"We won't grow up!" America's New Class of Peter Pans

The Evil One is the satanic revolt against divine authority....Socialists recognize each other by the words, "In the name of the one to whom a great wrong has been done....Satan (is) the eternal rebel, the first freethinker and the emancipator of worlds."  (Mikhail Bakunin, comrade of Karl Marx from Marx & Satan, Richard Wurmbrand, p. 27)

But I f you will not have God (and he is a jealous God), wrote T.S. Eliot,

"...you should pay your respects to Hitler and Stalin." (T.S. Eliot and the "Idea of a Christian Society," Stephen Beale, from "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?" Patrick J. Buchanan, p. 78)

Whittaker Chambers, the American Communist who spied for the Soviet Union and then recanted and converted to Christianity explained in his 1952 book "Witness," that Marxist Communism's appeal is the appeal of man's great alternative faith,  its promise,

".... whispered in the first days of the Creation under the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil: "Ye shall be as god.' Like all great faiths, its force derives from a simple vision...The Communist Vision is the vision of Man without God." (ibid, p. 79)

Chambers captured the spiritual roots of what was made manifest in one form as communism, in others as modernism, secular liberalism, progressivism, the counter-tradition and anti-establishment revolution and today as post-modernism. 

If Communism is one expression of  the war between Christianity and atheism, between the true God of Revelation and sovereign man, then another form of the enemy is secular liberalism, affirmed Eric Voegelin in 1952:

“…if liberalism is understood as the immanent salvation of man and society, communism is certainly its most radical expression.”  (The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America, George H. Nash, p. 93)

The sentiment of the war is Satanic pride:

" .....which spurns subjection to any master whatever, whether of divine or human origin."  (Bakunin, Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age, Fr. Seraphim Rose, p. 63)

Satanic pride came first to capture the souls in which the God of Revelation had died.  As Western Europe lost its faith, new atheist faiths arose: nationalism (the secular religion of patriotism in Britain and America), Communism and Nazism.   Buchanan observes that these are the false Gods that failed,

"...an apostate Europe when she lost the faith that had given her birth, and it was when we learned the truth of Psalm 96: 'All the gods of the Gentiles were devils."

In 1965 Lionel Trilling coined the phrase "adversary culture" to describe the existence of a hostile counter-establishment, counter-tradition, counterculture  avant-garde, an  American elite class born of modernism.   Primarily through higher education, media, and seminaries they were demoralizing and initiating other Americans into the 'alternative faith,' thereby creating a "mass elite," something new under the sun. (The Death of the Grown-Up, Diana West, p. 8) 

In 1997, American Demographics noted that there has been,

"...a comprehensive shift in values, including 'environmentalism, feminism, global issues, and spiritual searching."  (How Now Shall We Live? Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcy, p. 25)

This New Class, or what the article called the 'Cultural Creatives' embrace a new  morally relative "trans-modernist" set of values in place of the traditional moral absolutes and unchanging truth they no longer accept.  The 'new values' include "change," social justice, evolutionary thinking, tolerance, accommodation, inclusion, feminism, pop and hard rock music, and New Age spirituality. 

Thoroughly postmodern, the New Class is skeptical, if not outright resentful of America's traditional Judeo-Christian culture.     They tend to be anti-establishment, anti-adult, anti-rules, anti-authority, and anti-tradition, both inside  and outside of the Church.   This "new" attitude finds expression in irreverence, disrespect, rudeness, aggression, unconventional edgy clothing, a 'new' way of doing church, and the requisite  attitude of the revolutionary: hip not square and always unconventional.

Diana West writes that America's cultural dive became most vividly noticeable about the same time that television settled into its rut of portraying America's traditional adults as "square," and youth and teenagers as "hip:"

"For something like fifty years, media culture, from Hollywood to journalism to music to Madison Avenue, has increasingly idealized youth even as it has increasingly lampooned adulthood, particularly fatherhood." (The Death of the Grown-Up, p. 6)

Prior to 1941, when the avant garde introduced the concept of 'teenager,' Westerners and Americans thought in terms of children and adults.   Children aspired to adulthood not to adolescence, and mature adults did not aspire to remain teenagers.    But this has changed, said West.  Today more adolescents in adult bodies watch the Cartoon Network than watch the news and,

"Readers as old as twenty-five are buying 'young adult' fiction written expressly for teens.  The average video gamester was eighteen in 1990: now he's going on thirty.." (p. 1)

Today the Peter Pan mindset of the perpetual adolescent is the norm:

"...there is something jarring in the everyday, ordinary sight of adults, full-grown men and women both, outfitted in crop tops and flip-flops, spandex and fanny packs, T-shirts, hip-huggers, sweatpants...running shoes...baseball caps (even worn) backwards (and) artless five or six-year olds taught to orgasm-writhe (a la poppette du jour), belly bare and buttocks wrapped like sausages.  At one time, so sexually charged a display by a child would have appalled the adults around her; now, Baby Britneys...delight their elders, winning from them praise, Halloween candy, even Girl Scout music badges." " (pp. 2-3)

These days, the baggy pants, jeans, hoodies, hanging shirttails, baseball caps, and emblazoned trappings are worn by both sons and fathers, pastors, congressmen, and presidential candidates, and reveal,

"..a state of mind, a reflection of a personality that hasn't fully developed, and doesn't want to---or worse, doesn't know how..." (p.3)

To the perpetual adolescent, it is the mature look and bearing of mature male adults that is off-putting for it smacks of 'tradition' 'rules' and 'authority.'  Dodging maturity is the 'virtue' of today's perpetual adolescents, and this attests to our upside-down civilization's worship of eternal youth tied to the sneering contempt it pours out on traditional adults, whether in church or out.  

With barely concealed contempt, a Scottish pastor lampoons middle class traditionalists in a so-called satire entitled,  ‘A Working Class Manual On How To Reach The Middle Classes With The Gospel Of Jesus:’

 "Ministering to the middle class is fraught with many pitfalls and dangers and is something not to be entered into lightly....As a people group they are difficult to penetrate without a prior appointment...In formal settings, particularly Sunday Services, try to keep the conversation on superficial things for as long as possible....The work in this area can be difficult and depressing but it can also be immensely rewarding. Be assured that nothing is impossible with God. God has a plan for the middle classes and you can be a part of it as you serve him in these difficult strongholds." (20Schemes: Gospel Churches for Scotland's Poorest)

The pastor's contempt for the traditional middle class has its spiritual taproot in envy and Modernism with its earthly goal of a utopian classless society (communism). 

To be a pillar of tradition in most churches today, especially where the pastor has been imbibing the cup of emergent and/or seeker friendly  theology is to be something on the order of a leper.   Paul Smith, author of "New Evangelicalism: The New World Order" notes that behind the anti-adult mindset and anti-traditionalism of modern pastors are humanist seminaries that train men and women to take a traditional church, 

"...and mold it into a postmodern accommodating mindset that will reach a postmodern culture."  (p. 128)

As postmodernism is a continuation of the war against the God of Revelation, it not only rejects heaven, hell, truth, moral absolutes and tradition but insists that everything about our culture and church must be shaped around and controlled by consensus of  felt-needs, appetites and emotions unfettered by morality. 

Dr. Carl Trueman, a Reformed minister and professor at Philadelphia’s Westminster Theological Seminary, shares his thoughts about postmodern church services:

"I heard recently of a church service involving dressing up in costume and music taken from a Tom Cruise movie.  Now, if I go for my annual prostate examination, and the doctor comes into the consulting room dressed as Coco the Clown, with `Take my breath away’ from Top Gun playing in the background, guess what?  I’m going to take the doctor out with a left hook, flee the surgery, and probably file a complaint with the appropriate professional body.   This is serious business; and if he looks like a twit and acts like a twit, then I can only conclude that he is a twit."

"You can tell a lot about someone’s theology from what they do in church.  Involve [pop] music in your worship service, and I can tell not only that you have no taste in music but also that you have nothing to offer theologically to those who come through the church doors; indeed, what you do have can probably be found better elsewhere … More seriously, however, why certain orthodox churches strive to look like them, worries me intensely. Look, it’s rubbish.  So let’s just call it rubbish, shall we?" ("Once More with Feeling---are Church Services too Feminine?" Churchmouse Campanologist, April 21, 2013)

On the decline in church attendance, particularly where more mature males are concerned,  Dr. R. Scott Clark of Westminster Seminary California, said of the youth-worshiping, anti-tradition pop-culture modern church:

"…Ironically... in its quest to become acceptable to modernity (it) becomes more like the surrounding culture (hence) becomes more irrelevant. The mainline has been bleeding itself to death for decades.  The evangelicals are following suit. The consequences may not be entirely evident yet but the signs are there …"

"I think there is a connection between the drop in attendance to Sunday morning worship and rise in female pastors. The latter is a symbol of the capitulation of the church to cultural pressure and the former is one of its consequences." (ibid, Churchmouse Campanologist)

In the profoundly insightful article, "Oh God, Poor God---The State of Contemporary Theology," William J. Abraham argues that the contemporary or modern theology issuing within the whole body of the church from Roman and Eastern Orthodox to Protestant/Evangelical,

"...begins with the rejection of the classical Christian tradition as this is generally known in Western culture." A modern theologian is "one informed by the canons of rationality developed in the European Enlightenment." (from Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers, Christopher A. Hall, p. 19)

Enlightenment rationality is the elevation of man's mind over the mind of God, it is the promise  whispered in the first days of the Creation under the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil: "Ye shall be as god.' It is the vision of man without God.  The result is that the contemporary theologian is no longer shaped,

"...in any profound way by the institutions of Christianity but...cut loose and alone in a sea of individualism and autonomy."   (ibid, p. 20)

In effect, contemporary theologians have endorsed atheist values,

"...as more Christian than those of the traditional believer and...seek to join the secular person in his or her quest for authenticity, community, peace, and justice."   (ibid)

Eric Hoffer warned that if a society is to preserve its stability and a degree of continuity,

"...it must know how to keep its adolescents from imposing their tastes, attitudes, values, and fantasies on everyday life."   (Reflections on the Human Condition, 1973, p. 29 from Death of the Grown-Up) 

Though a sizable remnant of traditionalists still resist the pressures exerted by the New Class of Peter Pans, in the main America's burgeoning adolescents of every age are winning, within the Church and without.  The anti-adult, anti-tradition adversary culture has become our 'new' norm.   In a Church and nation where mature adults are resented, marginalized and becoming extinct, narcissistic eternal adolescents who can't say no to themselves,  don't know right from wrong, and resent those who do, are fostering a paralyzing, deeply destructive cultural relativism that undermines everything from the Church to traditional marriage and the War on Terror.   The result is the end of Western civilization as we have known it.

@Linda Kimball