"Avalanche." "Tsunami." "A cultural watershed moment." "A day of reckoning."
Those are just some of the words being used to describe the relentless accusations of sexual misconduct by powerful men. The quake is shaking cultural epicenters of this country from Hollywood to corporate boardrooms to state capitals to the halls of Congress. And most observers believe this is only the beginning.
The blizzard of revelations is new. Men using power to exploit someone sexually is not. From athletes to politicians, from bosses to clergy.
Tiger Woods outed the mindset behind this kind of behavior when he went public with his extramarital relationships. "Normal rules didn't apply...I felt I was entitled."
There's the word. Entitled. The dictionary says entitlement is "the belief that one is inherently deserving of privilege or special treatment." "Privilege?" Like assuming the right to use power to dishonor or degrade a woman? No title, no favor, no authority can ever give a man that right.
From the time we guys are boys, we're raised on what I call the Male Conquest Myth. That a man proves his manhood by the sexual conquest of a woman. And it starts early.
After one of our sons' first dates, the guys at school had one question - "How much did you get off her?" In fact, we had just driven them to a movie and back.
For centuries, the Bible has presented a radically different proof of manhood. It is, in fact, about conquest. "Better to have self-control than to conquer a city" (Proverbs 16:33).
A man proves he's a man, not by conquering a woman - but by conquering himself. His passions. His anger. His mouth. His dark side.
That's the battle one Bible author kept losing. "I want to do what is right, but I can't. I want to do what is good, but I don't...there is another power that...makes me a slave to sin. Who will free me?" In his disgust with his own powerlessness to tame his dark side, he suddenly finds hope. "Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ" (Romans 7).
For 2,000 years, men who couldn't change did change. When they've turned to the Man who poured out His life on a cross to break the chains of human sin. Who proved His singular power by conquering death itself. If He has the power to walk out of His grave, there's nothing that conquers me that He can't conquer.
In the midst of this daily swim in the cesspool of sex-and-power revelations, there is Christmas. The manger. The Baby.
And one of a thousand reasons I love and follow this Jesus. Because the most powerful Man who ever lived used it only to help, to heal, to save. Leaving behind, not a trail of wounded, exploited people, but powerless people lifted to full humanity. Lepers. Beggars. Children. People kicked out of the "church." Women.
Behind that silent night in Bethlehem was a stunning divine transaction. "Though He was God...He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being...He humbled Himself...and died a criminal's death on a cross" (Philippians 2:6-8). In His own words, Jesus explained that He "came not to be served, but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45).
King of kings, the Bible calls Him. Lord of Lords. Prince of glory. Son of God. Birthed in a stable. Giving, never taking. Hanging on a cross to bring rebels against Him home.
In the midst of the crud, there is Christmas. And the hope of a new beginning. Something pure. Something more powerful than the darkness. His name is Jesus. "His life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it" (John 1:4-5).
For 2,000 years, "wise men" have ended their search at the feet of Jesus. We came with the chains of our own personal darkness. And left forever free.