Sunday, February 15, 2009

Something Is Broken

Swamped by the Wall Street tsumi, outraged by the antics of Stewart Parnell’s Peanut Corporation of America, I see that Mr. Parnell’s peanut empire has collapsed. Hopefully, we will experience no more peanut-prompted Salmonella. Americans are rightly concerned about the moral status of their country.

GREGORY KATZ, AP newsman examined the “land of Shakespeare and the Beatles, Churchill and the Queen. Rolling green hills, groovy London shops, hip plaids splashed over raincoats and umbrellas. Cut to the reality of 2009, he currently comments, and you have “the highest teen pregnancy rate in western Europe, a binge drinking culture that leaves drunk teens splayed out in the streets and rising knife crime that has turned some pub fights into deadly affairs. “Ahhh, Britain,” Katz concludes, "13-year-old Alfie and his 15-year-old girlfriend Chantelle became parents last week.”

Some suggest Britain is broken in Britain, but down-under, Australia’s Prime Minister announced their need to prosecute the arsonist (s) responsible for dozens of lived lost in the recent bush fires. Global hand wringing, from the media and us ordinary folk, admittedly helps little.
We’re somewhat like those parochial children who had a problem remembering the sins they needed to confess during confession. Finally, the Priest suggested the teachers help their young students prepare a list of their sins ahead of time. The following week a small child came in and the Priest listened to the unfolding of a piece of paper, then the youngster began: “I lied to my parents. I disobeyed my mom. I fought with brothers and . . .” A l-o-n-g pause followed. Then a small voice angrily said, “Hey, this isn’t my list!”
"I think it's very sad," said retiree Risdon Nicholls, of Alfie and his British girl friend.. "But they lived in a poor part of Eastbourne. That's not common practice in the rest of Eastbourne, which is a very smart town." Nicholls accused the British media of exploiting a one-time situation. "They make it sound as if we're going to the dogs, and we're not," he said adamantly. "This is still a wonderful country — but it's clear standards have dropped."
Neighborhoods, nationalities, classes, cultures, creeds, and countries, make little difference. From the American Congress to the United Nations, from the poverty of Africa to the perversion of the Middle East, everyone declares, “Hey, this isn’t my list.”

Such stories swirled in my mind as I celebrated my 62nd wedding anniversary this past week. Those years don’t reveal all the answers, but they give me direction. When a friend of Coleridge looked at the poet’s weed-filled garden , he asked, “why don’t you dig up those weeds and plant flowers?” Coleridge reportedly said, “I don’t want to prejudice the garden in favor of flowers. We just let it grow up as it is.”
I have learned that doing nothing solves little, nor does lifting up self-centeredness; both remain symptomatic of unhealthy living. Some criticize the Christian Church; others speak of post-Christendom, but I find that in matters of human redemption the Church has no rivals. Christianity has critics, and competing religions, but The Christ has no equal.
W. A. Criswell told of two lawyers (longtime partners) he knew, Will and Tom. Will attended a revival meeting and made a public confession of Christ. Knowing Tom was a bitter critic of the church, and things of God, Will got up early, intending to dissolve his partnership and avoid Tom’s ridicule and sarcasm. En route to the office, he met Tom.

Tom asked Will why he was up and out so early. Will replied, “Tom, last night I gave my heart to Christ. I know how you feel about God and Christ and the church. I just do not think I can live under your bitter and sarcastic criticism. So I got up early this morning, before you would be down, to gather my things and dissolve the partnership.”
To that, Tom admitted, “Will, you did not know it nor did anyone know it. But last night I went to that meeting and stood outside the tabernacle. I saw you go down the aisle, give your hand to the preacher, stand before the people, and confess your faith in God. You and I have been partners all these years. We have always stood side by side. We have been through numerous cases, trials, and difficulties. Will, when I saw you standing up there by yourself last night, it just seemed to me that I ought to be standing by your side. The reason I have come early this morning is that I thought maybe you would teach me how to become a Christian.”

An old commercial used to advertise Zenith as a product where the quality goes in before the name goes on. The surest way I know of to enjoy life's most enduring qualities is to walk with Christ one day at a time.

No comments: