When I can find the time, one of my favourite pastimes is spending time with the older generations and allowing them to open up and share some of their life story. Growing up in rural Canada, their childhoods predated electricity, running water and the telephone. They lived their lives through multiple hardships and emerged much stronger and resilient.
The older generations have witnessed so many technological changes. Today there are telephones that fit in your pocket and can store photo albums of many 100’s of photos. There are robots that perform surgery. And the technology is all ready to go for automobiles that drive themselves. The one thing I often hear more than anything from people in their 70’s and 80’s is that society has changed. People just aren’t the same anymore.
I grew up in an age of absolutes. Based on societal values, my parents made sure they taught me right from wrong. We had a moral compass to keep us on track. These absolutes guided my decision making and my conscience kept me from making some bad choices with my life. Sadly our culture these days has rejected the concept of absolute truth, all moral claims have been reduced to the level of personal opinion. No one’s views are right or wrong – they’re just subjective expressions of personal preferences. As a result, we have entered a period of moral anarchy, and the price is being paid by our children and our families.
It is very disconcerting when teenagers have walked into their schools and murdered their peers and teachers without any sense of moral compunction. After all, if there’s no authority to provide a framework of values and beliefs, who’s to say they are wrong? It is a whatever world when God is taken out of the picture. In a whatever world, every man and woman is their own god.
Have you ever been in a conversation and the response you get is the word whatever? According to Business Insider the word “whatever” is the most annoying word for 9 years in a row in casual conversation in the English language. That word “whatever” has become verbal shorthand for a particular response to life. It is a sigh of resignation, a denial of meaning and purpose. When a person offers you a response of “whatever,” they are essentially saying that the topic does not matter, their response does not matter, or perhaps you do not matter. Oxford Dictionary includes this informal definition of the word “whatever”. It is a “response indicating a reluctance to discuss something, often implying indifference”. It’s the indifference bit that really grinds peoples’ gears.
There are still absolutes in this world in order to keep structure and stability. During orientation for my current job I started over 6 years ago I was given an employee handbook of expectations of being an employee of the company where I work. My shift starts at 8:00 am, not 8:30, not 8:15, not even 8:01. My shift starts at 8:00. If I read and sign the handbook, say “whatever” and show up for work at 8:30 or 9:00 you can be assured my employment will not last long. That would apply practically to any place of employment.
The first 4 words of the Bible simply state “In the Beginning God”. It is through God that all the absolutes of creation are held in place. We know 100 years from today the exact second the sun is going to rise in the morning and set at night. The entire created order is here because God sustains it. Our lives are gifts of an eternal God. God is the foundation of everything that exists. I am so glad God is not a “whatever” God. If God one day decided to say “whatever” and not have the sun rise, the entire earth would be in chaos. But our God is faithful.God has given us his own handbook for living and it is called the Bible. Living according to the Bible’s absolutes gives us that moral compass for our decision making. It gives us a meaning and purpose. We are now leading into the season of Advent (which comes from the word “coming” in Latin) and prepares for the Christmas season. In the busyness of this time I encourage to take time and reflect on what Christmas is all about. Jesus is the reason for the season.