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CULTURAL IMPLOSION? CANNIBALISM, “MOMMY PORN,” GAY MARRIAGE DRIVE U.S. HEADLINES: What’s going on?

Forget the stagnant American economy and our severe debt crisis and the rapidly mounting financial troubles in Greece and Spain, at least for a moment. Consider what’s driving American headlines these days.

Pornography – Did you know the #1, #2 and #3 books on the New York Times fiction best-seller list, and on the USA Today best-seller list, and on Amazon for the last few weeks have been the Fifty Shades of Grey erotic novels by E.L. James that are being widely described as “Mommy Porn”? The sexually explicit trilogy, which revolves around adultery and BDSM (sexual bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism) has become an overnight, viral phenomenon among American girls in their young teens all the way up through grandmothers in their seventies and eighties and is making headlines across the nation. The novels have sold more than 10 million copies in just six weeks. Yes, you read that right — 10 million copies in six weeks. A backlash is beginning on Facebook, blogs and other social media by women who are revolted by such pornography and warning of its dangers, but it’s coming slow and late. “The series portrays BDSM in the context of an engaging, passionate, tender, romantic relationship that culminates in the characters falling in love, and the conflicted girl assuaging the billionaire’s troubled soul,” wrote Mary Kassian, author of the “Girls Gone Wise” blog. “But it doesn’t matter to me how the author sweetens it up. The tasty red Kool-Aid doesn’t offset the bitter poison. Smut is still smut.” (See “Hotel in ‘Mommy Porn’ novel offering 50 Shades-themed packages,” Fox Oregon, May 23, 2012; “How ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Is Shaking Up the Business of the Romance Genre,” The Daily Beast, June 6, 2012)

Cannibalism — Have stories about human beings eating other human beings ever been a major story in the United States, much less a series of headlines that lasted day after day? Not that I recall in my forty-five years. But the Drudge Report and media outlets across the U.S. have been dominated in recent weeks by stories of six different instances of cannibalistic acts, some here in America and some around the world. “Miami police shot and killed Rudy Eugene, 31, on May 26 after he refused to stop eating another man’s face,” read one news story. “The victim, Ronald Poppo, a 65-year-old homeless man, remains hospitalized in critical condition. Alexander Kinyua, a 21-year-old student at Morgan State University in Maryland, was arrested May 30 on suspicion of killing his roommate, Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie, and then eating his heart and portions of his brain.” Such stories are almost too horrifying to read, yet where is the outrage? People are almost treating these stories as bizarre but even a bit humorous, it as if it were no big deal, just another news story. (See Exclusive: Causeway Cannibal Had Bible, Recently Smoked Pot When He Attacked,” CBS Miami, June 6, 2012; Cannibal Copycat? Police Say Man High On Bath Salts Threatened To Eat Officer,” CBS Tampa, June 6, 2012; “Cannibalism Trend Can Feed On Itself, Experts Say: 6 Acts Of Human Consumption Draw Lurid Attention,” ABC Indianapolis, June 6, 2012)

Gay Marriage – For thousands of years, society believed that marriage was a sacred union between one man and one woman. In 1996, only 27 percent of Americans supported homosexual marriages. But by 2011, support had grown to 53 percent. Governor Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential presumptive nominee, doesn’t want “social issues” to be prominent in the 2012 campaign. But last month, President Obama came out in favor of gay marriage, and homosexual activists are determined to force the issue not only into the headlines but all the way to the Supreme Court, hoping to force gay marriage (already legal in some states) on the entire country. This is a very serious development, as I am not certain by any means that there are five votes on the High Court to protect the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman. (See “Obama says he supports gay marriage,” Wall Street Journal, May 10, 2012; “Prop. 8: appeals courts set stage for Supreme Court review of gay marriage,” Christian Science Monitor, June 6, 2012)

Abortion – Since 1973, Americans have aborted more than 53 million babies. Before long, we will reach the point where the U.S. will have murdered ten times more human beings than the Nazis murdered during the Holocaust. Try as we might, we cannot seem to get the atrocious Roe v. Wade decision overturned, and the murders just go on and on. How much longer can this go on until God intervenes? And if that were not bad enough, last month President Obama and 168 Congressmen decided to go on the record in support of sex-selection abortions. (See “President Obama, 168 House Members Defend Sex-Selection Abortion,” National Right To Life news story, May 31, 2012)

What in the world is going on? With a stagnant U.S. economy, more than $15 trillion in national debt, and some $65 trillion in unfunded federal liabilities fast coming due, America faces the very real possibility of an economic collapse in the not-too-distant future. But is it possible we’re already imploding culturally? The country is deep in a full blown political war between Democrats and Republicans, but do we honestly believe either party – or either presidential nominee – knows how to fix the mess we’re in? And where is the Church? In a nation of tens of millions of self-professed born-again, evangelical Christians, how can we be in so much trouble? And is there any hope of turning this around?

In my new non-fiction book, Implosion: Can America Recover From Its Economic and Spiritual Challenges In Time? (which releases on Tuesday, June 12th), I write that these are not normal times. Americans have been gripped by a widespread and deeply rooted pessimism in recent years. They are openly asking whether our nation can survive. A growing number of Americans fear that this period of our history is different and the crises we face today – and those coming up over the horizon – may be far worse than anything we have experienced in the past. Many Americans genuinely fear that God is preparing to remove his hand of protection and blessing from our country, or perhaps already has. The fear that unlike previous dark times in our national history, God may not intend to help us turn things around and get us back on the right track.

We must not kid ourselves. The evidence suggests we may very well be aboard the Titanic, heading for icebergs and inexplicably increasing our speed toward disaster. So many on board are unaware of the dangers fast approaching and not concerned in the slightest. We haven’t hit the icebergs yet, but if we don’t make a sharp turn fast, we soon will, and we will sink. Who will serve as our captain and crew going forward? Will they understand the gravity of the threat and have the wisdom, courage and speed to take appropriate action before it is too late? What is our role as passengers? Are we to succumb to decadence, indulging ourselves in amusements and entertainment and alcohol with no regard for our own safety or the safety of others aboard? Or will we rise up, sound the alarm, and take action will we can?

The good news is that God has shown mercy to our country in the past. In the early 1700s we experience what became known as the first Great Awakening. In the early 1800s, we experienced the Second Great Awakening. As I describe in Implosion, these were massive, widespread, game-changing eras of spiritual revival in which millions of people became deeply devout and passionately evangelistic followers of Jesus Christ. In 1770, for example, there were fewer than two dozen Methodist churches in America. By 1860, there were nearly 20,000. In roughly the same time frame, the number of Baptists went from under 200,000 to more than one million.

These revivals were not a panacea. They did not save every soul or solve every social ill. No revival ever has or will. But the good news is this: the historical evidence is clear and compelling that many Americans found salvation during these periods, and American society as a whole was dramatically impacted and improved by both of these revivals. One piece of observable evidence in this regard is the explosive growth in the number of church congregations that were established in the wake of both Great Awakenings. At the same time, Christians during this period sought to put their faith into action to improve their neighborhoods and communities and the nation as a whole. They persuaded millions of children to enroll in Sunday school programs to learn about the Bible and pray for their nation. They opened orphanages and soup kitchens to care for the poor and needy. They started clinics and hospitals to care for the sick, elderly and infirm. They founded elementary and secondary schools for girls as well as boys. They established colleges and universities dedicated to teaching both the Scriptures and the sciences. They led social campaigns to persuade Americans to stop drinking so much alcohol and to abolish the evil of slavery. These Christians didn’t expect the government to take care of them. They believed it was the Church’s job to show the love of Christ to their neighbors in real and practical ways. They were right, and they made America a better place as a result – not perfect, but better.

Today, the central question of our time for Americans is this: Will God in his grace and mercy decide to allow the American people to experience a Third Great Awakening? If so, may this spiritual renaissance begin immediately, for we are desperate for God’s help. If not, then I believe our days are numbered and a terrible implosion is coming. There is no more middle ground. It is one or the other.

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