Peer pressure. When we say those words we typically think about teenagers, school and bad decisions and those thoughts are accurate. Young people face inordinate amounts of peer pressure on a regular basis and its effects can be devastating! Here’s the thing – adults are also subject to peer pressure and its place in our lives and its effect on our lives is far greater than we might anticipate. So, for the sake of not only our young people but for our own sake as well, what do we do about it? How do we recognize address and deal with the pressures of life that press us into compromised circumstances and bad decisions? Even more importantly, how do we reverse the process and create an environment in which positive, righteous and loving peer pressure is the order of the day?
George Orwell’s 1949 book “1984” was about the future. It was a scary and suggestive look at what could happen to society if we didn’t protect our freedoms from totalitarianism. The idea that “Big Brother is watching” was a fearful one, as this fictional story gave the feeling that what we say and think are monitored and forcefully used to keep us in line. So, here it is, 2017, and the year 1984 passed 33 years ago without Big Brother watching. But wait a minute – the sexist and alarming thought of Big Brother watching would invade safe spaces and be recognized as a potential trigger for some. We need to be gender and social status-free in our policing of the masses. Instead of Big Brother watching, we should say, “Thought interpreting humans are guiding the collective.” The point is, we have entered a time in history where the policing of thoughts and words has overtaken us in a unique and disturbing way. What would Jesus do in this environment? Would he stand in support of it or against it? Would Jesus be politically correct?
Friday was the day to celebrate love! Valentine’s day! From the little candy hearts that say “Be Mine” to the big box of chocolates, from the gifts and the cards to the dinners out and the special time together, it was a day of appreciation, a day of expression and a day to be perhaps more vulnerable than normal – not to mention a day that retailers live for! So, what is love – what is marriage? Do they still go together like a…you know…So, how are we doing these days with love – not just with one day of celebrating, but with our everyday living in love?
The Old Testament Law provided a way for Israel to function as an individual society as well as a society that interacted with the world around it. So, how did this Law treat the less fortunate, the sick, the indebted, the slaves, the aliens, and so on? What kind of “social programs” were available and how did they operate? Was there justice? Was there mercy? Did the Old Testament Law promote individual accomplishment at the expense of others? Did it promote a socialistic approach of spreading the wealth evenly to everyone? Stay with us as we take a fascinating walk through God’s unique Old Testament model for society.
Our world can be a confusing place. When it comes to defining right and wrong, there are inevitable interpretations, applications and disagreements. When it comes to making a decision which includes some level of moral judgment, there are a myriad of possibilities, factors and extenuating circumstances which cloud the issue. When it comes to doing what we consider right for ourselves, there are always the mitigating factors and details that need to be sorted through...wait a minute! Does it have to be so confusing? Is what we know to be right that hard to find? Do moral judgments have to be painful and tentative? Is doing what’s right for us THAT important? Stay with us as we look into the world of standards, morality, conscience and social acceptance.