I've spent much of this summer working on the Summer Fiction Series. I'm not sure how popular that option was. Even the managing editor shared concerns that it was not as good as the usual commentary that I share here. But I had fun with it.
But now I would like to get back to the normal swing of things and share some thoughts. In fact, the point of the fiction was to serve as some sort of parable to help illustrate some of the concerns I have right now.
We've found ourselves in tumultuous times. We've got new wars brewing while our kids are still returning from the old ones in boxes. We have the incarnation of evil, killing people in houses of worship and even on live TV. We have people standing against gay marriage only to find out that they are far from the ideal in matrimony. The percentage of kids being born or raised outside of in-tact families is still obscenely high. And now we are hearing that Planned Parenthood is parting out unwanted children as if they were wrecked cars. The federal government, who can't seem to even pay their own bills, is trying to micromanage public education and failing miserably. The more they intervene, the worse things get.
My son even came home the other day and told us one of his teachers complained about him calling her "ma'am". We, of course, informed him that he was to address her as such, regardless of her reservations. We have to show respect in society if it is going to survive.
And this is the world in which we are trying to raise responsible, well-adjusted children that will inherit and carry on our civilization.
In the tale, Uriah saw an assault on his society, his way of life. It was the same assault that his grandfather had faced off against in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania some 60 years ago. Times had changed and taken some of the issues with them. But the underlying issue of an individual, local, agrarian system vs. a corporate, centralized machine. In order to win this fight, he had to decide what was essential to the survival of his society and what had to be jettisoned.
That is where we find ourselves today.
In that pursuit, it is now imperative that we look at our world and determine what we have to keep and what we have to jettison. The goal has to be the preservation of this society and even getting back to some of the more civilized ways that kept our world stable before. And when it comes to preservation of society, the world has always looked to the conservative within civilization. But I'm afraid that they've lost their way, dropped their compass, forgotten who they are. Consider this:
I could go on, as there are at least 1000 more instances I could mention. But we live in a world that is becoming increasingly vulgar, informal and, as a result, more chaotic. Because a casual, poorly educated, poorly disciplined populace that cannot respect itself has no way to muster the respect for a society that is needed to keep the entire thing from crumbling in on itself. Which is where we find ourselves today.
Time-honored traditions are there for a reason. They aren't just window dressing. They are the mortar that holds the bricks of civilization together. Polished shoes, singing a psalm on Sunday, adhering to appropriate dress in public, even a simple "yes ma'am" may seem like insignificant or even outdated gestures but they go counter to the onslaught on our way of life that has been raging since the 1960s - the very onslaught that has brought us to the days when a coward can kill two innocent people on live TV. It's the same onslaught that has brought us to the days when TV journalists can say such cowardly acts are justified. We won't even discuss award shows. Any award shows. Not one.
I'm not writing this as a doomsday of God's judgement. I don't think we are falling into the avenging hand of the God of the Old Testament. I believe it is much more a cause and effect situation. Because we have no orthodoxy - no orthodoxy in the church, no orthodoxy in the statehouse, no orthodoxy in the courthouse, no orthodoxy in the schoolhouse, no orthodoxy in the clubhouse, no orthodoxy in any area of our lives, our society is falling apart. We have reached the point that there is no standard, everything is relative. Everything is based on our inner compass of right and wrong and there is no outer authority to set the bar for our we as people or a society should behave.
And many fellow conservatives, especially Southerners, would point out tat God himself is that outside source of authority. But in the same breath they are unwilling to address the issues of the lack of orthodoxy in our churches. Their behavior is indicative of what I remember from college, when I swore off my faith, lest my choices caused a foul light to be cast on my savior. Are we really ready to dig into the scripture and the history of the Church to find out where all we're missing the boat? Are we willing to live the life that is expected of the people we profess to be?
I'm being heavy handed on my fellow conservatives. That's because We are who I blame for the shape this nation is in. We aren't offering a bad alternative to liberalism. We're offering no alternative to liberalism. We've watered down our lives spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and socially. We haven't maintained high expectations for ourselves. We've made mentors of clowns and charlatans while the books filled with knowledge handed down from the fathers of our political thought have gathered dust. We've voted for "electable" candidates, even when we knew they weren't conservative. We've been quiet while Republicans have usurped our rights, because they weren't Democrats.
If you really want to save this nation, read a book. Read a book that's older than you. If you need ideas, Find me on Goodreads. Between me and my excellent friends, you'll find some suggestions on things to read. Demand more of yourself, your church, your school, your social organization. Demand more out of me. Demand more, period.
I'm finished rambling for now. But I'll be back.
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Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire