Beware the Subtleties and Traps of Our Modern Culture

Written by John DeGroff on November 24, 2017

Last week’s column on corrupt communication touched on the idea that the best way to fight liberalism is to not be like a liberal. Granted, that’s kind of a “well…duh” type of statement, but not when you consider the current state of our culture.

It’s so easy to start conforming in subtle ways that you don’t even notice. What I mean by this has more to do with attitude, spirituality and overall world view than it does with outward manifestations such as clothing style trends.

Here are five areas where our present culture can subtly seep into our lives without our knowing it.

I’ve written about this before. What I’ve noticed, though, is this. While we’ve always had self-centered, egotistical people among us, the current social media trends of instant gratification are starting to suck in more and more people.

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How may pictures of you do I really need to see on any given day? Why do I need to know your opinion in 140 characters or less on any given subject? (…which you’re probably not familiar with in the first place…)

There’s a lot of scripture concerning man’s pride and what God thinks about it. Perhaps the best known is 2 Tim. 3:2-4… (2) “For man shall be lovers of their own selves… (3) …without natural affection…despisers of those that are good (4) …lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.”

The Church
We’ve been told what would happen to the church in these times. The Church of Thyatira (Rev. 2:18-29) and the Church of Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-18) represent the church with false teaching and the church as being just plain spiritually dead, respectively.

In many instances, worship has turned into entertainment. And I say that as a Christian musician myself. Musicians are notorious for being overly prone to egotism in the first place, but over the years, I’ve seen a lot of egotistical Christian musicians. Now, this same attitude is beginning to permeate entire worship services.

As conservative Christians, we constantly have to renew our focus. As with narcissism and egotism it’s easy to focus on what WE do for the Lord, rather WHY we do it, and WHO the Lord truly is.

This problem isn’t new. It goes all the way back to the first century church. Look at I Cor. 3:1-8 and especially 2 Tim. 3:5 “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power of it.”

How do I even begin to address the multitude of distractions our culture offers? Well, it can’t be done in a short article. This is probably a subject for an entire book.

Let me provide a brief example of what I mean, though. Where I live, we have only one Internet provider. When I log on, my MSN news feed offers a real smorgasbord of social distractions. Sports, credit card offers, celebrity fluff, TV news, and of course the anti-Trump rant du jour.

I no longer even bother to pay attention to this stuff. It’s mind numbingly inane and I really can function without knowing any of it.

But let’s look at it for what it really is: an attempt at distracting us from what liberalism is trying to do to our country and our lives. It’s the electronic version of ancient Rome’s “bread and circuses”.

Remember this: Mark 4:19” …the cares of this age, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word and it becomes unfruitful.”

Absence of Personal Responsibility
Once again, way too broad a subject for a short article. However, the examples of this in our culture are so evident you’d have to have been living in a cave somewhere not to notice.

Exhibit A: Hillary Clinton’s book What Happened“. Hey, Hillary, it took an entire book just to blame everyone and everything except your own choices?

Another great example is the entire criminal justice system. It’s rigged to the point where the criminals are the true victims. Really…if Daddy would just have bought me that puppy for my 10th birthday, I wouldn’t have felt so deprived. It’s Daddy’s fault those people had to die…my court appointed psychiatrist said so.

This inability to take personal responsibility for our actions goes all the way back to the Garden (Gen. 3: 12,13). Eve blamed the serpent; Adam blamed Eve.

A somewhat different example is found in Matt. 25:14-30, the parable of the talents. Two of the servants of the master who were entrusted with his wealth took what they had and gained an increase. The third didn’t want to face the responsibility because he looked more at what could go wrong rather than what could go well. By not even taking the responsibility of make an attempt at an increase, he failed by default, and lost what little he had been given.

This is very much like Christian conservatives who fail to take a stand against liberalism out of fear of failure or simply just to “…not cause a scene or make waves.”

Being conformed to the world
So, let’s get right to the scripture with t/his point. “Be not conformed to this world…” is found in Rom. 12:2. That’s a lot easier said than done considering our culture and its seemingly unending array of distractions. Unfortunately, some of these distractions are found in our very churches.

How do we do we do this, then? How do we avoid conformity?

A good place to start is with the whole armor of God as found in Eph 6:11, and this armor then allows us to resist the proud and arrogant of the world (I Peter 5:5) when we work together to do so.

We’re starting to see some cracks in liberalism’s façade. As long as we don’t succumb to distractions, narcissism, irresponsibility and stay true to our faith, we will win. We have the power to do so…if we want it.

Image: Excerpted from: Robert Lawton – Robert Lawton, CC BY-SA 2.5,

Share if you think a reminder to Beware our culture’s traps is always in order.

John DeGroff
John DeGroff is the original bass player for the Christian rock band Petra. He currently plays for the band GHF which is comprised of other original members from Petra. DeGroff has extensive experience as a freelance music journalist and newspaper reporter as well as an on-line music reviewer. He is a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and lives in Warsaw, Indiana where he is employed as a care giver for mentally challenged adults.


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