United Airlines – Another Symptom

In the political realm, the election of Trump made it clear that very large numbers of people are fed up with the status quo, which many (most?) interpret as being the elite minority feathering their own next at the unfair expense of the majority.

Air travel, including the airport experience itself, is far inferior to what it was a couple of decades ago while being far more costly in time and money. The airlines have squeezed greater profits out of fewer seats, all to the detriment of their customers.

The very strong reaction to United’s customer debacle suggests that the same rejection of status quo which propelled Trump to office is now being turned against the airline industry. If so, it will spread son enough to other industries as well.

The Republican “plan” to fix America by reducing regulations and thus freeing our financial and industrial sectors can only exacerbate the problem. They have this long-obsolete conviction that our commercial leaders are all goodhearted folk who will do their best to serve America if only the government will get out of the way. Having tasted the enormous rewards of sheer greed, the wealthy are as likely to change their ways as a pack of dogs having tasted blood.

A large part of the problem we face is that so many think government is the solution. Some think more government while others think less government is what we need. In either case, both sides are thinking that doing something with the government will put America back in balance.

The real solution is a moral one. We need to become conscious of and resistant to those forces which are eroding public morality. There are two industries which have been particularly aggressive in dragging us into the mud: our entertainment and our advertising/marketing industries. Each is strongly committed to encouraging greed and selfishness in us so that their own greed and selfishness will be rewarded.

One of the saddest marks of our day is that, in very blind rebellion against the status quo, the electorate chose a man who is the very epitome of greed and selfishness. We are like a person adrift at sea who in desperation drinks salt water, the very opposite of what is needed.

How are we to become a people of better, stronger character? I am convinced that the Christian church must rise to the occasion. It is not that the church is now better than anyone else but that in the church there resides a residual commitment to allowing God freedom. Christians, as much as anyone else, need to throw off the cultural shackles which have tamed and domesticated us. We need heed once again “Christ the Tiger” (T. S. Eliot’s fine phrase). We need to return to the path of growing in Christlikeness of character.

I am not talking about the church becoming a stronger institution but Christians becoming stronger people. We can risk compassion in the face of great need and outspokenness in the face of great challenges because our security lies in the love, wisdom, and power of God, not in ourselves.

If this makes no sense to you, may I suggest a simple prayer? “God, if you’ve got what we need, please show me and make me free to say yes to you.” It need not be a prayer of faith, just honesty.


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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