There is little doubt that America is riding the wave. She is at the peak of her power and at the top of her game. Trying to get her attention would be a lot like trying to stop a train with a handkerchief. Every similarity to previous world powers notwithstanding our collective national behavior is so close to ancient Rome that all that is missing is the togas. The land of the mighty Caesars made a noise heard round the world for a season then died alone in a protracted whimpering that went largely unnoticed as the world entered the modern era. What can we learn from this? Leaving this question unanswered might normally imply that the answer is understood, however, it is apparent that for Americans nothing at all is understood.
The dangers are ignored, the warnings go unheeded, and the party goes on. Contrasts of our lifestyle and that of other nations make us all the more pompous and less willing to question our own indulgence. We have been all to willing to conclude that there must be something wrong with those guys over there. The prophet, bard and poet must now curb their urgency and put out a more entertaining message in keeping with the tone of the party spirit. We are only one step away from jailing, hurting or killing the messengers who provide us with a call to conscience. Or have we already taken our first few baby steps in that direction.
Like a mangy little dog scampering behind us and nipping at our heals comes the ACLU standing up for the rights of Gays and Lesbians while beating down manger scenes at Christmas and Ten Commandment plaques in public buildings. It makes me wonder if even common heroism has fallen victim to perversion. Are these acts heroic, are they really protecting our freedoms?
In Pennsylvania a law was recently rammed through the legislature that makes it illegal for a minister of the gospel to quote passages of the Bible from the pulpit that cite homosexual behavior as a sin. That law has been challenged by people with a bit of common sense still left to them in that state.
In Iraq and Afghanistan we are kept from entering and searching mosques that are known centers for Islamic jihad groups or where weapons are stockpiled and cached. They are considered cultural centers and thus are placed off limits. Contrast this to the latest effort to keep military chaplains from praying in the name of Jesus Christ with those who they are sheparding. Chaplains are guarding the spiritual welfare of our own soldier citizens, is that any less important than the cultural traditions of foreigners?
On a recent ride through a rural district of Arkansas I noticed that there was a church building about every one and a half miles on the road I was on. There were Pentecostal, Full Gospel, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Nazarene, Catholic and some unheard of varieties of churches stretched out in profusion for well over two hundred miles. As I drove I was thinking of an old adage spoken by one of our most well known missionary pioneers who said…”why should anyone hear the gospel twice when there are so many people in the world who have not even heard it once” I wondered if this profusion of churches laid out to us like a grand spiritual buffet is just taken for granted. No, I’m sure that it is.
After retuning home I saw a picture on the internet that I couldn’t help but contrast to the highway of churches I had just encountered. On a news site online was a picture of three Indonesian policemen standing behind three seated women they were guarding. The policemen were in full dress complete with strapped gun holsters, uniforms with arrays of badges and medals and a stern look of duty etched across each sullen face. In front of them were seated three average looking Indonesian women garbed in light blue prison jumpers. Three middle aged elementary school teachers who had just been sentenced to three years each for teaching their young students about Jesus Christ in their predominantly Muslim school sat stunned as sentence was pronounced. Save that Mosque but waste the lives of three harmless but dedicated educators, now that’s good thinking.
So over here it may not seem so bad…yet. Hollywood would have to make stumbling wimpy idiots of most gospel ministers; it goes with the territory and may seem even a bit tolerable after all. If you’re going to pump out a secular world view full of profanity and degenerate living you don’t want gospel preaching ministers to be taken too seriously. It would be too hard to sell a product if the naysayer’s were allowed a soap box from which to stand and proclaim that the product was trash within the very medium the product was sold through.
Should a dedicated Christian happen to slip through the cracks with the gospel on their lips and a life to back it up, they too would be relegated to the class of the disdained. It seems acceptable to make fun of the born againers and bible thumpers in media and in society in general. No one cares if you strip half naked, paint your face and act like a frenzied baboon on a psychedelic drug at a football game…those are fans are they not? But those who get even nominally excited about God are always labeled…fanatics. It is unlikely that Americans notice such double standards, since we are so bent on disregarding any standards at all.
We have gone from a state of utter dependence on God as we did during our pioneer days and then on to seeking the presence of God in our formative years as a nation. But now we are entering that place where we don’t even like to retain the knowledge of God at all in our thinking or living. What will be the result of all this and what can we expect next? I will let the Bible answer that.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Romans 1:28