Is the Halftime Show a Big Deal?

“Oh, c’moooooon,” says the skeptic. “It’s not a big deal.”

How sure of that are you? How can you possibly watch that without feeling unsettled and disturbed? The first problem is with those women and what we’ve done to them. We pumped them so full of fame and praise and money and license that they are willing, comfortable, and pleased to strip off their clothes and shake their bodies at a camera being broadcast to millions and millions of unknown people. You can see in their eyes that they think they are amazing, stunning, and powerful. They think they are untouchable and completely in control. It’s hard to feel pity for women so saturated with vanity and pride.

Even more concerning than the problem of the women themselves is the problem of what their performance suggests about our society as a whole. Jennifer Lopez and Shakira got there for a reason: because we have democratically asked for them. The market demands them. We listen to their music, watch their shows, and keep them firmly fixed in the public eye. What sort of society elevates these women and this “art” as heroic, important, and worthwhile. What sort of examples are we holding up to our children? What does it say about us, our country, and our culture when two women, performing for us all, choose to do what they chose to do? What a strange paradox we have! Somehow we have rendered sex meaningless by allowing it anywhere and everywhere and between anyone. At the same time, however, we’ve crowned it the king of our lives, the final end, the best thing we can achieve and dedicate our time to pursuing. It is meaningless, but it is the meaning of life, and yet we wonder why our children think life is meaningless. We wonder why people shoot up schools. We wonder why they commit suicide. We wonder why they are so depressed.

“Oh, cmon,” says the skeptic. “It’s just entertainment.”

We must break free from this lukewarm perspective. This is nothing but a sad excuse for evil. We can never tolerate even the smallest evils, because they grow, breed, and inspire more evil. Stop pretending that small sins are allowed simply because they are small. Soon you will lose your sense for sin, and you will permit much greater evils under the guise that they are “small.” The sins we see in these sort of performances are nothing other than the worship of pleasure. We have made feeling good our idol. We have lost all sense of sacrifice, redemptive suffering, and selfless love. You cannot live your life shrugging your shoulders about common evils because the common is not always the acceptable. If you allow things simply because they are popular you will find yourself suffocating, enslaved, and absolutely incapable of changing yourself.

The American Christian can do nothing now but cry out in desperation. Please, wake up! Please look around you. Please make an effort. Do something small for the sake of what is good. Sacrifice one little thing and you’ll be strengthened. Take one day to deny yourself, and you will start to see more clearly. Do you not see that our culture is drowning? Can you not hear it in our politics, see it on the news, feel it in your contemplative moments, and know it in your deepest thoughts? Surely there must be something more than this garbage; there must be a way out of this pit. Are you happy, dear skeptic? Are you satisfied? What do you think of when your head hits the pillow? What will you think when your time here is done? One day, death will knock on your door, and you will remember how temporary, weak, and helpless you are. You will think of your sins, and you will wonder if that hope, those whispers, that call was more important than you gave it credit for.

You may not want to hear about Christ. The message of mercy and hope may appear fake, cliche even.

Fair enough. Most of the time, I agree. But let me tell you that you’re missing something. That darkness you feel is a darkness I acknowledge. It is real. Nothing is more evident than the evil in the world, in your soul, and in my soul. I agree! I know it. I see it too. You need a king. We need a king. The powerful, uncompromising, and all-powerful kind of king who crushes his enemies and rules with an iron fist.

Stop pretending that evil isn’t evil just because it’s everywhere.

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