“Well,” [said Cathleen,] “this Mr. Butler took a Charleston girl out buggy riding. I never did know who she was, but I’ve got my suspicions. She couldn’t have been very nice or she wouldn’t have gone out with him in the late afternoon without a chaperon. And, my dear, they stayed out nearly all night and walked home finally, saying the horse had run away and smashed the buggy and they had gotten lost in the woods. And guess what–“
“I can’t guess. Tell me,” said Scarlett enthusiastically, hoping for the worst.
“He refused to marry her the next day!”
“Oh,” said Scarlett, her hopes dashed.
“He said he hadn’t–er–done anything to her and he didn’t see why he should marry her. […]”
“Did she have a baby?” whispered Scarlett in Cathleen’s ear.
Cathleen shook her head violently. “But she was ruined just the same,” she hissed back. ~ Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind
Times have changed since a single girl was “ruined” for being out late with a man.
In fact, times have changes since a single girl was “ruined” for living with a man. Today, the single girl can live with as many men as she wants before she settles down with one. And, if she decides she doesn’t like the one she’s settled down with, she can get rid of him and try another.
Today’s girl is never “ruined.”
The U.S. culture has long been influenced by Christianity. Today, all that is changing.
A hundred years ago, the U.S. society upheld virtues like sexual purity. Divorce was a family disgrace, and if someone “gave his word,” that really meant something. It wasn’t unusual to seal a deal with the shake of a hand. Today, you’re stupid if you don’t have a signed contract. If you can get it notarized, that’s even better.
Christianity’s influence on the culture has waned to say the least. On the other hand, the culture’s influence on Christianity is going strong. And for the most part, it doesn’t seem like the church even notices.
The U.S. church has been spoiled. Since the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we’ve had religious freedom with the added bonus of living in a society that upheld our morals.
Our fathers came from countries where they had to be countercultural. Today, we hardly understand that concept.
Like the girl from Mitchell’s story, the church is being led out into the night. If she is not careful, her Bridegroom will return to find her “ruined.”