From Jim O'Brien
December 29, 2017

Hi Friend,

Blurring the Lines

We took the afternoon to see the movie Star Wars with the grandkids. This may be the eighth in the series and I confess to having seen only a few. But there are numerous plastic characters in our family that have been passed to a second generation of kids.

There was something troubling about the movie and it may be a reflection of a broader cultural illness. All the episodes I have seen are enjoyable for both young and old. But each time I walk out of the theater wondering "what is the take-a-way from this movie?" Donna kept turning to our granddaughter and asking, "Is that a good guy or a bad guy?"

It isn't so much that it was difficult to tell who was good and who was bad-the good guys wore white and the bad ones wore black. It was defining good. There was a lot of talk about the "dark side," but what defines the dark side?

Good journalism always asks the questions who, what, where, when and why.

Watching Star Wars with the grandkids it was hard to determine what made the characters good or bad so I wondered what was left in their minds. Okay, I'm biased-I was looking for God someplace in this message. It was a message and that means there was a moral to the story. Therein is the dilemma.

There is a desperate need for man to "look UP" to find genuine morality. How do you know the "dark side" if you don't see the light? May the force be with you-but what force? Without the God of the Bible there is no purpose to life because there is no WHY to existence. Therefore there is no WHY to death. Why go to war against the Nazis if we have no greater WHY than a Nazi soldier?

What does a culture have if it only looks to a political party to determine right from wrong? There MUST be something higher-a higher moral code that determines right from wrong. Without it we are only subject to the morality of POWER-the one with the most power is right.

We may be living in the most Machiavellian age ever to inhabit the earth. Are we teaching our youth that might makes right? When we remove the moral boundaries established by the Creator there is nothing left to cling to other than the man with the most political power or the biggest army.

There MUST be something higher! A higher moral code that determines right from wrong. A code that supersedes a political party, a nation and, yes, even a church. Maybe especially a church.

One of the recurring themes of the Bible is deception. The Book of Revelation depicts it as a White Horse-the first of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Deception precedes all of the other disasters. John wrote, "I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer." (Rev. 6:2) It's the story of a system that seems good on the outside but inside is corrupt. As Jesus said, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Matt. 23:27-28)

It is the deception of mind that happens when our perceptions are clouded. We've removed the defining boundaries. Our culture has lost the ability to distinguish right and wrong, male from female, family from cohabitation-our descriptors have been changed to fit our circumstances.

When Jesus told Pilate that He, Jesus, was truth, Pilate asked the question that echoes into our age. "What is truth?" (John 18:38) He had lost the sense of right and wrong-a leader with no sense of justice. The deception that engulfed Pilate caused him to rubber stamp the greatest tragedy in human history-the murder of God!

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien