I have witnessed an amazing demise of God’s idea of family in my lifetime. It was brought home to me again recently as I watched a recorded debate between two popular rappers and an inner city elementary school principle. The debate issues went at I would have expected. The rappers used vile, sexually, and violently explicit words and images in their music videos. They showed a couple of clips and they were just as bad, if not worse, than what I expected.
The elementary principle’s point of debate (he grew up in an inner city environment and was a fan of hip hop in his younger days so he understood the issues) was that the children in his elementary school are deeply affected by the images and thoughts of the rappers. He even did an extensive interview with several students before the debate to make sure his was observing correctly. The majority of the children, not only wanted to participate in the debased lifestyle portrayed by the music and videos, but they wanted to live the life of the rappers.
In defense the rappers said they were only portraying real life not shaping anything. This is a whole other line of debate, but I will throw out a question to consider at some time, does media simply record the current culture of influence it? The rappers had the audacity to say that they were actually providing good role models of businessmen who came out of the hood and now owned record companies and contracts that has made them millions. I am sure the leaders of the Mexican drug cartels have similar lines of reasoning.
What hit me the strongest was when they drifted onto the issue of who is responsible for shaping the life of children? The rappers obviously put the responsibility of the parents. If the parents don’t want their children listening to them then they should do something about.
The interviewer responded with something that was very prophetic and brought shivers down my spine, “What if they don’t have good parents?” One rapper replied, “Why are they in school? They have to have parents to be in school. Somebody sent them to school.” The interviewer replied, “No, they don’t.”
The rapper came back with, “then it’s the responsibility of their aunts, cousins, or brothers and sisters to protect and shape them.” In other words someone else is responsible, not us. Blame the family, but there is a big problem with that, the family is disintegrating.
Recent Census – Parents Aren’t There Anymore
The 2010 census shows that in the United States, 51.6 percent of households are headed by unmarried adults, up from 44.9 percent in 1990 and 48.3 percent in 2000. It is the first time in history that the number of unmarried households outnumbers those of married households. Most of the children in these households don’t live with both biological parents.
They define a family household as a group of two people or more (one of whom is the householder) related by birth, marriage, or adoption and residing together. This includes unmarried couples, both gay and straight, as well as single moms or dads. One demographer, Charles Rynerson, said in an AOL News article “Unmarried Households Put Married Couples in the Minority.”
This has a great bearing on God’s first line of training children, which are parents. Yet we have seen more and more children are being raised without two parents, or in many cases no parent. Out-of-wedlock birthrates in the US have reached 40 percent following a similar trend throughout Western European countries, some of which are as high as 66 percent (New York Times). It is a recipe for continued deterioration of children and culture.
How do children being raised today have any hope of reversing our societal decline in basic morality? How do we reverse the corruptive elements in children today that lead to the unbridled greed that brought down the financial industry, as well as the irresponsibility that has reinforced the welfare state that has taken us into unprecedented national debt? It obviously has to do with the raising and influencing of children.
Is There Any Hope for Change
Is there any hope to change the tide? Simplistic solutions will never work in every situation but I do know one solution that will work for those who are willing to participate. God has set His people/the church in the midst of a society that is crumbling to be like Noah’s ark that helps preserve those willing to climb aboard. God has designed His house to be a place where there is a refuge and healing from the dysfunction in families. Scriptures like Titus 2 reveal His design of older women and men to provide mentorship and teaching in God’s house to younger men, women, and children in the ways of God which leads to moral increase. In the wake of absent fathers and mothers, God provides a spiritual family that fills in the gaps with spiritual mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters (Jesus described this in Mk 10:28-30, Mt 19:29).
Throughout history the church, with all her faults, has provided moral teaching and mentorship for abandoned and orphaned children. It has helped fill the gap in raising countless children into young men and women with moral compasses that help guide them in the flood of moral chaos. In our day the church is needed more than ever.
Philippians 2:15 Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night