Before the sexual revolution of the sixties, making “evil child” horror films would have been unthinkable. But, since the onset of the sixties, that has certainly changed.
Consider the following movies: Children of the Damned (1964), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Exorcist (1973), It’s Alive! (1974), Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby (1976), The Omen (1976), Carrie (1976), Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), It Lives Again (1978), Damian: Omen II (1978), Halloween (1978), The Children (1980), The Final Conflict (1981), Halloween II (1981), Firestarter (1984), Children of the Corn (1984), and so on.
Given that we have so dramatically turned our backs on our children in recent years, it is unsurprising that so many are experiencing a crisis of trust when it comes to social institutions such as the church. I am convinced that this is nothing more than a basic transference of distrust. Individuals who have torn relationships with their earthly fathers will have a much harder time placing trust in their Heavenly Father.
John Burke understands this. That’s why he goes to great lengths to ensure that seekers and doubters are welcomed in his church. We should all do the same. Remember that it was after John the Baptist met and baptized Jesus that he sent someone from prison to ask Jesus whether he was really the One or whether the people should expect another (see Matthew 11:2-3). If John the Baptist could have doubt because he did not understand why Jesus was doing things exactly the way he was then what does that say about us?
We must also recognize that the 21st Century church must have something better to offer than does the new religion of multi-culturalism, which preaches mere “tolerance.” Christianity is indeed unique in that it offers something better. The Buddhist eight-fold path, the Hindu doctrine of karma, the Jewish covenant, and the Muslim Code are all lacking one important thing that is unique to Christianity: Grace, which says that God loves us just as we are. We don’t have to “earn” it.
But John Burke understands what the pastors of so many failing churches do not: We must accept people as they are while simultaneously insisting that once they enter the church they will not stay that way.
And who could argue that most of us need to change? The society cannot change until individuals change. The social statistics certainly cry out for change. In the wake of the Sexual Revolution, the divorce rate tripled (when comparing 1962 to 1981). Over 40% of teens will be pregnant by age 20 and 80% of those pregnancies will be out of wedlock. Looking at all age groups, our illegitimacy rate is around 33%. And what was called “free love” in the 60s became “herpes” in the 70s and “AIDS” in the 80s.
We all need to recognize our own role in the downfall of this society as humble members of a united church. As Burke points out, we are all in a broken state of wanting to play God. The only difference between individuals lies in the willingness to acknowledge this brokenness. Just like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time, most people do not.
When C.S. Lewis said that pain is God’s megaphone to a deaf world, he was reminding us that there really is no greater motivator for change. I am pleased that I was given John Burke’s book in a year during which I have suffered an unprecedented amount of pain. The portions on our attitudes towards other religions and towards homosexuals have given me cause to consider some changes I need to make in my rhetoric as a public commentator.
No Perfect People Allowed might just have been the perfect book at the perfect time for this imperfect reader. I urge you to read it, too. But you might not be the same when you are done.
Mike S. Adams would like to thank Ashley Herzog for motivating him to write this column simply by pointing out some of his imperfections. John Burke would probably like for Mike Adams to encourage his readers to visit the website of Gateway Community Church in Austin, TX.