During yesterday's drive from Pennsylvania to New England my companions were the scenery (stunning!) and the radio. Thanks to my eyes and ears, I was reminded about life and death. . . and what matters related to each.
Somewhere along I-78 the billboard soliciting money for a pet rescue effort caught my eye. The sad looking dog and cat sat next to text telling me that about 3 million canines and felines are euthanized each year in shelters. . . and that I should do something about it. We've got a dog who just turned 10. His age is on our minds and when he's gone, we will miss him deeply. I never liked cats. . . and then one moved into our house thanks to our daughter. She's grown on me. . . but keep it quiet please. Nobody wants their pets to die. As a culture, we are increasingly committed to keeping our animals alive, and we are going to unprecedented lengths to do so.
Along that same stretch of road I heard a news report about a new smartphone app that the New York City Department of Health has launched in an effort to inform teenagers of their reproductive and sexual rights, along with instructions for how to find places that will help them exercise those rights. . . including the right to abortion.
"Teens In NYC Protection+" - onto my own smartphone so that I could see just what it's about. Before opening the app for the first time, an info screen informed me of the following: "Teens in NYC have the right to sexual health services without getting permission from parents, girlfriends/boyfriends or anyone else. Whether or not you're having sex, learn about where to go, what to get and what to expect. Confidential and free services are available. There is a lot more to staying healthy. For more info, search online for NYC Teen."
The app's welcome screen offers three options: Where to Go (sexual health services), What to Get (condoms and birth control), and What to Expect (at the clinic).
If I'm a teenager wondering "Where to Go" I am taken to a page with drop-down menus asking me to select the services I'd like (including birth control, testing, treatment, and abortion), the methods I'm interested in, and my location. It's that easy. If I'm wondering "What to Get" I'm taken to an information page for a host of contraceptive methods, including emergency contraception (the pill to take up to 5 days after unprotected sex). If I'm wondering "What to Expect," I can watch a series of videos that tell the sexual stories of teenagers.
I was reminded once again of that fact that our culture is changing. . . and changing fast. Sexual values, understandings, and parameters are draining sex of it's God-given purpose, wonder, and glory. Families shirk their responsibilities to even attempt to pass on a Godly sexual legacy. And even when families consciously endeavor to nurture a commitment to sexual integrity in their kids, there's a culture screaming a different message 24/7 with high volume into the ears of the kids. There are also people telling kids that when it comes to their sexuality, listening to or even informing their parents really doesn't matter.
As a culture, we are increasingly committed to the convenience of ourselves, our feelings, and our dreams. In addition, we are not increasingly committed to keeping our unborn fellow human beings alive. We are going to unprecedented lengths to do so. Roughly 1 million unborn children are aborted here in the U.S. each year.
Things that should matter and used to matter just don't matter anymore. That's all the more reason to be sure that we tend to matters that really do matter.