Monday, February 04, 2008

No Longer Proud????

I write that title with a question mark, because I am unsure. Still questioning. Still wondering. Maybe a better title would be “spottily proud”. In some spots I am proud, but in some flashing bright neon spots, I am not.

I am not proud of a lot of our American way of life and culture. Now, I know many would scoff at me, or grow angry, and tell me I have no clue. And I am sure, in many ways I do not. I have been to a few other countries, some very poor and poverty stricken, some very controlling and harsh, to know what I have good here in America. So that is why I said “spottily”.

So I am thinking, when bad rises up against what is good, when evil and selfishness seems to be the prevailing dominant focus, when a very vocal majority (not sure if it is a majority) rails for all I disdain and clamors against all I hold dear, do I then look at the total and withhold my pride.

Proud: feeling or showing pride: as much pleased: having proper respect, marked by stateliness giving reason for, a reasonable or justifiable respect c: delight or elation arising from some act, possession, relationship or state.

I watched a video today on Youtube called Coming Home Ghana, and a phrase in their jumped out at me. A young mother, who moved from America to Ghana with her three children, said in America she felt like her children were “molested by American culture”, especially the amount of sexual and violent content of it.

I must say, I agree with that. Just take a walk down an American shopping mall and look at the window displays, flip through a magazine, stroll on a high-school campus and look at the attire, or watch a couple hours of prime-time television, both the shows and commercials…and don’t even get me started on the video games out to “entertain” children.

So I would agree with her statement and add, the trade off that has been made in America to sell and gain more money at the expense of our children’s moral lives is molestation. And we have grown accustom to it. We shake our heads, switch the channel, avert our lives, as the poison and toxins permeate our children’s eyes, ears, heart.

I would also add, not just the sexual and violent content, but the materialism and spirit of entitlement, “affluenza”, as I have called it before, has also molested our children (and their parents). And it is sad.

I know there are some, spotty, pockets of people ferociously fighting the epidemic. Some on a small scale, within their family, some on a large scale, within their community and beyond. And I know we are not the only nation with this problem, and that other nations, may have other problems. But it does seem the more affluent we become, the more free time we have, the more craving and expectation we have of “entertain me” the more this “sickness” prevails.

And I am not living in one of those other countries. (Perhaps you think I should be..) I am living here, with my family here, in this culture now.

So what do I do to counter it? I probably cannot (or will not) move to any other country, since this is where God has chosen to place me. So how do I counter-culture what makes me ashamed about America, versus proud? (And I know I am not alone…there are lots of folks like me. Quietly outraged at what is happening around us.)

It reminds me of the story in the book of Daniel. When God’s people were taken off and held captive in Babylon. And four young men, including Daniel, chose not to live like the culture around them, even though they were offered privilege and the best the culture had to offer. They chose instead, to live God’s way, in spite of the culture.

And there has always been that battle with God’s people. Surrounded by a world and culture that did not follow God, His people had to make the choice. Many times they would become just like the culture around them. Yet there was always a remnant that were counter-cultural.

So is our pride in a country, or is our pride in our God? And how do I train up my little ones to live like a Daniel in the middle of a molesting culture.

The choices start with me.

First, I have to live like a Daniel, myself. Can’t teach, what you don’t know. Can’t lead where you don’t go.

Being a Babylonian captive, I feel like a mummy with layers and layers of gauzed wrapped strips. And as I choose to unwrap some of my layers, I find more below. Then I think, ok, I am unwrapped, here I am finally, living like a Daniel. And God then shows me, yet another layer underneath.  He is so patient, merciful and gracious to unwind me without reproach and not give up. Take off those grave clothes and walk, girl!

So as I unwrap the cultural trappings off myself, I pray for my children, to not get too wrapped up in it all, and to help them unbind their hearts and minds as well.

I trust in the Lord, that He will lead us and will show us where to put our pride and where to be counter-culture.

Post Script: I do want to say, there are spots of our country and culture I am proud of: Our fore fathers (the godly ones) who desired to set our country on the right foundation, the freedom to worship God, the churches and ministries that reach out and touch lives for the good, the freedom for women, and race, the blessings I do have to live and walk with out war, to earn a living and to provide for my children. I am entitled to none of this and I praise my gracious God for allowing it. I pray for our nation and for our children. I am a patriot of God and stand with all who stand for God’s ways, what ever country they are in, as well as all who would have our country be one nation under God, again.

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