Rev 19:11-21). In the meantime Christians must be keen observers of culture, able to bring the Lordship of Christ to bear on every idea, movement, teaching and doctrine. Until that day, let us be comforted by these words:
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.