Don’t Call it Macaroni
During the French and Indian War, British Officers poked fun at how American Militia men seemed to believe that just throwing on a uniform and picking up a rifle was enough to make you a Soldier. British Regulars laughed at how shamelessly a Yankee would stick a feather in his hat and then call it macaroni. This reference to “macaroni”, however, was not a joke about pasta. In 18th century England there was a group of very stylish men known as the Macaroni Club. Group members prided themselves on their sophisticated tastes and cutting-edge fashion sensibilities. So the point the British Soldiers were making was that when Americans aren’t equipped or cut out for a certain task, they simply change the definition of what it means to be equipped. If the American way of life is not in vogue or out of touch with high society, then Americans simply change what it means to be in vogue.
Americans have always been good at this sort of thing. We like to play fast and loose with reality when it suits our purposes. But we need to be careful.
Isaiah 5 says, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.”
This means that no matter how convenient it might be to avoid dealing with sin by simply changing its definition, this is not an option for us as Christians. You can call it what you want and you can stick it in your hat, but some feathers will never be macaroni. The most obvious example of this lately has to do with the national debate concerning gay marriage. We all have gay people in our lives that we love and respect. Gay people are in no way, shape, or form the irredeemable monsters that some have made them out to be (although no one that I know personally has ever made them out that way). Some of the most kind, tender-hearted, thoughtful people I know are currently in homosexual relationships. But this does not change the fact that sin is sin. As much as we would like to stick it in our hat and call it macaroni, according to the patterns of biblical fashion gay marriage will never be in vogue.
There are many other things too – not just gay marriage – that American Christians tend to re-label. You might stick materialism in your hat and call it the Puritan work ethic. Another hopes to pass off his stubbornness as heartfelt conviction. But whatever macaroni happens to look like in your wardrobe, one thing is clear: God calls all of us to carefully evaluate what it is that we call evil and what it is that we call good. And the only way to do this rightly is by checking our definitions against God’s Word. That’s where we learn to tell the difference between a professional soldier and a country bumpkin with a muzzleloader. Only the Bible shows us how to distinguish a fashion statement from a pheasant feather. So let’s just stick to what it says. Then we’ll always be equipped and we’ll always be in style.