You know that feeling after you’ve read a really great book? The one that makes you want to tell everyone to read it, too? Sometimes you buy it for others, and pass it along. You want everyone to absorb the content and take as much away from it as you did. Well, that’s how I feel about the band for King & Country, and it’s for more than just their unique talent.
Joel and Luke Smallbone aren’t just a couple of brothers whose music is topping the charts; they are men whose morals and convictions lead them to influence the culture with an encouraging message. In a society that panders to those who sell out for their shot at the big leagues, these men are becoming successful while espousing a truth that women and men in this generation desperately need.
Through their “Penny Culture” campaign, Joel and Luke are addressing the modern worldview head on by posing a question: “Can you put a dollar amount on your worth?” Of course not, because you’re “priceless,” right? And yet, “actions speak louder than words.” And if we say we’re priceless, but live according to the dictates of a culture saturated with promiscuous, brazen, and indifferent people, we wind up selling our priceless selves for little more than a penny.
We see it every day. From movies to billboards, the reoccurring theme is the same: sex, and not sex that costs you something, like a lifetime commitment. We’re talking about plain, old, gratuitous, “I didn’t even ask her what her name was” sex.
We live in a world that encourages women to “liberate” themselves, but our view of “liberation” is skewed. Cultural feminism defines the “problem” in terms of men who want to oppress women by lowering their self-worth — getting the price as cheap as they can. But instead of empowering women to demand the highest price (love, lifelong commitment, respect, honor, etc.), the culture surrounds them with hypersexualized imagery and tells them that the road to empowerment lies in selling themselves short. In other words, it’s like buying filet mignon at ground beef prices while convincing the beef that it was empowered to set the price.
Wearing a penny on a necklace, Joel and Luke reject the culture’s view of women. “How about we start a revolution of people that treat the opposite sex with respect & honor?” they ask. They remind the teens and college folk who attend their concerts that every man and woman is priceless, regardless of the low price the culture would lay on them.
And I think that’s refreshing. I’ve grown up in this “Penny Culture,” and it’s easy to fall prey to the lifestyle it produces. Those with graceful, sophisticated, old-fashion values — the real class acts of our generation — are hard to find, while the “progressive modernizers” of our society are frighteningly front and center, clawing their way to the top in order to be the ill-fitted role models for our youth.
The world wants you to settle — to sell yourself for infinitely less than you’re worth. Think about it long and hard. There has to be more. You’re worth more, aren’t you? (If you just read this and said, “No,” then think again. That’s the culture talking.)
We need more men like Joel and Luke, real men who will take a stand against the Penny Culture and loudly proclaim that the lifestyle it pushes is wrong, and that you — yes, you — are worth more than a mere penny. Joel says, “At every fK&C performance, we take a moment to pass on our position regarding a woman’s incredible worth — as well as call out us men! It’s time for us to step up and stand out, and treat you ladies as you deserve to be treated. Chivalry is not dead!”
Here, here! Chivalry certainly isn’t dead! Ladies, the men you read about in books — the ones who will fight for you because you’re worth fighting for — exist! Don’t give up, and don’t settle for less than you’re worth.
“If we could leave you ladies with one thought,” said Joel, “it’d be this: Don’t let any man disrespect you in relationships. So often society suggests for women to talk, dress, and act like you’re worth nothing more than a penny, but it’s our belief that there’s a God who says you’re priceless!”
Well said, Joel.
Joel Smallbone on the Penny Culture