If religion is one’s matter of ultimate concern (Paul Tillich’s definition) then Entertainment and Children are the gods of this age. Give the people today entertainment and you will be loved by them. We are much like ancient Rome in the days of the Coliseum. Americans take their entertainment very seriously. We love to be entertained, more than anything. Don’t get me wrong–I’m not going the Pietist route here. Some entertainment is certainly to be enjoyed. But everything in moderation, right? This is why churches that make worship fun and entertaining are so popular. Turn the Christian Faith into fun and games and you’ll gain a huge following. Give them games, give them entertainment in the church and they will love you! Churches that take their worship and God’s Word seriously, indeed, churches that take God seriously at all, cannot expect to be loved and admired. Entertainment is one of the idols of our age.
The other one is children. We worship our children. They are gods. The lives of parents revolve around their children, when, shouldn’t it be the other way around? To be sure, for the first couple of years our lives out of pure necessity revolve around our children. John Rosemond in his book “A Family of Value” speaks of this. But then, he says, around the age of two there should begin to be a transition, where the child’s attention is expected to be on the parent, rather than the other way around. This is why the “terrible twos” are so terrible–because for the first two years of the child’s life, he or she has been used to being coddled, sung to, and served by every other member of the family. And then when this begins to change, when attention is not so much focused on him, he throws a fit. Literally.
When this transition does not happen, when the parents continue to allow themselves to be ruled by their children, this has some pretty nasty long-term effects. Our culture today worships and adores children; not just babies, but children. The child doesn’t want to go to church. The child doesn’t have to go to church. The child wants a toy; the child gets a toy. The child cries for attention; the child gets attention. This yields children who do not respect authority, either parental or other. The children start demanding our respect. They start demanding that we be “nice” to them. Whatever. We worship our children. Bottom line.
There is a fine balance here, of course. I’m not suggesting that we don’t pay attention to our children, or that we never do good things for them. What I am saying is that we should not be expected to give in to their every whim. We know what is best for them. We are their parents. Period.