IMPORTANT WARNING-this is NOT about recruiting new followers or converting anyone through some type of literary osmosis. This is, quite simply, about some observations that some colleagues, friends and I have wondered about for quite sometime now those being “how have we become such a lost and empty society? Truly a ‘me’ first and ‘screw you’ mentality prevails.What has happened to us over the last 50 years or so?
It’s true that there are some wonderful, kind, generous, caring people who live on the planet. But by and large we have become a society that is dominated by hedonistic principles and we haven’t responded well to the shift. We find ourselves living in a world that is selfish, troubled, violent and patently unhealthy. So what’s changed we asked?
We decided that when such a dramatic shift in life styles, belief systems, morals and values occurs it is usually down to two reasons:
1. As a society of human beings, we have stopped doing things and supporting ideas that helped to promote a more communal way of life.
2. We started to do things, see things and hear things that encouraged us to distance ourselves from those beliefs that promoted a more caring, friendly and nurturing way of life.
We began considering the level of trust and respect that has been or not been earned by our civil servants, the legal and court systems which are inconsistent, at best, and do not provide us with a sense of justice. We could group other social systems in here as well. People are feeling alone and isolated because, in many instances, they are. All of our support systems received a failing grade with regards to serving the public interest. Few have any faith in their mandate and they are angry and frustrated because there doesn’t seem to be any recourse. Recent data suggests the incidence of petty crimes is down but the incidence of violent crimes is climbing very quickly. Parents, who in a very general sense, have stopped being parents. As a result ‘the inmates are now running the institution’ and they are not even close to knowing how to do that nor do they seem to care. They are lacking leadership.
But the biggest drop in public trust coupled with the inability to demonstrate a public persona of social stability is the church at a time when we need them more than ever it seems. The clergy have not handled their own internal issues well and have not adapted well to public need. The ramifications of this are these:
1. There is deterioration of the tenets of Christian life among young people today. They still have their beliefs but don’t feel the need to attend church anymore-they can’t trust the system. Go past most beer store parking lots on a Sunday morning and there will be more cars there than in the church parking lot.
2. Societies are judged as successful or not by how they care for their indigent-successful societies share their wealth and don’t hold their wealth hostage. We isolate our indigent and we still marginalize them in many cases. Another failing grade here.
3. Important family messages aren’t discussed or taught now. In many cases leadership is sorely lacking.
We summed up like this:
1. There is a spiritual hunger that exists in the world today. There is a longing to feel connected (which churches provided back in the day) and to feel valued–a part of something bigger and greater. But we have tossed ‘GOD’ out of our schools, homes, government offices and many of our very lives. Co-incidental with what is happening all around us? Many are beginning to think not. One of the things that used to hold things together when things got crazy was the village church. First world countries seem to suffer this ‘hunger’ more intensely than 3rd world countries? Could it be because 3rd world countries still have a strong church based community in play? Many of our local community churches are closing their doors. Just askin’.
2. People, and this especially includes our children, are looking to fill this void in their lives but are finding that no matter how much stuff they collect or what they use to try to fill it up–cars, fancy houses many can’t afford, food, sex, gambling, shopping for things most don’t need, alcohol, drugs of all kinds and now an addiction to violence, nothing has worked. We have become angry because we need something to heal this social cancer that prevails but find ourselves no closer. People are becoming fearful of a future out of control.
We concluded our conversation with 2 questions:
1. If there is no GOD why then do people get angry with him? Why do they pray to a GOD that doesn’t exist whenever they need a miracle?
2. If we began to do some of the things that seemed to work before could we get back to a similar way of life–one that used to create a sense of belonging and purpose amongst us? What if we actually put the best interest of others ahead of ourselves–would that make a difference in terms of how we lived a life as a community?? Would that begin to satisfy that ‘spiritual hunger’ that ravishes us today?
Anyways, That’s how I see it–all the best–Jim
Comments are welcome–connect with me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and check out my web site jimcloughley.com for other articles