I liked the sentiment of this sign until I realized it wasn’t about me. I suffer from the great disease that we have been infested with for generations and that is that “it” whatever “it” is always about us. We are hearing it again in Iowa. The people back home want politicians to go to Washington and get things done for them. The ruling class would be very upset if voters said “please go back to Washington and do nothing”but after listening to what passes for debates and the breathless nonsense uttered by some pundits, I have started to notice a fear that is creeping into the more thoughtful of the political class. When I say political class I mean the so called establishment on both sides of the aisle. Both sides have contributed in their own way to the secularization of society to the point where the government has replaced God. I am getting the sense that both sides are starting to fear what they hath wrought.
Jefferson once said that “any government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have”. The established class has always gotten along with Democrats giving away stuff and the Republicans saying they shouldn’t. Then the Republicans are accused of hating the old and the infirm and lame and halt and blind. Then the Republicans capitulate and do the same the Democrats do only slower. They have survived in an uneasy equilibrium with Republicans getting to the Presidency when the Democrats have screwed up foreign affairs to the point where people, even the ones who are getting all the freebies, start to get scared. They come into office, get some semblance of order in the world and then the Dems convince everyone that the military is getting too many of the goodies that they should be getting and the cycle starts again.
It has been a great run since the heady days of FDR. Musical chairs in the White House and nothing really changes. Reagan came close to making huge changes but even he came to realize that the real establishment is the Government bureaucrat and unionized employees. I get the sense that the folks that have become the permanent ruling class are afraid that people might actually be ready to lay back and let the government take care of them. The have forgotten the one thing that they keep touting as so needed and that is public education. They are finally getting the picture of what several generations of publically funding education has actually produced and they are worried. In fact I think they are terrified.
Generations that came from a secularized public education live in an era of numbing fear and enfeebled hope, their mood bordering very closely on despair, or on a hubris that defies comprehension. They have in many ways had their faith secularized out of them. They have come to believe that in the public realm all can be taken care of. They see their Christian faith, if they have any, being worked out by others in the political arena. When those able lights settle over their social hopes the great themes of history are boiled down to stop bullying, take care of women’s health, free higher education, and the right to be “happy”. When the church tries to remind them of the limits of human effort and the pervasiveness of sin they listen to us the way they listened to their Junior High instructors. We fade into the music of the smart phones and Candy Crush Sagas.
There is another reality out there and that is that Christ is the Way and the Truth and the Life. He is the Lord of History and they are a part of it. The problem is that they have no idea what History is and what it means because it extends as far back as they remember and that is not very far at all.
What is the churches answer?
We will try and figure this out as we go.