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A Glimpse of the Possible

28 June 2016

ridgecrest

Without doubt, the moral condition of America is in a state that left unchecked will lead to our self-destruction as a nation.  Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines moral as “concerning or relating to what is right and wrong in human behavior.” With few exceptions, we are a nation where people are allowed to do whatever they feel is right. Our downfall is in not having sound principles that guide citizens in choosing what is right. The question is where might we find sound principles?

First, an observation regarding the depth of our moral disaster.  A short article in the Fayetteville Observer (Associated Press) shows us to be at a point that is downright scary. The article follows:

DETROIT — Three people were charged Thursday in the death of a 13-year-old boy, who prosecutors say was beaten and choked and whose body was dumped in a vacant lot after he picked up about $70 that had been dropped outside of a store. “There’s not a whole lot that shocks seasoned prosecutors, but there are some things you just cannot explain,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said. Gregory Walker, 45; Lillian Roberts, 43; and Walker’s son, 26-year-old Earnest Coleman, face charges of murder, unlawful imprisonment, kidnapping, torture and gun crime.

How does this kind of atrocity happen in a supposedly civilized country? Let’s stop being fooled.  It is not because guns are available or because of global warming…or the multitude of other reasons put forth by various people in positions of influence. No, this is about a nation having lost touch with the sound Godly principles on which it was founded.  Not only have we lost touch, but far too few Americans understand that our loss of a Godly moral compass has brought us to this horrible state as a nation.

This point shows through clearly in an exchange between Marco Rubio (2016 Republican presidential candidate) and a young man who described himself as an atheist.  The man talked about having heard Rubio say he would protect religious freedom and wanted to know how he would do so for those who do not believe in God.  He also referred to an ad where Rubio does not talk about policy or issues, but about God and the need for faith in Him.  After reporting that some in his community see Rubio as running for “Pastor-in-Chief” not Commander-in-Chief, he requested Rubio’s response.  The questioner does not see the connection between people of faith, God, and resulting choices.  Consequently, he dismisses any need for faith or relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  Rubio explains why relationship with God matters. The crux of his response follows, but I encourage readers to watch the exchange at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkP9RqPA2PQ. Once there, click on “Marco Rubio: Pastor in Chief?”

You shouldn’t be worried about my faith influencing me.  In fact, I think you should hope my faith influences me.  Here’s why.  You know what my faith teaches me? My faith teaches me that I have an obligation to care for the less fortunate; my faith teaches me that I have an obligation to love my neighbor. My faith teaches me that I have an obligation for those who are hungry, to help try to feed them; for those who are naked, to help clothe them. My faith tells me I need to minister to those in prison. My faith teaches me that if I want to serve Jesus, I have to serve each other. And I think you should hope that that influences me.  I know it’s made this a greater country.

Marco Rubio spoke truth to that young man. We would be a far better nation if our living were directed by, controlled by God’s principles.  I recently had this fact of life confirmed beyond my wildest imaginings. The experience occurred 22-26 May 2016 while attending the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. In those five days, I caught a glimpse of the amazing life that is possible among people who have faith in and relationship with God. I experienced what is possible for a people when they act on what Marco Rubio explained to that young atheist.

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We met at Ridgecrest Conference Center which is in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina.  It is a beautiful facility with a staff that is clearly in relationship with God.  The aim of the center is “CULTIVATING EXPERIENCES, NURTURING RELATIONSHIPS, IMPACTING LIVES FOR GOD’S GLORY!”  From great meals to conversation and assistance as needed, there was clear evidence of commitment to serving others.  I contend all of this flowed from God’s influence on these conference center staff members.

As for the conference, God’s influence was ever-present.  We were there to gain information that helps in writing, publishing, and speaking publically. From the conference staff to instructors and attendees, their actions reflected relationship with God. Like no other experience in my life, there was a sense of oneness among the over 400 conference participants.  There was no tension generated by differences among people due to race, gender, economic standing or any of the other conditions that produce unimaginable division and tension in the wider American society.

Every person I met was helpful and encouraging toward others.  These instructors and attendees are people in the same profession, but instead of seeking to hinder one another, we were all about assisting each other on the road to success.  This kind of loving conduct is rare in America. The prevailing approach is to destroy those who might even possibly impede one’s course to success.  If you doubt that statement, consider what has and is happening in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Another difference from the routine of America is that people were genuine.  There is some genuineness in the general society, but I find it difficult to recognize. There is so much game-playing and manipulation, so much saying what is expected with no sense of conviction.  During the writers conference a lady from New York spoke to me, talked for a few minutes, and then started to pray for me. When she finished, I said, “I believe your prayer was real.” I see so much routine, so much political correctness, that spending five days in the midst of “genuineness” was unbelievable.

There was no crime.  Someone lost a valuable item and an announcement was made at one of the gatherings of all participants. A person stood up and said he saw the item, but left it because of thinking the owner would come back looking for it. In the general society that item would have disappeared and if not, the honesty displayed by a citizen in returning it would have been newsworthy.  Among these people of God, honesty was expected and not seen as newsworthy. No, that conduct is expected, rightly taken for granted.

So, in five days I got a glimpse of what is possible when we act on what Marco Rubio explained to that young atheist. Given America’s disastrous state of affairs, our only hope is to as a nation find our way to right relationship with God. All the ranting, raving, and pontificating is useless.  We need God.

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