I saw something on Twitter the other day that was somewhat horrifying. I thought about bringing it up in the sermon in relation to the idea of our shifting ethics and values (everyone doing what is right in our own eyes, like the times of the Judges). But I thought it would be too distracting, and not helpful for the younger people/children in the room. I won’t give the full quote because it might be a little triggering for some, but the essence of the post stated that someone should create porn specifically targeted for teens and children. Their reasoning was that “normal” pornography is too aggressive, and kids are already watching it anyway. So someone should create “gentler” pornography that serves as an accessible, less violent entry point. If you want the quote, I can point you to it. I don’t have time to get into all the ways in which this is horrifying and awful (not the least of which is the idea that there is such a thing as ethical, non-dehumanizing version of pornography – and the admission of the normalization of violence in pornography). My point is simply to vividly demonstrate how quickly ethics and norms are fragmenting around us. Thankfully, this post was quickly dissected and negatively received by many. However, the idea was put out for consideration, and now people are discussing it; and some are affirming its merits (it’s the same logic as “give condoms to kids since they’re having sex anyway” – in my mind a faulty ethical stance). I don’t want to be the “back in my day” guy, but I have a hard time imagining anyone even speaking this idea – porn for kids – out loud a few years ago. Now it’s on the table for discussion. I think we can take it as a given that the ethics of the world around us will never align with God’s will, and at times will seem like they are spiraling out of control. So what do we do in the midst of such moral chaos? I think we have a responsibility to assess and see the world for what it is. We have a responsibility before God to be discerning. But our role is not to condemn. And I don’t think our role necessarily is to “change the world” either. Jesus will bring His kingdom, and that is His work, ultimately. However, we do have a charge from the Lord to be a witness wherever and however we can. We may not be able to change the world, but we can affect where we live. And to do that, our ethics and righteousness and goodness must reflect Jesus. That is our charge. The world’s ethics may crumble. But it must be our chief concern that we as a people live righteously in this fallen world. This is where our energies should be devoted. More so than simply condemning the world from a distance, we should be first of all living righteously where we are, and then seeking to bring goodness and righteousness to wherever we intersect with this world. But the work starts “at home.” That’s partially why I’m excited to study 1 Corinthians. It’s a book that focuses on the holiness of the church in the midst of a crooked world. I think we’ll need to hear that message.