By Dave Gipson
My daughter just modeled her homecoming dress for me. I tried to act underwhelmed, though her beauty was quite stunning. The dress was tasteful — contemporary yet modest. I’m so proud and I know I don’t deserve such great kids in my home who are quickly becoming decent young adults.
I wonder how Billy Ray Cyrus feels. A couple of weeks ago his daughter Miley pantomimed sex acts on MTV’s award show. Just a few years back, she was America’s sweetheart Hannah Montana, singing it up on the Disney Channel. And she’s not even 21 yet.
I’m not gloating — I’m sad. I grieve for any father who wants the best for his daughter but sees that instead. And though I know Billy Ray told the press he’s OK with it, I don’t believe him. Because he’s a dad, and there’s no dad who wants that for his daughter. Interestingly enough, singer Robin Thicke was onstage with her as the object of her advances. He’s a husband and father — he should know better.
OK, I’m going to fall for the bait here. The plan for that TV appearance was she “twerks” to her heart’s content on TV, parents like me get red-faced and protest, and her new single goes to the top of the iTunes sales chart. It was calculated to provoke shock and attention, and it worked marvelously.
It was a fine plan, except for the whole “destruction of Western Civilization” thing. There — did I overreact enough?
I’m not so sure.
Something is going badly wrong. Yes, I know people said the same thing when Elvis swiveled his hips, but I believe this is different. Miley is a role model for millions of girls, but that’s supposedly the fun part of all this — watching a “good girl” going “bad”.
Meanwhile, our values are tipping upside down, and Miley’s performance was just one remarkable symptom of a terminal illness.
I listen to my kids’ friends, and there’s a casualness toward their bodies that’s stunning. My wife has listened amazed as grown women, moms and wives, talk bluntly about their own sex acts as if discussing their kid’s soccer games. I’ve even learned of wife-swapping parties among Christian couples — I thought that stuff went out with the 70s!
Tim Tebow and now Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara talk about staying sexually pure, and the media looks at them as quaint throwbacks of antiquated values at best. At worst, freaks. We now are at the place where the ideal of sexual purity is considered abnormal, even dysfunctional, and sexual license is the norm. God help us.
I’m really not a Puritan. My kids aren’t “children of the corn” who churn butter all day while watching “Little House on the Prairie’’ reruns on the Hallmark Channel. After 30 years in the ministry, I’ve heard most everything — nothing shocks me anymore. But I think our culture has lost something important.
We no longer value modesty, purity and intimacy.
We’ve forgotten what is really beautiful about sex — intimacy. Something shared by only those two people, not shared with the world on YouTube or Instagram.
We’ve forgotten purity — making our bodies a gift for one special person, not “re-gifting” ourselves for partner after partner.
What about modesty? Is it OK to force everyone to see you as a sexual object? You’re so “into your body” that everyone else must be also?
When I married my wife at 28, we were both virgins. Yeah, I saw the milk shoot out of your nose as you read that one! Amazing, isn’t it? I don’t mention that to brag, but to show we’re relics of a bygone era.
The advantage is I’ve never worried about how I compared to “her other lovers”, because there weren’t any! I knew she wasn’t just marrying me “for my body”, which gives me confidence nothing can shake. And if sickness keeps us from that intimacy in the future, I have no fear we’ll give up on each other. That’s because we both fell in love with a person, not just a body.
I’m good with being a relic, and I wish our society would return to antiquated values like modesty and commitment. They’re what every father wishes for his kids, even Billy Ray.
So Miley, if you’re listening, I know those values are what your Heavenly Father hopes for you. And you can do it, if you’ll only stop twerking long enough to listen.