What the World Needs Now

earth-from-space-western.jpgWhy did the Roman Empire Fall? For many years I believed the answer to this question was universally agreed upon. According to Edward Gibbon, a man who is known in some circles as the first modern historian, the empire was conquered by barbarian invaders because of a loss of civic virtue amongst the general citizenry. This broad, umbrella statement probably covers the truth. So, I’ll not argue the point.

There is, however, good reason to point out that, according to one source, there have been more than 200 theories advanced in an attempt to explain the fall of the Roman Empire. A cursory reading of the history causes me to believe that Gibbon’s view as articulated in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is, for the most part, the best assessment. Still, the fact that so many different ideas about the empire’s fall have circulated in my view underscores the complexity of discussions of this nature.

While my main mission in life is not the preservation of the American way of life, I am grateful for the nation of my birth. I am also concerned about the course our nation is on, since it is likely to be the place where my children and my children’s children will reside during their earthly sojourn. I’m concerned for the direction our nation is taking, because I do believe that we have a rich spiritual heritage that is under attack from without. Yet, my concerns do not rise, primarily, from this reality. My concerns emanate from what appears to be a generalized erosion of the morals and values upon which our nation was founded and upon which it has been able to weather many storms.

While there is much to be said regarding each of the points of observation that follow, I’ll reserve comment for now. Perhaps I’ll come back to these and elaborate on them in the future. But, my reason from bringing them up is to inquire as to whether readers:

— Agree or disagree that there is a loss of civic virtue amongst the citizenry of the U.S.A.

— Agree or disagree that the items I identify are below are an accurate assessment of the cultural climate in the U.S.A.

— Who agree with this premise have additional categories which they would add to this list.

Here are the five things I believe are strong indicators of cultural decline in America:

1. The DEVALUATION OF LIFE as exhibited in the number of abortions; the continued efforts to legalize physician assisted suicide; the glorification of violence in virtually every form of mass media; and the number of murders committed each year.

2. The DEIFICATION OF THE INDIVIDUAL as exhibited in concerted efforts on the parts of many to sanitized public expressions of faith in a Creator God and Sovereign Lord who has anything to say about how we conduct our daily lives.

3. The DETERIORATION SOCIAL MORES as exhibited in the constant reports of corporate and political corruption; the high numbers of property crimes, including theft of intellectual property; and the general decline of civility in the way people interact on a day-to-day basis.

4. The DECONSTRUCTION OF SOCIAL STRUCTURES as exhibited in the continued efforts to reshape our thinking marriage; family and sexuality, which necessitates the removal of “old” structures which “conflict” with the “new” structures and “confuse” emerging generations.

5. The DESENSITIZATION OF SOCIETY TO SUFFERING AND INJUSTICE as exhibited in an apparent willingness to overlook entire people groups and population centers that are in need as a result of mistreatment and/or abuse simply because we have seen so much of this that we are becoming convinced that nothing is ever going to change.

Well, you might not agree with my assessments, particularly the explications which follow each of these points. I’m really interested in knowing what you think, though. Don’t worry about hurting my feelings. If what you think steps on my toes, it’s probably because they need stepping on. My real desire in opening this conversation is to somehow touch the hearts of many so that we might help one another become part of the solution. In my view, we need a seed change in the collective thought of our nation. This, I believe, is essential so that might live peaceful and quiet lives, while being about our Father’s business of lovingly sharing God’s truth with those who need to learn of the spiritual healing power of His goodness and grace as exhibited in the life and teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ.

© Bill Williams, October 6, 2006

About a fellow sojourner

a sojourner in life, trying to follow in the steps of Jesus.
This entry was posted in Blogroll, Christian Living, Following Jesus, Kingdom Living, Missional Church, Missional Living, Preaching Notes, Spiritual Renewal. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to What the World Needs Now

  1. Mag says:

    I think you are right on: that’s what the book of Daniel says was King Nebuckednezzar’s downfall (and don’t even tell me if I misspelled that!).

    All of these you name were present in Babylon, to some degree. In the NT it talks about a downward spiral into degradation of one level of sin and selfishness to another if it’s allowed to go unreigned by godly repentance.

    King “Neb” was unwilling to learn –he only momentarily praised “the God of Daniel” yet, refused to repent, turn to Him, and worship Him as HIS God.

    Next scene…same thing.

    Next scene…his son fell…same traps: materialism, sensuality, self-centered, self-promoting, self-indulgent leadership, worshipping idols.

    Only people who have the resolve of Daniel…who show his kind of tactful, gracious, but direct leadership will make a difference. I am more and more convicted that the “quiet” Christianity I have enjoyed (for the most part) will not speak to our nation. What will? I’m not yet sure.

  2. Kathy says:

    As I’ve mentioned before, I’m in the middle of reading a very disturbing book, “The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised As Freedom ” by David Kupelian. His premise is that the destruction of this country’s moral core is not accidental, rather it was and is a direct result of carefully and malevolently planned marketing strategies.

    It’s just a bit too late for me to be more explicit and detailed in explaining this book. I’ll give it another shot tomorrow. Suffice tonight to give the name and general premise of this book. It’s a frightening world out there these days!!

    Only our LORD Jesus can save this very lost generation.

  3. Kathy says:

    A bit more rested so here’s the TOC to the above mentioned book:

    1. Marketing Bliz
    Selling “Gay Rights” in America
    2. Buying the Big Lie
    The Mythe of Church-State Separation
    3. Killer Culture
    Who’s Selling Sex and Rebellion to Your

    4. Multicultural Madness
    How Western Culture Was Turned Upside Down in One Generation
    5. Family Meltdown
    The Campaign to Destroy Marriage
    6. Obsessed With Sex
    How Fraudulent Science Unleashed a Catasptrophic “Revolution”
    7. Sabotaging Our Schools
    How Radicals Have Hijacked America’s Education System
    8. The Media Matrix
    How the Press Creates a World of Illusion We Think is Real
    9. Blood Confessions
    How lying Marketers sold America on Unrestricted Abortion
    10. Last, Best Hope
    The Fall and Rise of American Christianity

    I’m just starting the fourth chapter. I would have suggested to the author that he NOT begin with the very true presentation of selling “Gay Rights” but with another of his chapters. Too often those we’d hope would read through the book stop at the first chapter, labeling it “homophobic” which it is not. So, I’m really sorry neither he nor his publishers considered beginning the book elsewhere, presenting this chapter further into the book.

    The destruction of American value system and morals did not come by accident or ‘evolution’ – it has been a carefully strategized and planned marketing ploy, according to this author. Interesting book, to say the least.

    It leaves us with even more clarity and strength in our belief that only in Jesus is there any hope at all for our children and the world, our country being part of that world.

  4. Niki Nowell says:

    I would add to your list the Preoccupation of the church. (Sorry I couldnt’ think of a D word ;)) The church has been so inward focused on some levels whether it be for self-preservation or “weeding out the wheat”, I don’t know. The church has been outward focused in the sense that we live for the “us vs. them” mentality. We get so busy judging each other and judging the world that we have little time left for being the light we are called to be. When we finally get to the place where we are trying to be the light, we think it’s all about offering programs.

    The book Kathy mentioned sounds interesting and somewhat amusing. I sadly laugh at the whole “seperation of church and state” argument when we have our own “sepreation of church and church” going on.

    I also laugh at Chapter 7’s title “7. Sabotaging Our Schools- How Radicals Have Hijacked America’s Education System” Our educational system has been crap since the beginning of it’s inception. It has always been based on a caste system, which I despise. Maybe I am assuming the author is talking about the removal of the Bible, the addition of diversity and tolerance training (which somehow applies to everyone except Christians), and sexual education classes which include immoral teachings, etc. I guess I’ll look forward to hearing more about this from Kathy in the future. Let me know if it’s actually worth reading.

  5. Bill says:

    This is such a good conversation!

    “Thank You’s” go out to Niki, Kathy and Maggie for putting in your two cents worth. Though I must say, Niki, that I really wish you wouldn’t beat around the bush so much. Just tell us what you really think. 🙂

    In case some readers don’t know Niki and I have been on an incredible adventure over the past several months of learning that our paths have probably crossed about a jillion times, though we’ve never actually met. She’s a very special person, with a wonderful heart. I encourage you all to get to know her better by visiting her blog.

    I’m still wrestling with my follow-up post to this. I’m thinking in three categories. These are:

    1) I believe these items are strong indicators of cultural decline in America;
    2) I understand that the kingdom of Christ is spiritual in nature, rather than a political action committee; and
    3) I believe that one facet of kingdom living is addressing the moral conditions of this or any nation in which we reside.

    What do you think?

  6. Dee Andrews says:

    Wow! I finally get back around to reading blogs and what a swarm of bees you’ve stirred up, Bill. Talk about raising questions and issues that would (could) take us the rest of our collective lives to discuss without (maybe) ever reaching any conclusions as to all of the ramifications involved.

    I don’t know where to begin even as to what I believe. But here is my focus in life as a Christian in my later years (nearly ended last week, of course, with the severe altitude sickness, etc, but fortunately – well, I think, anyway – I’m still here kicking around for a little while longer, anyway).

    Our interim young minister gave a great lesson this morning from Rev. 2:8-11 addressed to the angel of the church of Smryna. (How many of you have ever thought of that fact, first of all? That each church has an angel? Or do you think they all do?) Anyway – Smryna was the only church God praised and offered no condemnation to in any way.

    Our minister started his lesson by saying that “life as a Christian is good and then we go to Heaven.” And it’s true, you know? The thing about the church at Smryna was that Smryna was the center of the imperial cult of Rome. The Lord tells Christians there they area in a great minority, they are materially very poor, they will face terrible, horrible persecutions, but if and when they prevailed they would not face a second death (assuming they would be killed for Christ’s sake).

    Yet the Lord told them they were rich and not to be afraid. To be bold in their faith and to proclaim Christ through all and in all.

    What does all of this have to do with your questions and y’all’s concerns? Everything, I think, because when we suffer and when we are persecuted, which I think some Christians have been in churches even in this great country of ours, and when our lives are being assaulted, our families’ lives are being attacked, God is with us if we will hold fast and with His help WE WILL PREVAIL.

    There are many evil things going on all around us in this country and in this world, but then there always have been and will be. This world is NOT our home, nor should we become to comfortable here.

    It is up to each and every one of us, as individuals, as husbands, as wives, as parents, grandparents, neighbors, patriots, soldiers, politicians – wherever God leads us to be and whatever we do for Him – to live and proclaim Jesus Christ and make an individual difference in the lives of everyone around us we meet in all situations. WE must teach our children. WE must vote and participate as we can in politics, in schools, in churches, in towns, etc.

    As we suffer, we glory. As we are persecuted, we are blessed. As we perseverence, we triumph. God watches carefully over and seeks out each who is lost, each little sheep that goes astray and we who are stronger must go look out for them, too. Be good Samaritans to those who are victims, be good – be God’s good people in all actions.

    I was blessed last week to be in a Catholic hospital in Durango, Colorado where I met the most wonderful people you can imagine. We were in a small community in this country, strangers in the midst of adversity among a community of people who held us in high regard. EVERYONE we came in contact with in every way treated us well and were good to us.

    There IS much good in this country. There are millions of upright, Godly people in our land. Many live in small communities and cities.

    As for the rest. Yes, absolutely it is there, it is real. One thing no one has mentioned, that I believe has been a great contributor to the sad state of thing in this country in many ways, including all of those that have been mentioned by your all, is that our society has become urbanized and impersonal.

    You do not find nearly so much, very little actually, of these things in small communities and in rural and semi-rural areas. Such as with the Amish, except on rare occasion, as in last week, as well.

    But for the most part, you do not and I believe it is because people – individuals – know they are and must be accountable to their neighbors and their friends and their colleagues and their families. COMMUNITY should be much more highly regarded than it is. A sense of community in all things would spare a lot of heartache and sinful actitivies in politics, sexual matters, family matters, business matters, on and on.

    I am optimistic because I KNOW who my Father is and who is in control of all and that He will not let me – or any of us – down or fail us. When we are weak, He is strong. When the world around us falters and fails, He will be there to make things right for us. When we are personally attacked and persecuted – and I have been in the past even by members of the church I was part of – He will draw us close and keep us safe through all, raising us up victorious in the end.

    Sorry for such a long rambling. I’m back, what can I say. I have a lot on my heart and time is short.

    I hope I’ve answered some of your questions as to what I believe and think! I look forward to hearing what your take on things is. Think about Smryna as you collect your thoughts. Those Christians who were among the most persecuted by the Roman emperors and rulers who God called blessed. Then think about this country and where it may or may not be, but what our relationship is to it and where we are headed. And take courage.

    Above all, take courage.

    Cheers & Blessings! Dee

  7. Greg England says:

    Excellent, Bill. We have been a blessed natiton that has pretty much thumbed its nose to the One who has blessed us. If God’s elect nation of Israel was allowed to cease to function as a nation, no doubt this nation is in serious trouble. Not that I believe we are God’s elect. I don’t. But God blessed us in our faithfulness. And we are cursed in our rebellious, ungodly narcissism.

  8. Niki Nowell says:

    Thanks Bill! 😉 I wasn’t blessed with the “mincing words gene”. haha It’s not my intention to offend anyone.

    I loved Dee’s comment – lots of wonderful advice and stuff to think about and let sink in. Thanks Dee.

    Bill – yes all of these things contributed to our cultural decline. I admire you trying to identify the causes, for without knowing that – solutions would be near impossible to find. Not that I know what those are exactly. The question is how do we address the moral conditions and what good will that do? Haven’t we been addressing those conditions all along as they have been declining? Or maybe we haven’t? What are we missing?

  9. Paul says:

    Well this is 2010 and I am just reading your thoughts from 2006. Well they are right to the day. We have come to what the fall of Rome was. Just wqnted to let you know you were right. Paul

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