For a while now, I've had a very sad view of things and at times it makes me very sad and it takes a while for me to get back to a place of contentment and joy. Actually, I would say that is the right way to explain it: a lack of joy. I have to ask God to give me joy and a joyful perspective despite what is going on around me because the joy of the Lord is my strength. I need to rejoice and be glad always in Him! Anyway, this is what I've been seeing:
I look around and I see a shell or a shadow, if you will, of what things should be. (I only have a small inkling of what it must have been like when God first made all of creation from what the Bible says.) I think that colors must have been so much more vibrant than we can even imagine, water so pure, vegetation so healthy and amazing to see. People must have been so beautiful. Not like what we consider beauty now, but so healthy and vivacious and radiant. I think little by little, as sin gained even larger footholds in people's lives that everything has gotten dimmer and drabber and dingier. It affected and continues to affect EVERYTHING and EVERYONE.
So now, I look around and see how much we as a people continue to live just a fraction of the life that God intended for us. We put our hopes and dreams in things like houses and cars and clothes and being noticed and praised by men. I think it is all coming to a head for me at this time because, I really used to love Christmastime. As I've gotten older, my perspective has changed because I see the reason for this wonderful time of year getting pushed farther and farther into the background as decorations, trees, parties, santa clause, reindeer, snowmen, snowflakes, presents etc. take the place of Christ. Does that make sense? I'm not saying that having those kinds of things are wrong. All of that stuff makes me think of winter and the coming holidays and all of that, but more and more, it seems like in the world, that the celebration, the parties, the actual decorations, the getting of presents and even the stress of finding, buying and giving presents is waaaaaay more important than the original reason for Christmas. It must be that people have heard the "story" for so long and in the same way or something, that the importance has been lost. I mean, the greatest gift of all from the Creator, our Creator, was given to us because above all else he desires a relationship with us. Even greater than we have with whomever we consider our dearest friend or the person we love the most! Its truly awesome: alarming, astonishing, awe-inspiring, awful, beautiful, breathtaking, daunting, dreadful, exalted, fearful, fearsome, formidable, frantic, frightening, grand, hairy*, horrible, horrifying, imposing, impressive, intimidating, magnificent, majestic, mean, mind-blowing*, moving, nervous, overwhelming, real gone, shocking, something else, striking, stunning, stupefying, terrible, terrifying, wonderful, wondrous.....
Also, lately I have seen and felt that the kindness that people used to have for each other has been rapidly decreasing. More so than ever before. I find it rare that people just smile in kindness to each other anymore. I know that there have always been rude people on the road, but the amount of speeding and cutting in front of people and aggression seems to be on the rise. I remember that in times past people would wait to get into stores to get certain gifts and fight over them, but that too seems to be on the incline, as well as people dying as a result of mob metality. And for what? A toy, a gift? Why? Why is that so all important? What, really when you get down to it, is the point?
There is also the issue of the world we are giving our children. Although, I know the domino effect of what we are experiencing now began long ago, it makes me sad to think that we are just continuing in the tradition. I think in this country, especially, it is even more obvious because it is still such a young country compared to the rest of the world. I think about how this country began. I think about the principles used to found it. (Again, not saying that EVERYTHING was done correctly or that there weren't ignorant notions and false piety and too much worth placed on rank and all that. I could probably write a dissertation on all of that. ;) Then, I think in 232 years how the line of what is right and wrong has been smudged in so many areas that we have arrived at our present state. 232 years is all that has passed. That makes me sad. The other thing that really makes me sad is that the church has been much to blame for it. Before anyone starts getting super upset, let me explain what I mean. In this country, at least, the government has followed closely behind the compromises of the church. There is a trail of concession on Biblical principles through the years from leaders in the church as a whole. For instance, birth control. As opposed to now, the church used to actually advocate large families and were very much against any type of birth control. But, then there was a time when a concession was made because of political pressures and its very interesting how the tide then turned. Here's my source if you want to research it further for yourself. Its a book by George Grant on Margaret Sanger called Killer Angel. Look for further sources sited in the notes at the end. The consequences for this have been extreme. We as Christians advocating birth control and some even abortion have given up our God given right and command to take dominion over the earth. By shear numbers, we are being out-birthed, if you will by those who have no interest in God's purpose for this world and its showing in leaps and bounds.
How about premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality? What used to be looked at as morally wrong, socially unacceptable and very inappropriate, is now either ignored, welcomed or applauded. Now I know that even in the days when it was not accepted that it was still practiced, but on the whole I would say that it was not nearly so rampant as it is now. Most states at one time or other had laws prohibiting fornication and adultery. Some states still have those laws in their constitutions or bylaws, but do not enforce them. For me, this is just another example of the line of moral conduct based on God's rules that was drawn, has been erased and/or compromised extremely. Oh, and there are consequences. Teen pregnancy, illegitimate children, parents shirking responsibility for their actions, kids growing into adulthood with extreme anger and no respect for any kind of authority and then they have kids who end up worse. Seriously, domino effect. A side note here is that there are laws against sodomy, too, and the gay rights activists have busily been trying and succeeding at getting those laws changed/overturned. More consequences indeed.
What about stealing, killing, destruction of property, price gouging, materialism? All of these are addressed in the Bible, but because the church has increasingly become worried about stepping on "someone's" toes, concessions have been made to not stand up for what is right and true because we don't want to violate anyone's "rights". (Actually, as Sam pointed out in one of our conversations, there's a difference between rights and privileges and in our country and society we often get them mixed up; i.e. driving is a privilege, not a right. Life is a right here, except in utero. Freedom of speech is a right, unless you are a Christian and don't agree with something and speak out against it. That type of thing.)
So, what I'm seeing is life being compromised and lived at levels so far beneath what is possible that it is astounding. We all are rushing around doing and doing and what is there to show for it all? Relationships and people don't seem to be priorities any more and the interesting thing is that those are treasures that we can store up in heaven. We can take our relationships with us when they are bound in Christ. All the other tangible stuff that we strive for doesn't go with us. Its just craziness to me, I guess and I feel that it is getting crazier.
And that is what I've been seeing and thinking upon for a few months now. I wonder if anyone else sees or feels these things? Things that make you go, "Hhhhmmmmm....."
Oh, yeah...as a second thought (hehe) I thought this would interest Nessa. There's a huge issue with dissent about global warming over on Karen Hancock's blog, she has posted a few links to the small amount of media coverage going on about it so far. Apparently, there is a majority of the world's scientists who are now saying there is no such thing as global warming, but the media is trying to censure it. Very interesting. Check it out here and here and follow her links to the articles.