Monday, February 6, 2012

Let us First Love Him – Part 6 in the Twelve-step Program to American Recovery

Before we go any further with this, let’s take stock – how are we doing? Is there really anything wrong with America? Consider this….
 “There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God... “
(I Timothy2: 1-4).

Now, in technical, theological terms “the last days” refers to the Tribulation, the last 7 years of the Age of Israel leading up to the Second Coming of Christ. We’re not there yet – though we can hear the rapids approaching.

But granting that, we can apply this scripture as a measuring stick for our culture today --
  • “Lovers of themselves?”  Are we?  Self-esteem is the one curriculum our public schools are teaching really well; this generation hasn’t been labeled the Me generation for nothing.

  • “Lovers of money?” Check – We’re witnessing people selling out their country’s freedom and sovereignty for paper pretending to be money. We’ve seen our government back business so far into a corner that it’s chosen to climb in bed with that greedy government – a sort of Stockholm syndrome – siding with its abductor. And our poor, the richest poor in the world, are as greedy – and as dependent on the government -- as are many big corporations.

  • “Boastful? Proud?” No. Really? In December on 60 Minutes our president compared himself favorably with FDR, Johnson, and Lincoln! While he was running for the office he declared, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for!” a rather messianic line, if you ask me, and not even original, at that. And, I just saw a Youtube video of a young man in a Washington state high school asking his schoolmates common-knowledge questions – Who is the vice president? How many stars on the flag? Name the countries that border the U.S.   The ignorance was profound, but they all seemed proud of not knowing. Heaven help us. One student thought the vice president was Bin Laden. Yikes.

  • “Abusive?” Oh dear, Check. Child abuse and spousal abuse are rampant. We rescue abused children from their abusive families only to put them in abusive foster homes. Then we send them to chaotic schools where they will be abused yet again. I once worked with a girl whose father agreed to get her braces for her very crooked teeth if she’d pimp for him – get her friends to sleep with him.  I worked with one young man whose adoptive parents had obtained him as a birthday present for his older brother. He was a slave to that brother; he had no room of his own and had to sleep on the couch. I could go on – but I’ll spare you.

  • “Disobedient? Ungrateful?” Check. I’ve worked with thousands of young people and the vast majority of them are decent, caring people, capable of gratitude, and obedient in that they really didn’t want to do anything out of line in the first place.  But the recalcitrant group is growing. During my last few years in a public school, assigning homework was a joke – only about a third of each class would bother to do it, and any gratitude for the free education placed in front of them was, at best, well hidden.

  • “Unholy?” Oh my goodness – We’re taking crosses, and mention of Christ out of our military chapels. We’re pulling down nativity scenes and Ten Commandment plaques, filling our schools with Darwinist propaganda and -- even worse -- we’re using abortion as a kind of pre-genocide. Did you know that 59.8% of black pregnancies in New York end in abortion? Yes. Check.

  • “Unforgiving? Slanderous?” Watch this election unfold. Every actual sin any candidate has ever dreamed of committing will be dragged out and strung up for universal hatred. When PAC’s run out of the real stuff, they’ll fill the air waves with fake stuff and we’ll all refuse to forgive the innocent party of the sins he didn’t commit. That’s a check, too, on both counts.

  • “Without self-control?” California is proposing the regulation of sugar to protect us from our inability to curb our own cravings. New York is regulating salt and fat in restaurant meals. You can measure the self-discipline of a nation by the weight of its government. Check.

  • “Brutal?” Have you seen the Youtube videos showing teenagers beating each other up? If we’re not doing the beating, we’re doing the watching. Check.

  • “Not lovers of the good?” Watched a gay pride parade? Know about NAMBLA?

  • “Treacherous?” Why no – we’ve elected the “most transparent” administration ever. We don’t know who Obama is. We know he’s connected in some way to George Soros, who specializes in taking down nations. We watch him lie daily and we watch the press dance happily around him as he does. No, no problem with treachery. 

  • “Rash?” Us? Road rage, anyone? Or how about your first dose of meth? Maybe a little domestic violence? Or a bad financial decision? OK. Yes – check.

  • “Conceited?” Well, there is the Narcissist-in-Chief – and we elected him. Fifty-four percent of American voters saw something in him that looked familiar and attractive – could it have been the conceit? A conversation with members of the intellectual elite provides a good look at arrogance at its nastiest – we Christian conservatives are “bitter clingers to our guns and our religion” – remember? And, we have to admit that an obnoxious number of Christians indulge in the holier-than-thou worldview. Check.

  • “Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God? “ I’m afraid so. It’s not that some play golf or go skiing on Sunday mornings. It’s not that we don’t end every sentence with “God willing.” We’ve given up on even knowing God, let alone loving Him.

As an English teacher for over 3 decades I witnessed an interesting decline in general religious knowledge. You wouldn’t think that would matter in a public school, but Western literature is saturated with Biblical references – Christ figures, allusions to parables and Old Testament stories. When I first started teaching in 1975, I could count on most of my class to get the Biblical allusions; by the time I retired in 2007, only 3 or 4 per class were able to do so.

Too many of our churches no longer teach anything but “social justice” and progressive dogma. God and His Word are mere mythology and not worth learning.

However, ours is a culture of pleasures. Our TV’s get bigger and better, our food tastier, our travel more luxurious. We relax in comfy clothing, enjoy eye-candy on our phones, and listen to music constantly. Sex is everywhere. Check.
And yet, look back at this list – are these the attributes of a happy people? No. Too many of us are discontented and do not know the God who made us, our country, and our world. Since our nation’s purpose was to allow for the free pursuit of happiness, how can we be good Americans if we are miserable? Pleasure isn’t getting us to happiness. In fact, we are not going to be truly joyous without a love of God. Let us go back to His “everlasting arms” so that these are not America’s “last days.”



  1. "Too many of us are discontented and do not know the God who made us, our country, and our world."

    I feel like I'm surrounded by people who "do not know." It's not fair to say that because how do I know that they "do not know," but I can't help the feeling. Living in a big city doesn't help.

    Dee, these posts are really good. Thanks!

  2. Hi Dee,

    Another thoughtful post. I can't help but see a common theme at the core of our American problem. And the root of it seems to be that in many ways America has become the land that hates truth. Now there are no doubt still enough people, and safeguards, and constitutional freedoms in place that this country has a chance - but not unless the issue of truth is swept to the forefront like a tornado plows through everything in its path.

    I see two overlapping philosophies that have en-mired the thinking of most people I know, including the Christians who have access to truth, including opportunity to understand divine establishment principles. These two philosophies have long been enemies of the truth, and are so deeply enmeshed in the culture and thinking and perception of this land, and have become so familiar, that most wouldn't know them from the air that they believe. I'm talking about the norm of the existential and the post modern. These two philosophies slyly cover each other and augment each other in nefarious ways.

    The existential ideal has made experience the norm for authority and replaced the concept of truth with my perception of what is true. I should be comfortable knowing that you have all of these ideals that you talk about - because they are yours. That is YOUR truth, but it isn't mine. It is at the root of so much of the multiculturalism that is now a norm & standard in the souls of Americans. When truth as a norm and standard of the soul is replaced by "my" truth or "your" truth - then the free reign of chaos can only ensue. It becomes more important to understand how I feel about issues, than to apply rigorous though to differentiate the false from the true. In fact there is no need for false and true, because "my" truth may not be "your" truth. Why can't we just disagree and get along - I might say from an existentially empowered perspective. I think you know the tune I'm playing here, and can funnel it into your own symphony of words .... To be frank, we hit the crisis point in the late 60's and early 70's and have never lost that then critical inertia in this country.

    Then there is the onslaught of the Postmodern, hitting critical inertia at the same time, which tells me that not only can I have my own truth, but that there is NO such thing as truth. There is no right or wrong, defined and undefined. All is blended. I can say I am from the political right, as a moderate, on any issue - and be within my postmodern prerogative to tell you so. What is "is"? As a postmodern I can't tell you. As with Francis Shaeffer, and his exposition in Escape from Reason, I believe that to communicate with the postmodern, one must be converted to the appropriate set of
    presuppositions, namely the law of non-contradiction (“A” cannot be “non-A”), first, in
    order to believe and experience the God of Christianity. The Bible is viewed as a
    propositional argument from God to His people, which can only be accepted by the
    correct presuppositional vantage point.

    As I have reasoned and conversed with many of my postmodern and existential friends on the issues of truth and life - I find that there is no real conversation without first addressing the assumptions. In that amazing boiling down of the philosophies and theology, the contesting for truth really starts and ends with epistemology and the epistemological assumptions.

    Truly the only answer for America is that epistemological rehabilitation that comes from accepting the assumptions and presuppositions of the Bible. As I am want to say - arrogance is not the enemy of humility, but the enemy of the truth; and the wise know that true humility is acceptance of revealed truth, above all.


    IPeter 1:13 Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

  3. I can imagine how isolating that must feel. It was much the same in the confines of a public school, though I'm sure that the sheer weight of the numbers in NYC must be stifling. I pray for you always. d

  4. David -- Wow -- I could not agree more. I've been beating this truth drum for years. It scares me silly. And I have exactly the same problems talking to my progressive friends. The problem is that if you give up truth, logic no longer exists. Yikes. Thanks for reading. d

  5. Dee

    I agree with Mike. These are really great posts.
    And Kudos to David, whoever you are. Excellent comment.

  6. Hey, thanks. And yes, isn't David great? He goes to our church -- he's one smart cookie. Thanks for reading. d

  7. As a gay man, I find the assertion that Gay Pride parades are a sign of 'end times' not just offensive, but dangerous. The fact that you lump us in with pedophiles is downright hurtful and homophobic. I have participated in Gay Pride events and consider myself a 'lover of the good.' Once a year we celebrate our continuing liberation from a culture and worldview that has historically demonized, oppressed, and ostracized us. We come together out of of a sense of community, solidarity, and love. Sometimes we hold hands Sometimes we hold up signs. Sometimes we even (*gasp*) take off our shirts. Gay Pride is about coming out to the world. It's about loving ourselves the way we were born. And yes, it's about having fun. To associate us with a group promoting child rape is not only disingenuous - it's immoral. It is this kind of thinking that still endangers gay people all around the world. It is this culture of hate and ignorance that still causes young gay people to have a higher suicide rate than their heterosexual counterparts. It is this point of view that Ugandan legislators are using to try to pass a bill that would make DEATH the punishment for gay sex. And it is this way of thinking that allows for - and excuses - the degradation, humiliation, and violence committed against gay people across the globe. If you are genuine in your hope for a better, more just, more peaceful, more loving world - a world that Jesus Christ would be happy to live in (and I believe you are), then I ask you to please think twice the next time you casually remark that gay people who march in parades are instigators of Armageddon and equate them with child rapists. Thanks you.

  8. Ian -- I know you must be thin-skinned on this issue, but you've misunderstood me. We all think things, say things, and do things that come short of the glory of God. All of us -- it's in our DNA, it's not something any of us, on our own can do anything about. What offends me about gay pride parades is the demand that we all for some reason agree that one set of imperfections is ok. That seems unreasonable and dangerous to me in that once we give up recognizing our imperfections as imperfections we are dealing with unreality -- a huge problem in our culture altogether. I don't see being gay as the same thing as pedophilia -- there you have victims. Huge distinction. But the one place there is a similarity is in the insistence that that behavior is not an imperfection. Back to unreality again. That's my point, Ian. It is unreasonable and untruthful for any one of us to deny the way God sees us -- it robs us of access to the very love of God that we need. I'm sorry we disagree; I always valued you as a student - you are a fine young man and I appreciate your willingness to discuss this with me. Write again. dc