As a pastor in rural America, my heart is saddened by the signs of decay in our culture today. I'm not talking about politics, though politicians show the signs. I'm not talking about mere morals, though our morals show the signs. I'm not talking about religion, though churches show the signs. I'm not talking about finances, though the marketplace shows the signs. That's why I'm talking about culture. The decay is seen in every sector of our society. Nearly everyone sees it that I've encountered - from talking heads and media pundits to politicians and pastors (and everyone in between). And everyone is trying to offer some hope of stopping this decay. Yet, even in most solutions offered, I see further signs of decay.
"What do I mean by that?" you might ask. I'm glad you did.
I'll try to put it simply - but oversimplification is the danger here. What I mean is that the solutions offered by many are oversimplified and do not address the root of the problem. And it is the root of the problem which causes the decay of our society.
For any culture to survive, it must have norms. Our culture has two sides fighting to become the norm. When one side starts gaining the advantage, the other side fights back. Recently, those fighting back have begun to grow violent. A major upheaval is bubbling up. The last time the USA faced that, we had a civil war. (What a term, "civil war" - how can war be civil?) We lost more Americans in that war than in any before or since. Everyone who died was an American - both sides.
But let me ask, "Are we prepared to face that again?"
When that war concluded, there was a period of "Reconstruction." America became a very different nation. Our values changed. Our society changed. Yes, our culture changed. Gone was the American culture that existed before the war. Both north and south segments of society were different after the war. A great American Awakening or Revival took place afterward. The atrocities of the war scarred the American conscience for about 100 years.
But as that 100 years passed, there arose another uprising leading to culture changes that are, as yet, incomplete. The 1960's ushered in the sexual revolution which has brought us to a strange place today. We, as Americans, are now nearly completely divided and we've grown quite uncivil again - fighting amongst ourselves. We are growing less and less dependent upon Christian values and have turned to individual autonomy as the cultural norm. Laws are laid aside. Those who seek to enforce them have become the object of great animus, hate, and violence. Racism and false accusations are now used as a "billy-club" to silence opponents. Our very Constitutional form of Government is under attack. Can we survive? Will we see another "civil war"? I promise, it will NOT be very civil if we do.
This is why I fear for our nation. I fear for my neighbors, friends, and even family. I fear for loss of life. I fear for loss of eternal life. As a Bible-believer (which I was long before I started preaching so many years ago - and will be even after I no longer am able to preach), I humbly ask everyone in America to consider the eternal side of this culture war we are in.
Let me ask you some questions:
- Are you prepared to give your life for your country but lose your soul because you wouldn't accept Jesus Christ?
- Are you prepared to take the gamble that your unbelief is correct and the Bible is wrong?
- Are you prepared to take the life of another for your personal preference of government - and answer to the living God? (If you don't believe in God, re-read question #2.)
- Do these questions even affect you and your position on reality, civility, or conscience with regards to how you treat your fellow man?
You don't owe me an answer to these questions. You owe it to yourself. Every single American needs to answer these questions honestly. There are other questions to be sure, but these four are a great start. My final question is this: What will your demand for victory cost the nation? This culture?
After all, what will be left when the "civil war" is over? History shows that we won't have the same culture anymore. The culture is decaying, and something will fill the void. Of that, you may be sure.