(Local Newspaper Column)
And here is last week's news:
"Porn Star in training" - that's the slogan on a t-shirt aimed at pre-teen girls and upwards. The actress Liz Hurley wore a t-shirt with the slogan recently, and now it seems the 'in thing'. Is it just me, or is that asking for trouble?
In a world of increasing child abuse it is almost beyond belief that a company could make and market such a t-shirt. But what really beggars belief is that a parent would buy it or allow their child to wear it.
But then again, maybe not…
Former singer, Coleen Nolan, promised her son sex with a prostitute if he passed his GCSEs. She was appearing on ITV's lunchtime show, 'Loose Women' when she made the claim. Not only that, but her fiancé is going on the trip, and she says she has no problem with him having a one-night stand too.
Is it just me or…?
She has defended her position in the press by saying, "her son wanted to go to Amsterdam because it was 'every teenager's fantasy'". She claims she isn't irresponsible because he has already had sex, so this is just more of the same.
It could be argued that it isn't every teenager's fantasy, and that other teenagers have different fantasies, some fantasize about having the biggest fastest car and driving it recklessly on the roads - and we wouldn't for a moment think of indulging them. Others, it would seem from recent events in England, have much darker fantasies, about murdering younger children. Is it our job to indulge our children's fantasies, whatever they are?
I think it's a fair comment that we live in a sex-mad world. A cursory glance at the TV guide will tell you that: Sex in the City, Celebrity Love Island, Desperate Housewives, and I see that Big Brother is back again.
Add to that the very public acts performed on the streets of Letterkenny and most other Irish towns on a Friday or Saturday evening. Not only do we live in a sex-mad world, but in an unashamedly sex-mad world. Everything revolves around it. It has become the be-all and end-all of life.
And at the other end of the scale in this week's news: A Leicester hospital has set out to ban Bibles from the patients' bedsides, on the grounds that it was insulting to other religions and could spread diseases. This is despite the fact that not one complaint has ever been received from someone having been insulted by the provision of a Gideon Bible. And despite the fact that Muslim and Sikh leaders in Leicester said that it is a good thing to have spiritual books at the bedside of sick people. As for the dreaded MRSA, that probably has far more to do with the hygiene of hospital procedure than hospital reading material - are they going to ban newspapers too?
We live in a world that has turned things upside-down. We call evil, good. We have made something vulgar into a fashion accessory. We have made something precious and beautiful into something common and cheap. We have made a god out of the gift rather than worshipping the giver of the gift. And we have turned our backs on God's word, and wish to stop others reading it too.
It might be shocking to us, but God had long ago predicted it in his word:
"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them… For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened… Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is for ever praised. Amen…" - Romans 1:18ff
What we are seeing, is not just a world departing from God, but a world under God's judgment. Romans 1:28 "Furthermore, since they did not think it worth while to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done." In other words, when we see such wickedness around us, it should be a real wake up call, that God is judging Ireland. Because we don't think his opinion matters, he has given us over to living in our own mess. And people wonder why so many disasters occur and would insist that we don't deserve it!
Ireland, and the UK, need to repent, before it gets worse.
Mark Loughridge is the minister of Milford Reformed Presbyterian Church and Letterkenny New Life Fellowship.