[00:00:00] Hello and welcome to The Storyteller's Mission with Zena Dell Lowe, a podcast for artists and storytellers about changing the world for the better through story.
[00:00:11] So for the last few weeks we've been talking about ethics and morality and what the storytellers responsibility is, and I've gone over a couple of things in Jeffrey Sweet's book, called The Dramatist Toolkit.
[00:00:24] He's a playwright, but I think he has a wonderful working knowledge of ethics and what that means for storytellers of all sorts of disciplines. So I wanted to share some of that with you.
[00:00:35] And then we've also been transitioning into, okay, so given the signs of the times, what is our personal responsibility? What is our role as artists? What are we personally maybe called to do, given the lateness of the hour?
[00:00:51] So today I want to expand on that some more, and I want to just talk to you about some of the things that are going on today because they're disturbing to me. And they might be disturbing to you, and maybe some of this will be helpful to you in terms of figuring out— maybe like me, you have been struggling to know what you're supposed to do next given all of this. It's so overwhelming. Everything that we're learning, everything we're seeing. So what are you supposed to do? And that's what I'm hoping that I might be able to help you with.
[00:01:21] Which leads me to the next thing I want to say that I think is just very, very important given the times, the times, the sign of the times.
[00:01:30] So one of the things that I've really personally been struggling with as an artist is as I look around at all the things that are happening at once worldwide. Right? Like all these things, they're not coincidences that they're on the rise all at once. And if you're following all this stuff as I have been doing— I've been going down the rabbit hole. Okay. I'm going to admit to you, I'm going down the rabbit hole, looking at all these things and trying to analyze it from a Christian point of view because I believe that God has called us to analyze these things and be aware of the signs of the times.
[00:02:01] And I personally am convinced that things are coming together in such a way that we're, we're at a turning point in our society. A point at which once we turn this corner completely, there ain't no going back, which means— it implies therefore— and I don't mean to sound crazy, but it implies therefore that we are entering into the last days. Now, I don't know how long that means. I don't know what that means exactly in terms of time and date and how much time there is and blah, blah, blah, but it does mean that we are living in terribly important times. Terribly important times.
[00:02:38] And as a result of that, I've been having to ask God the question, okay, if this is true, if I'm reading the signs of the times correctly— and I may not be, I might be mistaken. But if I'm reading the signs of the times correctly, then what ought I be doing differently, if anything?
[00:02:56] Is there something I need to change my focus on? Are there things that I'm doing that just don't matter anymore? Are there areas that I ought to stop worrying about because they just don't matter at this point and there are higher priorities that ought to be focused on. What do you want from me now, if this is true, and we're going into this period.
[00:03:19] If it's a divisive period where we're separating the wheat from the chaff, where we're still in a battle for the hearts of the minds of the people, what is my role? What is my role? What do I do?
[00:03:29] And I have given all of this information to you these last couple of weeks, and of course, since the beginning of this podcast, because I maintain that the storyteller is central to all of this. The storyteller is so important in all of this. And the problem is that we have multiple narratives that are being played out.
[00:03:51] We've got people that are on the side of false dissemination of information, or people that are just speaking lies, that are just speaking lies. Even if they think they're true, they've been deceived, but they think it's true. I really believe we're seeing a lot of that.
[00:04:09] I had an interesting conversation the other day with a gal who's staying with me right now, and I went to her because I wanted to know her perspective on the trans agenda, the trans phenomenon that's happening.
[00:04:25] And this might be offensive to some of you, but I'm going to be willing to offend you right now. I'm willing to offend you because I think it's important that we're willing to offend, and it's important that we speak up and say what we believe is true.
[00:04:38] And I can tell you that when I look at scripture, it is quite clear to me that God created male and female. Scripture itself says that. Male and female, he created them. Male and female.
[00:04:53] Gender is not on some sort of spectrum. It just isn't. It is black and white. You're male or you're female. And as a result of your gender, there are certain things that are true. You can't avoid it. Biologically. Psychologically there are things. This is why books such as Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus were so dang successful because everybody who read them said, "Yes! Oh my gosh! Women and men are different at our core."
[00:05:24] And it doesn't matter what you do surgically. Biologically there is an imprint on your DNA that makes you either a man or a woman.
[00:05:35] And to affirm, to try to affirm the lie to somebody, to try to extricate yourself from having to commit to a certain side and just say, "Well, it doesn't have anything to do with me. If they wanna be a man and they're a woman. Oh, so be it. It doesn't have anything to do with me." But now you're affirming a lie. And so you can't do that.
[00:05:57] You can't do that, I don't believe, and have a clear conscience before God. I am of the belief that truth is so important on all levels. It is a lack of truth that always gets us into trouble. Anytime we suppress the truth, and even if that truth only affects that one person, to affirm a lie is just harmful to that individual at some level. And so we cannot participate in that lie. We just cannot.
[00:06:32] And so I went to this gal because I know she is liberal in her leanings, but she actually went to seminary at one point. She does believe in God. And so I was curious what her perspective was and what she said was, and you're going to hear a lot of these kinds of phrasings, she said, "Well, God is bigger than gender. He's beyond gender." And she went on to say that people that can't see that—me—are afraid of it. You know, people are traditionally afraid of what they don't understand. And so they want to make judgements. But God is bigger than that because God is love.
[00:07:15] And you're going to hear that phrasing a lot too. God is love. God is love. How loving God is. God is so love, and therefore the implication is that we ought to accept all in everything, in all its forms because God is love. And a God that is love doesn't discriminate in any sort of way. He just accepts everybody as they are.
[00:07:41] And I agree that God allows you to come to Him as you are. But He won't allow you to stay that way if you are truly committing your life to Him because He does have a standard of morality that He expects us to adhere to. This is why God disciplines those He loves because He expects our life to conform to a standard of morality that is consistent with the truth and that honors Him.
[00:08:14] We cannot be involved in idolatry and we cannot distort perceptions of reality, and we cannot lie about what is true and still be on the side of God.It is mutually exclusive, and so it's not possible for us to do that.
[00:08:32] But notice the way that the argument is spun. The implication is, and she even said these words, "Well, I'm open-minded. You know, I'm just not as narrow minded." Things like that. Phrasings like that, that imply that we are bigots, that we are the narrow ones, that we are really, really closed off, that there is something wrong with us because we're believing like this. We're just not as open and we're just not as accessible. We're just not as loving. We're afraid. We're mean. We're bigots. We're bad. These are the types of things because God is love, right?
[00:09:14] And so I challenged her a little bit and I said, "Okay, let me ask you something. Do you believe in absolute truth? Do you believe that there's anything that is absolutely true? And by absolute truth, I mean morally. And what I mean is, is there anything that is true for all people at all time, in all seasons, at all ages? Is there anything that goes beyond subjective opinions or subjective relativism?"
[00:09:47] See, for example, what happens is people want to equate morality, objective morality, any kind of morality in the same way that they would equate say, what is the best flavor of ice cream. You ask somebody that question and somebody might say, "Well, I think chocolate is." "Well, I think vanilla is." "Oh, I think it's Rocky Road." And none of them are wrong, right? Because that's a kind of black and white, that doesn't exist. That is a relative thing. It depends on the person. It is subjected to personal preference.
[00:10:20] But what happens is, because that kind of thing is personal preference, now it's applied to all areas of morality. Oh, you want to have sex before marriage? You want to have multiple partners? Oh, you want to be polygamous? Right? You want to be polyamorous? And if you're in a relationship with other people that want to be polyamorous, well, guess what. There's nothing wrong with it because it's personal preference.
[00:10:43] And so these are the types of things that are happening. We're taking universal or absolute moral qualities, and we're putting it in the context of personal preference. And so I challenged her and I said, "But do you believe that there's anything that goes beyond that? Anything that's beyond personal preference?"
[00:11:01] And she said, "Well, I mean, I think there are some things that are absolutes, but you might not think them."
[00:11:08] And I said, "Okay, well, I might not think them because I'll disagree with you or I might, I might not think them because they don't apply to me?"
[00:11:16] And she said, "Well, maybe both."
[00:11:18] And I said, "Okay, well try me. What is one?"
[00:11:21] And she said, "Well, I already told you one. God is love." So this is what she is saying is one of her absolute truths. See?
[00:11:28] But now we get into tricky rounds again because what does that mean? What does that mean that God is love? Well, to her, it means that all is acceptable.
[00:11:38] I believe that God is love also, but I don't believe that means that He accepts all behaviors. He requires repentance. Remember what Scripture teaches us about what it requires for us to be in right standing with Him. This is the gospel message. We must confess with our mouths and believe in our heart that Jesus died for our sins.
[00:12:01] So repentance and acknowledgement of personal sin is a prerequisite for being at peace with God which means universalism doesn't apply. Jesus didn't die for everybody. He died for everybody to give everybody access, the opportunity to access Him. But it always requires that we take a personal step to acquiesce it, to access it. We have to personally appropriate the offer of salvation. It doesn't just automatically apply to us.
[00:12:35] And again, what is the step that must be gone through? It's a step of repentance and anytime you hear a gospel message without that requirement, it isn't the gospel message. Because a prerequisite is that we understand our sinfulness.
[00:12:52] The real reason that this is not something that people want is because they don't want to be held accountable. Nobody does. We want to be our own God. We want to be seen as moral and righteous. We want it to be okay and therefore we rage at people who dare tell us that something we're doing is wrong.
[00:13:12] Now, by the way, this doesn't negate grace. I do wrong things. I've done some terrible things in my life. I am a sinner saved by grace. And by the way, there are times in my life when I have been allowed, I believe, for a certain season I have been allowed— God has given me grace to live in a state that is less than perfection, that is less than His ideal. He's been waiting for me to come to repentance.
[00:13:49] That doesn't mean that what I was doing was okay. He didn't mean it was okay. He's waiting for me. He is calling me gently to repent because of the circumstances of whatever sin I have been engaged in. And then at a certain point that grace, that patience is gone. And now I have to be disciplined because I am His beloved.
[00:14:16] So grace isn't erased in this process. Grace is always available, but grace also must be weighed in exchange with other qualities of God, like justice. He is a God of justice, and justice requires payment. Payment for sin. The cost was high. It cost Jesus his very life. So for us to not recognize our sin is to cheapen the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
[00:14:58] Okay, so again, going back to the conversation I had with this gal. To me that was a squeaky way of getting—it's a wiggle thing. It's like they don't want to actually nail something down. They have very nebulous and un-concrete language, for lack of a better way of putting it. It's not solid. It's not something you can sink your teeth into. It's very, very fluffy loosey-goosey.
[00:15:29] So I challenged her further and I said, "For example, I'll give you one. I believe that is absolutely true for all people at all time, no matter who you are, no matter when you grew up, no matter whether you're male or female, no matter what, it is wrong to rape children. Boom. Moral rule. Wrong. Done. Boom.
[00:15:53] She agreed with me on that. So good. That means there are absolute moral truths. The question then becomes, well, which ones are they?
[00:16:04] And I guarantee you one of the things that are going to be coming under attack is whether or not it is okay for an adult to be having sexual contact with a child. This is very much something that is being undermined in our society today.
[00:16:21] And in fact, this is what is happening when we are sexualizing our children. And by the way, social media did a lot of this for us. Social media prematurely exposed kids to sexual content, which is in and of itself a form of sexual abuse. And the sad thing is, is when kids have been sexually abused, overtly or covertly, which this would fall into that category, it makes them more susceptible to exploitation.
[00:16:49] So all of that means that just by virtue of social media today, and by virtue of the fact that our educational system is now moving up certain types of sexual educational curriculum that prematurely exposes kids even more to sexual content, we are grooming them to be sexual beings for adults. We need to be aware of these types of things.
[00:17:17] I guarantee they're going to change the age of consent. They just are. I just know that it's going to happen at some point, and there's going to be a question of whether or not it's even legal or whether or not it's even wrong, morally wrong. If it's mutual, if it's consented— and again, kids will think that they're giving their consent because they have been violated. They've been abused and it will feel like life to them because they've been confused in this area. They've been groomed for this very thing and they won't have the knowledge to know that that's actually harming them.
[00:17:53] And I know that this is happening because it's already happening in this area of gender and transgender issues.
[00:18:02] Kids are not allowed to get tattoos before 18, but they're allowed to disfigure their bodies, to permanently damage their bodies so that they can never have children again. I mean, this is terrible. This is terrible what we're allowing kids to do. And it's permanent.
[00:18:22] It's terrible and adults that are participating in that, even if they think that it's this wonderful thing, it is evil. It is evil because it's virtue signaling— it's actually making them feel good about how open-minded they are, which is hinged on that pride. That pride and that arrogance of look at how moral and righteous I am. Look at how advanced and progressive I am.
[00:18:55] It is a travesty.
[00:19:00] Okay, so all this to say, these are the sorts of issues that I have been grappling with because we're here. We're here. So what does that mean for me as an artist? How now shall I live? What does that mean for you as an artist? How now shall you live? Well, we're going to keep talking about this.
[00:19:30] Right now I hope this has given you plenty of things to think about and to process. And I would encourage you to pray for you for clarity to know what God's calling is and if it's modified.
[00:19:47] For me, I can tell you I had to adjust my thinking on some of the stories that I wanted to tell that now I realize are more self-indulgent, that just don't matter as much. Maybe they would've been fun in a different kind of society, and I certainly would've tried to tell them in a way that would've been entertaining and would've had some moral values to them. Nevertheless, they just don't matter that much anymore. Whereas some of my other stories, have taken on greater importance.
[00:20:19] And the window of being able to tell them is shortening, is closing, which has increased some urgency on my part. I have to start making some decisions on what I'm going to do, the kinds of things that I'm going to spend my time on, because I don't think we have a lot of it left to maybe turn this thing around or to reach certain people before they're too far gone, before the lies have completely taken over reality or before our own rights, our own ability to speak out against it and to still have an opportunity to win those hearts and minds are completely squashed and taken away. I just don't know how much time we have.
[00:21:14] To me, it is clear as I look at the signs of the times that we are really at a crossroads. Storytellers are incredibly important, perhaps more important than ever. So I hope you will join me on this quest over the next couple of weeks to see, how now shall we live? What ought we be doing now given today's climate, given the signs of the time, given the lateness of the hour?
[00:21:50] I hope that this has been enjoyable to you, and if so, and you find it valuable and you think there are other artists who could benefit from some of the things we've talked about today, would you please share this episode with them?
[00:22:02] And would you also please like and subscribe to the show and rate and review the show because again, the window is short. And we would like to have as many people as possible be tuning in if indeed we are saying anything to God's glory, anything that has the possibility to help people in this day and age. So please do help us get the word out.
[00:22:25] In the meantime, I want to thank you so much for joining me on The Storyteller's Mission with Zena Dell Lowe. May you go forth inspired to change the world for the better through story.