"I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.” (Ezekiel 22:30 NIV)
The midterm elections are now over, and most Americans, I presume are glad to have these full-fledged biannual rectal exams behind us. Once again we were subjected to the notion that unless [insert your candidate’s name here] is elected, it will the end of Western Civilization as we know it.
I used to muse at those alarmist political ads and would write them off as the propaganda that they are, but sadly there is a sense of foreboding among our populace these days that recognizes the danger our civilization faces. Many of us feel in our bones that this is no longer our fathers’ country, and that the domestic and foreign threats to our way of life and our way of viewing the world are as real as they were in the 1940s.
On the domestic front we see an erosion of property rights (the Kelo decision), free speech rights (McCain-Feingold), and religious liberties (various cases brought by the ACLU). We have a puzzled sense of morality that asserts our private ability to make up our own rules regarding what’s good and what’s evil, that we can create our own “realities” (whatever that means).
We see images on our television screens of mobs calling for American heads on platters by whatever means it takes to sever them from our bodies. Raw hatred for everything we stand for and believe in, from our religion to our method of governing ourselves scream at us through our media, and we wonder if we have the will to stand up against it.
We’re alarmed by this, and because we are a concerned people, on a regular two year cycle we religious folks buy into the notion that if we elect the right people, we will be able to save our culture. The ballot box is a good thing, but instead of reform-minded people overcoming the system, the system reformed them, making them twice-fold slaves of the very system they were elected to master.
Could it be that we have it all backwards? Seizing the gears of power cannot reform the human heart. Virtue ceases to be virtue if it is enforced by compulsion, for the essence of virtue is in willingly making the right choices. Rather than trying to elect the right people to reform the culture, perhaps we should be reforming the culture so that we can elect the right leaders. In a republic, reforms cannot be imposed form Washington, for we will get pretty much a leadership that reflects ourselves.
Such reforms must begin with us, in our homes, in our neighborhoods, and in our communities, one home at time, one neighborhood at a time. We each have our own section of the wall to rebuild. I can’t build the wall in Washington, DC, but there is a wall right here in Lee’s Summit, Missouri that could use another man or two. I’m sure there is also one where you live.