by Tom Wacaster
I had to make a stop at Best Buy today to check out the latest technology in computer-tablet combinations. I had received advanced notice that a unique computer-tablet device was coming out that I thought might be useful in my travels, especially when I am making one of those long mission trips and have some time while sitting in airports to do a little writing and study. As it turned out the latest technology is so new that even the Geek Squad at Best Buy had never heard of it. Now that is new! But this week’s “Tom’s Pen” actually has nothing to do with the latest technology. It has more to do with the passing of a generation that is so much different than the culture we are witnessing today. Let me fill you in with some details.
After questioning the Geek Squad regarding this newest device of which I wanted to know more, I was getting ready to exit and a young man who worked in the store stopped me to do a little sales pitch. He asked me if I was a Charter cable customer and if so he had something he wanted to show me that he thought I might be interested in. It was a new “package” being offered by Charter in coordination with Best Buy to provide its customers with a new array of television channels. I used to think that 120 channels was more than anyone would ever need. How anyone could ever get around to watching 120 different TV channels still remains a mystery to me. With advanced technology, new cable services offered exclusively by Charter, it is now possible to sign up for service with Charter that will provide you with—get this—more than 500 viewing channels, plus HBO, Showtime, Movies on Demand, Netfilx, Amazon streaming, and, as the late Andy Griffith would say, “Who knows what’all.” After the young man’s initial “spill,” I kindly informed him that I had pulled the plug on cable television more than 20 years ago and about the only thing I actually watch on TV anymore is Wheel Of Fortune on Wednesday evening as I am getting ready to leave for services (and that only because it is available for no charge and the Channel 11 tower is less than a mile from my house). When he asked why I had “pulled the plug” on TV, I told him, “There is nothing descent to watch anymore.” The blank look on his face made me think to myself: “Does this young man even know what I mean when I say descent?” Unless he had something to compare it with, there is no way he could understand. But as so many critics have pointed out, gone are the days of “Ozzie and Harriet,” “Leave it to Beaver,” “My Three Sons,” and “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Indeed, times have changed, and not for the better.
One more incident that occurred this same day, and then I’ll make a closing observation or two. I had a doctor’s appointment this morning. While sitting in the waiting room I struck up a conversation with a gentleman who was a few years my junior, but who quite obviously had more health problems than myself. We discussed a number of matters in the half hour or so we sat there visiting. It seems that he was quite troubled about the direction our country was going morally. His anxiety showed, and his inability to grasp the real cause was demonstrated in where he sought to place the blame: “Politicians, over zealous religious fanatics, too much involvement in the world’s problems” were among those things he blamed for our present social plight. Any attempt to discuss humanism, evolution, our educational system, or American’s love affair with “things” seemed to get the same response I got from the young man at Best Buy. I realized after talking with these two men that, if they are any representation of our country’s citizenship, we are in a moral vacuum in our country, and not only do we as a country not know what to do about it, we have no idea how we got here. But it is not just America; the present situation is a universal problem.
There are a lot of factors that have contributed to the present moral vacuum that exists in our world. Among these would be humanism, with its atheistic, "no-God" mentality, evolution that has taught for more than a century now that man is nothing more than a glorified monkey, modernism that has sought to somehow provide man a "utopia" with unlimited pleasure to the sensual man, and false religious doctrine that has robed God of His rightful place in our lives and substituted it with the doctrines of men that make void the word of God.
Jesus warned us of false teachers in Matthew 7:15-17. Among other things, He told us that we can tell a tree by its fruit. The fruit that I am seeing with regard to morals, speaks volumes about exactly what or who presently controls our media, our institutions of higher learning, our school systems, and our entertainment industry. It has not been that long ago that our nation was at peace within, and stood strong against the enemies without. Religion was respected, and even promoted by the media, our public schools, and even our law makers in Washington. Almost without exception our public schools would begin the day with a Scripture reading and prayer. Those were simple days; but they were happy days. If men are incapable of discerning the difference in our society today and that of a mere fifty years ago, what makes us think they can lead us in the right direction with all of their legislative policies that no longer place importance on what God's word says?
A few months back I closed one of my articles with the following comments which are as appropriate here as then. Several years ago the Statler Brothers produced a song entitled, "What Ever Happened To Randolph Scott." The chorus had these words: "Whatever happened to Johnny Mack Brown, and Alan Rocky Lane? Whatever happened to Lash LaRue? I'd love to see them again. Whatever happened to Smiley Burnett, Tim Holt, and Gene Autry? Whatever happened to all of these has happened to the best of me. Whatever happened to Randolph Scott has happened to the industry."
Along that same line, may I suggest that "Whatever happened to Randolph Scott" has happened to the world in general and our beloved country in particular.