Grace in the Age of Guilt - Living Strong Television Network
Grace in the Age of Guilt

Rules and moral codes won’t save us in an era of judgment, hate, and superego. What will save us is mercy.

This piece was adapted from Russell Moore’s newsletter. Subscribe here.

Years ago, I talked with someone who told me how hard it was to keep a moral grounding in the sex-fueled drinking atmosphere of his college. That’s not unusual, but then he told me more about his college.

Turns out it wasn’t a party school but a fundamentalist separatist Christian college, where holding the hand of a date would get a student suspended and dancing would get a student a ticket back home. It’s the kind of place where the student conduct manual is longer than the federal code for maintaining nuclear reactors.

I said, “So in spite of all that strictness, the people there were wild?” He said, “The people there were wild because of all the strictness.”

He went on to talk about getting in trouble for listening to a contemporary Christian music artist (the beat is too worldly) or for his hair being too long or for breaking some other regulation.

“After a while, you start to lose the sense of what’s really bad and what’s not,” he said. “Your conscience gets broken when you know you’re going to be a rule breaker no matter what you do. Once that happens, it’s—well, it’s party time.”

I thought of that man as I read Mark Edmundson’s book The Age of Guilt: The Super-Ego in the Online World. Like in that conversation, my first thought when seeing this book was, What age of guilt? This is an age of shamelessness. His argument, though, was different than what I expected, and it’s one that those of us who are Christians should take seriously.

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