America lost in a generation
Growing up in Northeastern Ohio in the 50s and 60s was a picture of a much simpler time. There were eight farms on our road. We rarely saw a car go by. The mornings before school were early because we had livestock to feed, chores to do. The evenings were sometimes late, depending on the weather, in getting the livestock fed and settled. The nearest store was about five miles away. It was a picturesque place—bench out front and Cokes could be bought from the vending machine for a nickel. Griff’s store had creeky floors, was narrow to maneuver and we went there often because it also was the post office. Griff would be storekeeper then slide around to be postmaster. ‘Seemed like he was two different people.
The people were friendly. We knew each other. In fact, many of us were related—the result of an old farming community of Welshmen that was settled around the turn of the century—the 1800s. One schoolhouse. Two protestant churches—Baptist and Methodist. There was a Catholic church in another town. We were all pretty close knit. The Wayland Town Hall was across from Griff’s store in front of the volunteer fire station. All the meetings were at the Town Hall—Grange, 4-H, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Ruitan, Ladies’ Auxiliary, Trustees, and whoever else wanted to meet there. There was no division because of politics. Democrat or Republican, everybody pretty much believed the same with different approaches.
We also didn't care if you were black or white or Welsh or Polish or Hungarian. Everybody worked hard and kept to themselves unless somebody needed some help. Then everyone pitched in. This was the America in which I grew up. It was what shaped my worldview. It was as Jesus said in Luke 6:31, “As you would that men should do to you, do you also to them likewise.” Our school teachers were also our Sunday School teachers. The men and women with whom my parents were close friends were also like parents to me. I write this because I want you to see where I’m coming from. We worked hard for what we had. We cared for others. We were taught responsibility. And these things were Christ-centered.
My son recently recalled a TV show where a homosexual man admitted to a friend that he went to church. Sometime later, the person posted that information on social media. The homosexual called his friend and said that he had “outed” him in a terrible way because, “Now everyone knows that I am a Christian, and that’s worse than coming out as gay.” We can debate all the various religious and political inferences in that exchange, but it doesn’t change that this is the America we now live in. To me, this is the clash between those who want to destroy the nation and the “church” which hasn’t remained relevant. Overcoming evil with good isn’t compatible with emotional, extra-biblical, self-indulgence. The condition of our nation is a reflection of the condition of the church. As God’s people, we can do better.