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hope for churches in stress


I just finished Longmire, a contemporary crime series that streams on Netflix. Based on novels written by Craig Johnson, the series features Walt Longmire, a county sheriff in Wyoming. Longmire is depicted as a good man, a lawman of unshakable honesty and integrity. His daughter, a Cheyenne friend, and two deputies also generally make good, moral choices.

Yet there is a glaring lapse in the basic decency of the series. No one has any qualms about casual sex or cohabitation. Through six seasons, sexual encounters are infrequent and, for the most part, pictured discretely. Yet the unspoken message is that sexual purity is an outdated trait of character.

So even a media series noted for its decency has a shameless blindspot. It is as though our contemporary culture has taken a black pen to unwanted portions of Scripture. However, there is no strike-through for sexual morality. God has given a clear standard: human sexuality is to be expressed within a chaste, single life or in a lifelong marriage between a man and a woman.

In every way, we are called “to put off [our] old self, . . . to be renewed in the spirit of [our] minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24) Between the old and new self, we need to be renewed in the spirit of our mind, which includes a repudiation of the pervasive cultural message that sexual license is normal and acceptable.

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