Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

Just dropping by ... Of broken cisterns

Yevet Tenney Published on 17 April 2015

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in April 2005. The author has updated it and written a sequel, which will appear in the next issue.

When I was in my teens, I saw an old surfer movie. I don’t remember the plot, but I do remember a scene where a group of teens were dancing. The rock-and-roll music blared and the dancers hopped around, flipping their hair and twisting their bodies to the music.



The scene would flip to an African Watusi tribe doing a tribal dance, then back to the modern teens. The only thing that changed was the costumes. At the time, I thought the dance was cool and laughed at the comparison, but as I matured, I have often reflected on the scene for other reasons than a humorous scene in a movie.

It doesn’t take a long stroll though the park, the mall or a college campus to spot the tribal counterpart of uncivilized civilizations. The clothes are ragged and baggy – if they can be called clothes at all. Sometimes a Western cowboy bandanna would cover as much.

The skin is more prevalent than the cloth. Piercings and tattoos cover more territory than the clothes. Hair is unkempt and scraggly; combs and brushes seem to be foreign objects. Nose rings and belly jewels are as attractive as a bone in the nose or multiple rings that stretch the lips and elongate the neck to grotesque proportions.

In the Garden of Eden, after they had eaten the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve were embarrassed to go before the Lord with naked bodies. They sewed fig leaves together to make aprons (Genesis 3:7). Their consciences informed them that the naked body is sacred and should not be flaunted.

They intuitively understood the important concept that Paul taught in the New Testament, “... know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)


I wouldn’t worry if this was a passing fancy or trendy style because it would go away in time, but it seems to be a societal shift toward the uncivilized and even grotesque. Children are being taught the mores of the future by the television shows they watch, the toys they play with and the examples of their parents. Society is on the fast track to abandoning civilization as we know it. We can see this shift in the music, the art and the attitude of our society.

The rock music the children are listening to is hypnotic and sexually charged. It captures the mind and the body. Cars drive down the highway, speakers pulsating with drums and electronic screeches and twangs that desensitize the ears and the mind.

The dances are erotic and devoid of beauty. They resemble the war dance of the uncivilized. Video games blare with the same kind of music while they portray images of brutality and inhumane barbaric acts.

The art is of the same flavor as the music, filled with violence and sick images of skulls and blood. The female body is portrayed as an object of violence and inhumanity. Death and violence are woven through every detail of the art.

Mainstream society winks at the killing of the innocent and punishes the victim. Assisted suicide and attempted murder of the sick and helpless is becoming commonplace. Morality is a thing of the past to be ridiculed and scoffed at. Women are not considered paragons of virtue filled with the milk of human kindness; they are sex objects and prey.

The family is disintegrating with the rise of same-sex marriages and the sexploitation of our children by the media. The sacred is profaned and ridiculed. Christian traditions and values are being swiped from our schools, public buildings and our speech. One atheist has more right to speak his mind than the millions who have lived and yet live in our JudeoChristian-heritage America.



Jeremiah, an Old Testament prophet, hit the nail on the head:

Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

—Old Testament; Jeremiah 2:10-13

We have changed our gods and have forsaken the fountain of living waters, the Savior and God of this land. We have made our own broken cisterns which hold no water.

I am old enough to remember the deep holes in the ground that were lined with concrete and filled with water to supply the needs of the house because there was no well or spring nearby. When the water was gone, the water had to be replenished. If the cistern was cracked, the water would run out sooner and the water supply would have to be replenished.

Christ is the source of truth and information in our lives. If we follow him, it flows into our souls like a river of sparkling water. We have enough and to spare. There is no need of a cistern to store the truth and information; it is always there.

The educators, politicians, artists, musicians, writers and the philosophers of the world who have abandoned Christian values have created their own cisterns. Their philosophies change from day to day. The strength and excitement of their idea pales, and they change it for another. It’s like a mother changing babies’ diapers. One stinky idea follows another while society remains empty and thirsty.

What god do we have instead of Christ? What idols do we bow down to and worship? I was taught that an idol is anything that you give more attention to than God.

If we take that definition, we could add boats, cars, televisions, computers, Internet, houses, gardens, airplanes and clothes. Of course, it is easy to see the television as fitting into the category of an idol. We sit on the couch, prostrate ourselves on the carpet or lounge in the chair for hours at a time clicking the clicker to see what new thing will tickle our fancy. We spend hours browsing the Internet for information to solve a problem.

How long do we spend on our knees? Do we know the sports heroes better than we know the apostles? Are the plays on the football field more familiar than the commandments? Can we repeat the plot of a sitcom faster than we can recall a parable of Jesus? How many times a day do we pick up a magazine or a newspaper to find out what is going on in the world? How many times do we pick up the Scriptures to find out what is going on in our hearts?

We would scream and pitch a fit if some cult built a shrine in our city and announced that they were going to perform ancient rituals of human sacrifices and they planned to use the natives of our community. We would get out our ropes and guns.We’d form a vigilante party and run them out of town – or hang a few of them before locking the rest of them in jail.

Yet we quietly go about our day watching our favorite show, reading our favorite magazine and praising our favorite sports heroes – while worshippers of the uncivilized and sick sacrifice our children’s minds and hearts to the gods of selfishness, immorality, violence, greed and lust. The media has them by the throat; it’s just a matter of time before the knife falls and the sacrificial fires burn up our future.

I’m with Joshua of the Old Testament, who spoke to the Children of Israel asking them for a commitment of faith.

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

—Old Testament; Joshua 24:15

Why? Because I know that one person committing to serve the Lord is not just one person; it is a generation. PD