Thursday, November 4, 2010

How’d We Get from There to Here?

Do you remember hula-hoops, Howdy Doody and Dippity-Do hair gel?

A recent e-mail awakened nostalgic memories: Waiting for the TV to warm up; milk and bread delivered to your home; the thrill of a 25-cent allowance; having your car filled up, oil checked, windshield cleaned and tires aired up, all for free at the gas station; the Lone Ranger.

I was reminded in the 1950s and ‘60s, school “weapons” consisted of peashooters, spitballs and slingshots. (In high school, once I saw someone display a switchblade but there was no threat of violence.)

A summons to the principal’s office for misbehavior was nothing – what we really worried about was our parents’ discipline when we got home. Food and medicines we bought didn’t require safety caps or hermetic seals; no one dreamed of poisoning a complete stranger.

Interesting, isn’t it? Despite huge strides in medicine, science and technology, human nature seems to have backslidden over the years. How did we get from there to here?

This complex question defies simple answers. We could blame taking prayer out of schools – “forcing God out of education,” but I doubt legislation or human whim intimidates the omnipotent God. We have, however, seen a slow drift from God-consciousness and, dare I say it, the fear of Him.

Materialism and American prosperity have shifted reliance from God to our own strength and initiative. Academia, media and government have helped erode sacred sensitivities in America – but like boiling the proverbial frog in the kettle, with deceptive slowness.

I think even churches share some of the blame, stressing God’s love - as if to make Him more palatable to the masses - while downplaying His justice and righteous judgment. As a result many people are content, as Judges 21:25 states, to do “what is right in their own eyes,” without regard to consequences. Proverbs 29:18 tells us, “Where there is no revelation (of God), the people cast off restraint.”

Some people today feel confident recent elections will help “restore America.” I’m afraid they’ll be disappointed. The Bible declares this singular “recipe for change”:

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). As followers of Jesus, it starts with us.

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