So, what are we now? 229 for the fifth year in a row?

One of the things we should do on birthdays is evaluate our growth during the past year and check to see if we’ve fallen off track. We may do that as individuals, ruefully, for our own birthdays. As citizens, though, we fail this standard. As I’ve said, this day is now much more “Fourth of July” and much less “Independence Day.” It’s all about the fireworks and very little about our nation.

Since July 4th fell on a Sunday this year, I enjoyed a message on this topic today. In fact, the pastor addressed some of the same issues that I’ve been raising. Here are the 3 major points from this morning’s sermon:

  1. Do we enjoy the fruits of our freedom without tending to the tree of liberty?  Perhaps we take for granted the world our forefathers worked so hard to leave for us.
  2. Do we enjoy the benefits of free-market capitalism while ignoring our (collective national) conscience?   In his writing on democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville suggested that our country would only be a “great nation” if we continued to be a “good people.” In other words, morality would matter most for whether our system of government would succeed or fail. Can we point to numerous instances of corporate recklessness as a dire sign for our future?
  3. Do the Christians among us primarily seek “Christianity without commitment” now rather than what Jesus specifically sought? This ties in with the type of Christian political candidates we see so often … casual rather than committed.

I won’t go into any detail on answers to these questions. There won’t be a single, federal answer. We all have to evaluate these things individually. Instead, let me end with a quote from Katharine Lee Bates and “America The Beautiful.” For roughly 100 years now, that song has been a second national anthem for the U.S.

America! America! God mend thine every flaw, Confirm thy soul in self control, Thy liberty in law.

It starts by acknowledging that we have flaws. Step One.

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