They say that time heals all wounds (or wounds all heels, depending on who you ask), but what I’ve found is that time actually blurs the truth. There’s another old saying that goes something like “Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” Both of these are at play in our country right now.
What would you learn about the founding of our nation from what we see today? How about if I wanted to see about the founding of Rome? Does it look anything like the current Italian government? If I looked at research from the past 100 years of government in France, would I know about Charles the Great?
The interesting thing about the passage of time is that without constant upkeep, all things become like the car in the header picture– broken down and virtually shells of their former glory.
The same thing with our government. What it is and what it was is two different things. It was created free, as a response to the high tax and high oppression of the British Government. It had freedoms put into place to secure what people felt was missing under the old government. But I highly doubt what is would be recognized by the founders.
Taxes, Earmarks, and Big Government
One of the primary things that the Founders wanted to protect was to protect people from the government. They didn’t like the house invasions. They didn’t like the tea tax. They wanted the protection of government and protection from government.
Today, people look to government for money (whether it’s tax returns, tax breaks, stimulus packages, welfare, food stamps, hand outs…). They can’t imagine life without income taxes, sales taxes, etc. And they hope that government will pay for social security when they retire.
Emergent Church and Purpose Drive Life
The same thing can be said about churches. What we see now and the power that was available at the founding of the church are two very different things. At the founding of the church, the people were alive with the Good News of the Gospel. The revivals saw changes in whole areas where prisons would be empty– as were the bar rooms. The impact was felt throughout nations.
Today we have programs, processes, strategic planning meetings, etc. We have gimmicks and slogans, tee-shirts and billboards. We use sex to sell our church services, and call people together to see Christian magicians. We employ salesman tactics and use marketing groups. We’re not making the impact we should be because we’re more concerned with retention then we are with meeting needs.
The Solution is the Same
Just as the problems are similar, the solutions are similar as well. In order for the church to regain its place and its fervor, it must return to its first love. It must remember what it’s mission is. There’s a world out there that is needing a Savior.
The government is on its way to dark times. It’s borrowed itself into a deep hole. It’s eroded away rights to the point that soon it will not much different than the socialist state that it defeated at the end of the cold war.
And yet the first step in both of these cases is that we have to recognize that what we see is not what we were. That “what is” can be changed. The question is, will we see it, and when we do, what will we do about it?