By Jesse Sumpter

You can’t make this stuff up. A 69 year old Dutch man, named Emile Ratelband, has decided he wants to identify as a 40 year old. He has even asked a court in his hometown to make it legal and change his birth certificate to say he was born on March 11, 1969 rather than March 11, 1949. You can read about it here. And after Christians have had a good laugh at this idiocy, we should realize that this man is actually a mirror and we have been laughing at ourselves. You can’t make this stuff up.

This man suffers from the dream of hyperindividualism. This is the belief that one’s own actions can happen in a bubble and do not have an impact on the community around him. This man claims he is free to make this choice, saying “we can make our own decisions.” He even waxes religious at one point claiming that this comes down to free will. This man is the embodiment of the delusion that we can make decisions in a vacuum. This is what the end of society looks like: making choices irrespective of the consequences that those choices will have on the others around us. The individual is king.

But people are not made to live like this. People are made for community. It is not good for man to be alone. We are born in a community of father and mother and we grow up and live in the community of family and society. Our actions and decisions have very real and serious consequences for the people around us. Contrary to common thought, sex is not a private act. It is between two people and that makes it public. And when it produces a third: sex is a crowd. To think we can make choices around such a public act and that it will only impact ourselves is shear idiocy. Community and culture is like the water in a river. If one person veers off to one side of the river, the water will go that way too. Water always goes anywhere it can reach. Once an opening happens, the water just pours through. That extra bend in the river will now be a permanent part of the river.

This 69 year old is not just suggesting that he wants to change his age. He is offering to make pedophilia legal. That is what he is really asking for. So even though he is pretending that his decision is his own, he is really asking this on behalf of pedophiles everywhere. Just run the simple scenario in your mind: 69 year old identifies as a 12 year old. Hilarious? Disgusting. Or flip the numbers: 12 year old identifies as 40 year old. There it is. All the pedophilia our insane age can imagine. If courts allow kids to determine their gender, why not their ages too? And while this 69 year old might never say anything to encourage pedophilia, the reality is that his actions and decisions are making it possible for others. This man does not live in isolation, even though his is trying to do that.      

But what came before the insanity of this 69 year old? That’s easy. Christians. We came before this insanity and we are the source of it. We have swallowed the lunacy of hyperindividualism and we are armpits deep in it. If you want to find people who have no clue that their actions influence the community around them, just go to church this Sunday. In the church, we call it “Christian freedom” and then we get twelve body piercings. We call it “free will” and we dye our hair pink. We say “I don’t spank, but others can” or “I worship God in my way, you can do it in yours.” Christians are making decisions all the time and we think it doesn’t influence our community. I dare you to look in the mirror. This 69 year old is us, Christians.

Christians say “I can do X, but I am not saying it is ok for others.” No, actually you are saying others can do that and even more. If you can get a tattoo, then other Christians are free to get two. If you can get a nose piercing, then other Christians are free to get a sternum piercing. That is always how it works. If you veer to the edge, there will also be another person who is more edgy than you. That’s how this game works.

Christians have been leading the game and we act like we don’t even know the rules.

Here are the rules. We are made in and for community and our actions impact others. You are always being watched and others are imitating you. Don’t ever think you are just a stay at home mom or a 9-5 dad. Your family is watching you. Your neighbors are watching you. Don’t pretend to live in isolation. Your actions change and influence the community. So you are either promoting life in how you live or you are promoting death. You are either building up community by loving your neighbor as yourself or you are hating others and tempting others to destroy themselves at the idol of self.

The reality is that each of us is a spring of water and everyone else in our community lives downstream from us. So what is coming out of your spring? Others are drinking it up and they will take what you are offering and they will go the next step, even if you don’t. This 69 year old is clear evidence of what Christians have been offering the world—a golden calf made of Self—and the world is drinking up what we are offering. May God refresh us Christians and give us Himself, the true and fresh water, rather than the stale salt water we have been offer. Because if we don’t have the fresh water, nobody else will either.

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