Observations On The Culture of Exposure

“The only thing forbidden in our culture of exposure is the inclination to forbid — to set limits on disclosure.”

Christopher Lasch
Article — For Shame

Some observations consonant with Lasch,

1.) Every culture defines itself by its taboos. By establishing taboos a culture locates the holy by designating the blasphemous. Those who violate the taboos may exist within a culture but they cannot participate in the culture. The taboo in our culture of multiculturalism and pluralism is anything that restricts, isolates or forbids. In short it is taboos that are taboo.

Here is a quick example of this. Fifty years ago if a high schooler was pregnant out of wedlock the expectation is that she would drop out of high school, be disciplined by her church, be a negative example in her extended family, and be the gossip of the town. Today if a high schooler is pregnant out of wedlock anybody who would behave with the behavior of fifty years ago would be met with the same response by the larger community as the out of wedlock high schooler received fifty years ago. The taboo has switched. Fifty years ago the taboo was towards a set behavior. Today the taboo is toward any taboo.

2.) If you extend Lasch’s observation about ‘exposure’ to the general culture one might argue that this is a consequence of the confessional booth going into abeyance in the Church and the Church where the confessional booth is present going into abeyance in the culture. One could reason that there is something inherent in human nature that desires to make its seamy side known to somebody, or similarly one might argue that there is something about every culture that requires ‘exposure.’ Catholic culture has the confessional booth. Communist culture had forced confession of sins against the revolution. When that exposure isn’t weaved into the culture in a sensible way it comes out in Maury Povich and Oprah Winfrey talk shows.

3.) Such exposure creates a weird sense of ‘community,’ but this sense of community is reflective not of the friendship that normally denominated concrete and traditional communities but rather it is a abstract community of strangers where all that links this community of strangers together is their dysfunction and their exposure.

4.) Ever since the fall man has had the tendency to hide himself from God because man was ashamed of his sin. I believe what we are seeing in this culture of exposure is that man, both those who are doing the exposing and those who are titillated by the exposure, have lost the sense of being ashamed of sin, and so have lost the fear of God.

5.) Traditionally exposure through confession was a means of self-denial but in a culture of exposure, exposure by confession is a means of self-inflation. The cameras are rolling or the small group who has gathered for mutual affirmation are sympathetically looking on and the conditions are right for self to be inflated. In a culture of exposure people begin to wish that they had something aberrant that they could confess before the world.

When Compassion Is Sin

(Policies based on a therapeutic model have) “give rise to a cult of the victim in which entitlements are based on the display of accumulated injuries inflicted by an uncaring society. The politics of ‘compassion’ degrades both the victims, by reducing them to objects of pity, and their would be benefactors, who find it easier to pity their fellow citizens than to hold them up to impersonal standards, the attainment of which would make them respected. Compassion has become the human face of contempt.”

Christopher Lasch
Article — For Shame

The consequence of this reality that Lasch describes

1.) Is not the relief of the victim but rather the empowerment of those who draw attention to the victim. For example, race pimps could not hold the power that they hold were it not for their ability to be the official spokesmen and representatives for victims.

2.) Is a political culture whereby power is gained by manipulating guilt by promising to relieve the victims of their situation thus relieving the putative oppressors of their guilt. This explains, at least in part, the phenomenon of Barack Obama’s popularity among white guilt ridden voters. Voting for Obama is a twofer. It not only relieves them of their guilt but it also provides direct relief for one of those who have ‘suffered’ at the hands of their putative oppression.

Political campaigns are thus characterized as a prolonged series of stump speeches that identify both victims and victimizers and looks for votes from both groups so that those who are victims are promised relief from their oppression and those who are victimizers are promised that their vote will provide atoning relief from their alleged oppressive behavior.

The really odd thing is that many people who are not guilty of being victimizers own the guilt and grasp the solution to their guilt that the politician promises. This may happen because pagans know they really are guilty and so live with an ongoing sense of guilt but since they won’t turn to Christ, who alone can provide atonement for their objective guilt, they grasp at other means that are offered, by which atonement can be by self-achieved by the atoning action of casting a vote that will temporarily relieve their conscience. R. J. Rushdoony called this ‘The Politics of Guilt and Pity.’

That which I really love about this quote is how it draws a direct line between compassion (so-called) and contempt. The human heart being the source of all that is foul takes one of the noblest virtues that it can find and twists it to such a degree that compassion is really contempt in disguise with the result that we lose the capacity to be able to know and distinguish what both compassion and contempt really look like.

The Age Of Indistinction

The will, the values, even the faith that has sustained and ordered what we have known of civilization in the era of the Protestant ethic has come to an end. The polymorphous dispensation has arrived, and we know it when men dress as children, and women dress as men. We know it when we reach for a familiar object with a familiar brand but find upon inspection of the small print that is ‘made in China.'”

James O. Tate
Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used To Be — Arriving at Indistinction
Chronicles April Issue pg. — 18

The one guiding star of the Revolutionary West (starting with the fall of the Bastille and continuing on through the countless revolutions that it has inspired) is the pursuit of equality and hence the elimination of distinctions. Most cheered when the distinction between slave and master was erased, chattering on how uncivil such an arrangement was, but now having given egalitarianism its head it demands further erasures. Women can be as ‘Butch’ as any man and men can be as caring and sensitive as any woman. Why recently the news cycle is all agog over the fact that a ‘man’ is pregnant, (though, I can’t seem to understand all the excitement over a being who has female sex organs being pregnant), while Hollywood continues to give us a stream of Movies that have women in roles playing the tough cop or Military commander. Viewing children as belonging to their parents is hardly treating them as equals with their parents and so movements are launched for ‘child rights.’ Cultures may be distinct (for now) but they all must be considered equal in value. My money has it that even cultures are going to eventually be thrown into the great egalitarian blender so that even in culture we will all arrive at a lack of distinction.

Perhaps the place where Tate’s lack of distinction is seen most clearly is in American Pulpits throughout the country. The French have a bit of a maxim about gender, claiming that there are three genders — Men, Women, and


It’s funny because it is so close to the truth. Clergy more then any other career perhaps has reached the apex in the age of polymorphism. The reality of that is seen in how difficult it is to imagine a testosterone heavy, gun loving, Patrick Henry anti-government proclaiming, pro-spanking, former Navy SEAL Commando in a pulpit week in and week out. Our mental picture of Clergy is more typically someone who is soft spoken, vulnerable, effeminate, polite and generally nice. Polymorphism has prevailed in the pulpit, and the ministry has become the poster child for the age of indistinction.

So pull out a indistinct weak beer, invite your local clergy and engage in some colorless conversation and have a drink to blandness, indistinction and polymorphism — the new Three horses of the Apocalypse.

The Church & Cultural Transformation

I’ve been pretty sick the past few days, and it may be that I am still suffering from fever induced delirium, but I woke up this Lord’s Day morning with ‘transformation’ on my mind. The Church’s drive for cultural transformation is quickly becoming the generational hobby horse du jour. It seems that large swaths of the Church wants to be part of bringing transformation to our culture. Many want to follow ministerial Hollywood types like Rick Warren who could say,

“I am praying for a second reformation of the church that will focus more on deeds than words. The first Reformation was about beliefs. This one needs to be about behavior. … We’ve had a Reformation; what we need now is a transformation.”

Obviously, Rick Warren is no theologian since change in behavior never comes without a prior change in belief. Also, Rick is no church historian if he believes that the Reformation only brought about a change in belief and not a change in behavior.

Still, despite Rick’s vacuous utterances, I am a believer in the Church’s role in cultural transformation. I believe that the church and the culture will be transformed as the Church teaches what its beliefs are. I believe that ‘as goes the Church so goes the culture,’ or ‘the Church is the leading cultural indicator.’ The problem the Church has though is that it must realize that not all cultural transformations are equally valid. The agenda for cultural transformation is one that is shared by almost all ideologies and psuedo-Churches. The Marxists, cultural marxists, feminists, homosexuals, globalists, the religious right, the religious left, libertarians, communitarians, all desire cultural transformation, and all work towards that end. Now as most expressions of the Church have become captive to the reigning ideologies of the moment what ends up happening is that many Churches put a candy coating of spiritual Jesus talk over their approaches to cultural transformation and call that Biblical transformation, and then pursue their pagan transformation agenda claiming that they have the authority from Jesus in their pursuits.

This is why Churches must know what they believe and why they believe it and what they don’t believe and why they don’t believe it. Pastor’s and Elders, being grounded in Scripture, must have the ability to critically examine the theological foundation upon which all cultural movements are based. If they fail to have the capacity to distinguish correctly they will inevitably seek to transform in a anti-Christ direction, all in the name of a foreign Jesus.

So, the first hazard in the Church’s role in cultural transformation is that the Church may start transforming, in a well intended but naive manner, on the basis of the doctrine of demons and not on the basis of the doctrines of Christ.

Perhaps, because of the prevalence of this first hazard a second hazard has arisen in the bowels of the Church. This second hazard seeks to eliminate the problem of the Church grabbing on to the wrong transformation agendas by insisting that the Church isn’t called to the work of transformation at all. M. Scott Horton, for example, can write,

“There is no call to cultural transformation in the New Testament. Yet if Christian churches are fulfilling their specific mandate and believers are being built up in the faith and practice through the Word, we can expect to see distinctive effects in the culture.”

One wonders what the difference is between cultural transformation and seeing ‘distinctive effects in the culture?’ Does Mike believe that it is acceptable for the Church to bring ‘distinctive effects in the culture’ as long as those distinctive effects don’t transform culture? The problem though is that any ‘distinctive effect’ that alters something in the culture that wouldn’t have been altered without that Church inspired ‘distinctive effect’ is transformation.

It seems at some level Mike understands that it is impossible for the Church not to be a transforming agent. Paradoxically enough, even if the Church were to succeed at not being a transforming agent it would at that very moment be transforming the culture if only because its refusal to bring its theology to bear on the culture would allow other theologies to gain positions of transformational ascendancy. A church that retreats from seeking to transform the culture is actively involved in transforming the culture in a non-Christian direction, if only because a theology that teaches transformational neglect allows room for pagan theologies that inspire pagan transformation.

So, what we have established so far is that church inspired cultural transformation is an inescapable category and that many Churches are transforming in a non-Christian direction, all the while claiming Jesus are their inspiration.

I Said, Hey Babe… Take A Walk On The Wild Side

“We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and then bid the geldings to be fruitful.”

C.S. Lewis


Why should anybody be surprised by this? I would be surprised if it didn’t happen.

We make girls without scruples and expect of them virtue and modesty. We laugh at sexual propriety and are shocked to find teenage whores in our midsts. We morally lobotomize and then bid little girls to be morally thoughtful.

Secondly, you have got to know if it is going on in Dallas it is going on all over the place.

Look, we communicate in our government churches (schools)

1.)That sex is no big deal

2.)That if education has a primary purpose its primary purpose is to make money.

These girls were just being consistent with the presuppositions that they were taught in school as reinforced by our culture.

What I don’t understand is why the sheriff is so mystified.