A Civil Civilization

The United States could be the cream rising to the top of western civilization. Instead we seem to be losing ground, returning to more primitive times. We have great resources, abundant space, excellent technologies. What is wrong? Why is our education less effective than that in many other countries? Why are our politicians gridlocked and stopping us from moving ahead? Why do we keep hearing about people going on murderous rampages? Why have we forgotten again the lessons taught by Israel’s prophets long ago, lessons such as that God is offended when the wealthy increase their wealth at the expense of the non-wealthy?

One of the most serious shortages in America, it seems, is wisdom. Simple wisdom.

May I suggest that there is a simple question that will help us take a step toward simple wisdom. When we propose an idea, we need to ask, “Who would pay the price for this decision?”

I know of a church, for example, that decided to save money by eliminating the position of a paid youth leader. Who paid the price? The young people.

Another church wanting to save money reduced its giving to overseas missions? Who paid the price? The missionaries who were working in countries of very high inflation.

Congress decided more than a decade ago to loosen the rules governing financial institutions? Who paid the price? Homeowners and small investors.

The NRA spends millions of dollars each year influencing Congress to resist meaningful gun control. Who pays the price? The children of Newtown whose blood will call out from the earth for a good many years to come.

When we pause to ask who pays the price, we find ourselves also asking whether we’re really willing to let those people be the ones to pay. Personally I am horrified that 26 people sacrificed their lives in Newtown  to protect my right to buy an assault rifle. I am sickened by that fact and offended that anyone would want to protect our right to sell and buy military weapons.

Does not our Lord say to us, “I pay the price for you. And I ask you to pay the price for others”?


About mthayes42

I am a retired pastor, interested in the Bible, cross-cultural ministries, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and the current and past history of western civilization.
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