Submitted by Norman Franklin
We must be alert and ever vigilant to keep up with all the changes in this life. Changes in our society, our values; changes in our cultures, changes that influence the way we talk, the way we think and what we are willing to accept as normal.
Our words and word usage change. Merriam-Webster just added 455 new words to the dictionary. Amirite was added in 1998. It means am I right. Words grow old, become anachronisms of communication. It is a good thing that Merriam-Webster monitors word usage and refreshes our lexicon. The entertainment and sports industries frame new catch words and phrases as frequently as scores change between opposing teams. Statthat.
The politicians and their political discourse redefine what was normal and create a new paradigm for communicating coded messages. We are confident, however, that we have a book that is never outdated nor needs an update. Although written centuries ago, it is still relevant and applicable to the endeavors of our times: the Holy Bible.
We live in a world and time of breakneck changes. Nothing seems to be a constant, truth and facts, values and principles are moving targets. We have come to accept that. We ask, ‘is there anything viable, durable, and unchangeable that we can latch onto when everything is coming loose and falling apart? Yes, we can stand upon the certainty of hope that the church of the Lord Jesus Christ goes on.’ (from the morning devotional of Rev. Dr. Ralph Douglas West)
Change is sometimes good. According to minimalismmadesimple.com, change allows us to move forward in life, experience new and exciting things. Minimalism is a style or technique characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity. It would be good if we could keep things simple, but life is complicated. The motives behind changes are not always well intentioned.
We are a nation founded on biblical principles. We are constitutionally bound to keep the weight of government influence out of the doctrine, the decision making and worship practices of the church. Lately, the institutional church has conflated political ideology with the theological direction of the church doctrine (teaching) and policies. Conservatism, liberalism and progressivism define the character of the local church. We find this consternating.
The changes we have seen in the political environs gives us cause for grave concern. The church is not an arm of any political party; however, members of the church organism are to be civically engaged and socially active as they stand for social justice, fairness and equality of citizenry. Political moods change. Voter equality, equal access to the polls once was a partisan cause. It is now a divisive issue used to stir emotions and fear. Things change, unity and equality are displaced by fear and the need to be in control.
The Freedom to Vote Act recently before Congress for passage was nicknamed the “Freedom to Cheat Act” to stir up fear and division. Fifteen years earlier, a Republican-controlled House and Senate, on a bi-partisan vote, easily passed Voting Rights legislation. Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader, boasted that his caucus held firm their opposition to passage of the recent Freedom to Vote Act.
Change can be surprising; change can be unexpected; change can be predictable.
Senator Rand Paul had worked with Senator Corey Booker on the Emmitt Till Antilynching Act. To Sen. Booker’s surprise, Sen. Paul prevented its passage. He wanted stronger language to right the inequities of the Criminal Justice System. The System has a decisive unfavorable bend against minorities. Peculiar that, since they worked closely on framing the act, that they didn’t agree on Paul’s stand prior to the legislation reaching the floor for a vote.
We are not going forward on the avenue of social justice. We are back stepping. Attitudes are changing with the make up of our society, our cultures, and our world.
There is an abundance of the wealthy, the super wealthy, and on the other side of the great gulf, the poor and the paycheck-to-paycheck middle class. The wealthy govern and hold the purse strings of commerce. The majority of those holding elected offices of government are millionaires or near millionaires. They govern with feigned compassion for the deplorable conditions of the poor. The naive middle class soaks up the diatribe of politicians supposedly concerned about sustaining their status quo. The dynamics of society are changing; there is a paradigm shift stealthily taking place: a class society of the wealthy and the poor.
As the world continues its march of change, we have this to hold onto: God is constant, His Word stand forever. What He has said is eternal regardless of the vicissitudes of man. Isiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.”
Unlike the ‘institutional church’ and unlike the mercurial politicians, there is one who never changes: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Heb. 13:8) We can trust Him, we can take Him at His word.
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