I started to write last night. I had all these headlines rummaging around in my brain and I couldn’t get them to connect. One of the headlines wasn’t even current, but I heard it for the first time yesterday. I received a tweet this morning that connected them for me, at least in part. Here’s a list of the headlines that kept coming to mind:
Lil Wayne Breaks Elvis’ Billboard Record – I can’t write out many of the song titles, or most of the lyrics to Lil Wayne songs, but suffice to say they’re not ‘Love me Tender’ or even ‘Jailhouse Rock.’ If the only thing we had to worry about was a shaking pelvis in 2012, I would be overjoyed.
Virginia Romney Supporters Terrorized With Sign Vandalism, Human Excrement – Really? Human Excrement? There is also a movement on Twitter to tweet about the joy in urinating on Romney signs. I realize politics can get dirty, but this seems to cross a new line.
Man Arrested in Plot to Blow Up 48 Churches in Oklahoma – It would seem, from his journal that he was thinking about taking out as many American churches as he could.
This final one is definitely not an unrelated story:
Churches offering Sunday services for short attention spans – There are several churches all across the country that are attempting to attract parishioners by holding 30 and 45 minute church services for people on the go.
“We are increasingly aware of the time pressures on families, and they have been telling us that the traditional service is too long for them,” said the Rev. Chip Stokes of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Delray Beach. “We recognize that things are changing and we have to be more adaptive without losing our core.”
Here is an advertising quote from one of the 30-minute churches; “Have more on your to-do list than time to do it? Need to jump start your week with a high energy focus on God? Your time is valuable. Make the most of it with the Rock Creek 30″.
So the two headlines that wrapped all of these stories up for me:
As Protestants decline, those with no religion gain
According to the various articles, ‘The Protestant population has declined from 53% of the U.S. population in 2007 to 48% this year, according to the survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, released Tuesday.’ The results mark the first time since Pew has been tracking the country’s religious demographics that the share of Protestant Christians in the United States has dipped significantly below 50%.
The study also found that the fastest growing group is the ‘Nones,’ the group of people not affiliated with any religion. The new number is 20%, or one in five. This segment of society has grown by 25% in the last five years.
The largest growth in ‘Nones’ are in the 18-29 year-old age group. If you break it down further, 42% from this age group indentified as atheist or agnostic, 18% identified as either Christian or Catholic.
This study has made secular societies very happy. They are looking to have a larger voice in the political and educational arenas.
Americans Now Say Gov’t Should Not Favor Any Set of Values
For the first time, Gallup find that a majority of Americans, 52%, say the government should not favor any set of values, while 44% still favor America following a traditional set of values.
The actual question from the poll: Some people think the government should promote traditional in our society. Others think the government should not favor any particular values. Which comes closer to your own view?
They explain that the current evolving permissive attitudes on homosexual marriage, the legalization of marijuana and gun ownership is causing Americans to think in a more libertarian viewpoint.
Ok. So the question that stands at the forefront is ‘what and whose traditional values?’ Oh the arguments of not having the bible forced down peoples’ throats should be coming up like bile now through many. Especially the ‘Nones.’ However, I want to throw something out here that won’t come from a source you may suspect; I found a quote from Ellen DeGeneres that I completely agree with.
“I want to be clear and here are the values that I stand for. I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated, and helping those in need. To me those are traditional values. That’s what I stand for.”
There’s nothing in that statement that is wrong to me. I would add “The American Way” as well, since we are in the US. But Ellen summed it up quite well. There doesn’t seem to be anything that should contradict with our government. Remember, the question said promote not legislate.
Now, I would base those traditional values in the bible. When I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, etc, I base my stance on scripture. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are all fruits of the Spirit that I want my life to overflow with.
So what has changed in the US? I firmly believe that the right to be offended is what changed everything. Everyone feels that their entitled to their own little bubble of what they see as acceptable. Everything else should be mocked, vilified and shunned.
Would I like to see the US espousing traditional values with scripture as their reference? Sure. Do I think that will happen? Well, anything could happen, but I don’t see it. I could and would like to see the government promoting traditional values. It’s our job as Christians to spread traditional, biblical values using grace and truth.
What if I, as the only person I can attempt to control, were to practice traditional values in my own life. By design, my family could see it and it would spread, and so on and so on. When it comes to heated subjects, am I practicing patience, gentleness or self-control?
It only takes a few minutes to be disgusted by the news. What I challenge myself and others is to stay informed with what’s happening around us, and purposefully counteract evil by promoting traditional values. But promote them using the tools God gave us for that purpose. Then we might change a poll or two.
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
(Mark 12:28-31 ESV)