Thursday, March 1, 2012

Can We Restore America ?

The other day, I was listening to a radio commentator and pundit who went on a 30-minute rampage about what is wrong with America. I’m not going to name names because so many on the radio today basically are proclaiming the same message. This individual talked about the decline of America. He proclaimed a message of gloom and doom which included America’s military and economic collapse. It was relentless and ongoing.

Then he got around to the subject of America’s moral collapse. Here’s where things got interesting. He piggy-backed on the recent controversy surrounding comments made by presidential hopeful Rick Santorum concerning his criticism of John F. Kennedy’s remarks about the separation of church and state. Santorum had commented that the words of John F. Kennedy made him want to throw up. The commentator was making a point that human secularists have taken over the government and are in the process of dismantling traditional Judea-Christian values within our society.

I would agree that there is an element of truth in this statement. But the man on the radio doesn’t have the complete story. Does anyone really want the government telling us how we can worship and what God we can serve? I’m of the mindset that we do need a clear and distinct separation between the power of the State and the right to worship as we please. It is beneficial for all of us, Christians, people of other faiths, human secularists, agnostics, and atheists to have the right to believe what we want. As a Christian, I believe God has given us all free will, and we must decide to serve Him or to serve something other than God. We cannot impose our beliefs, values, and faith on people that do not agree with us. It is not the government’s job to endorse or interfere with faith and religion.

I almost get the feeling that so many of the people who speak so loudly on the radio today do not understand the true principles of faith and Christianity. Let me put it this way. Morality cannot be legislated or achieved through the ballet box. Restoring America will not take place at the ballet box either. It doesn’t matter whether Democrats, Republicans, Conservatives or Liberals are in power. The only way I know to restore America is through a spiritual renewal. That renewal must first take place with the people of God and the people of faith. We must reflect the attributes and the very nature of Christ. Unfortunately, like so many of today’s personalities on the radio who seem to be dabbling in Christianity, the Church in general seems to reflect more of today’s modern media culture mentality.

There were a lot of things that the radio host and pundit didn’t talk about. In fact, I seldom hear these things mentioned or discussed. But the key to restoring America lies in understanding some key principles. It’s by no means a complete list; nevertheless, it is a good starting point. Here’s what I think is wrong with the way things are today. Our lives can be defined as a life lived in the marketplace. And I’m talking both figuratively and literally. We live in the marketplace whether we are behind the counter trying to sell something or whether we are in front of the counter buying something. We spend our time either thinking about how to get money, making money, wishing we had more money, or spending money.

We cannot escape the marketplace. There is no refuge. It is constantly with us everywhere we go. Just look at our technology. We are now capable of buying and selling whenever we so desire. I understand money is essential in our economy. That’s nothing new. But something fundamental has changed today. We have taken the marketplace concept to a whole new level unlike anything in the history of man. Even Jesus understood how much we thought about money. Eleven of his 39 parables dealt with the issue of money and stewardship. It was a big deal 2,000 years ago, and it’s become an absolute obsession with our culture today. Some people have said that we have been traditionally a Christian nation. I would argue that we are more like a nation of money worshipers.

Maybe that explains a simple Biblical principle that the love of money is the root of all evil. The very way we do business has become unhealthy to say the least. We used to believe that if we could make a reasonable profit which meet our needs we were doing well. The rule of thumb today is to make as much money as possible, why because there is never enough to satisfy us. If we can make a 20% profit, then why not make a 30% profit. And if we have to ship jobs overseas (cheaper labor and more profit for us), it’s the price we pay (even though that means taking jobs away from America). After all, making money is the first principle that must be served regardless of the circumstances or consequences.

The marketplace mentality has created an environment where making money is not only our right but it’s become our responsibility and duty. I hear very few people commentating about the obsession with money in marketplace principles and how this has fundamentally reshaped our nation and society. And if you want to talk about moral decline, I guarantee you it is tied to the love of money.

We must find some space away from the marketplace. If you want to restore America, everything cannot revolve around the pursuit of money. As the Bible says, you cannot serve two masters. So who is our God? Is it money or is it the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?

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