Some friends and I have been talking, which is arguably “dangerous” because we frequently have questions and topics that make very good and sometimes controversial discussion points. I’ve decided to share one of them, just to get people thinking.
While Christians are to listen to God and not to use the world’s culture around us as the standard of our beliefs and morality, we can use the culture around us to express our beliefs and morality. What the culture deems acceptable or strange can be used to show people that we Christians are different, not to be “holier than thou” or to rub it in people’s faces, but to humbly express through our conduct that we are different because God has called us to be so. For example, tattoos and women wearing pants used to be unacceptable, or at least uncomfortable to consider, in general US culture and especially in US Christian culture because of what these things meant. But these days they don’t seem as big of a deal because they don’t mean the same things they used to. Then we have Christmas. The way we celebrate in the US has some of its roots in pagan culture, but Christians use it to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Some of the same people who complain about Halloween turn around and set up a Christmas tree.
This brings up the questions: At what point does something become acceptable? At what point in the process of its change in meaning and implication is it okay, or at least less taboo, to do a thing? Can the answer be relative? Is there any point at which the answer is absolute?
Remember this isn’t simply about tattoos, who wears pants, and whether Christmas trees are okay, I’m just using those as examples. This is about the question of what is acceptable in general and why or why not. While there are specific instances where the morality is flatly yes or no, part of the answers for these questions has to do with attitude. I know people get tattoos just for the sake of it, some people get tattoos to spite their parents’ authority, and I’ve met people who get tattoos for very thoughtful reasons. I’ve seen women wear pants to rebel, I’ve seen women wear pants because it was the most modest choice for what they were doing at the time, and I’ve seen women wear pants just because pants are clothes and you should wear clothes. There are people who celebrate at Christmas to wholeheartedly give Jesus His proper place, and there are people who refuse to celebrate Christmas at all for the same wholehearted reasons of giving Jesus His proper place.
So at what point is it okay to do or participate in something that has been taboo but means or is beginning to mean something different? That’s a good question. You should talk about it.