If you have been following me, I have to apologize for the delay as I have had to tend to more pressing business - that is, finding a job. It's a long story. One of these days I may take time to share the ugly details.
As I was considering what to write about I received an e-mail from The American Spectator and an article - The Loneliness of American Society, based on a report by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that was originally published in the American Sociological Review (NSR) and authored by three - obviously talented sociologists, at Duke and the University of Arizona. They claim the study was based on 1,500 face to face interviews where the respondents - one in four, claimed to be bored with their life styles. Well, that wasn't their words. They preferred to use terms like "social isolation" and "significant decrease" in social connections to close friends and families.
I would have to believe that if we went to a few of the 100+ churches in our relatively small community, you might have uncovered similar thoughts.
I am 84 years of age and recently became a widower and I can easily understand such feelings. I moved to this community to marry my wife and now, my in-laws have chosen to ignore me. That was made worse by the fact my wife really did not enjoy making friends in our community and I was left, almost alone. There were moments when I yearned to give up and hopefully join her, simply by not eating more than enough to just ease the pain in my stomach.
But I have been a Christian for over 39 years and the more I tried to pity myself, the more I was reminded of that scripture that reads: "You shall be given power when the Holy Spirit comes and you shall be My witnesses,,," (Acts 1:8) I decided to use that "power" to get up and walk and my life took on new meaning and purpose. Whereas I only had 7-8 people I could call my friends when my wife passed on, I just counted and I have over 125 who I could call and talk to whenever I had something of interest to others.
I have to wonder if those esteemed sociologists had thought of questioning the others that they talked with, what contributions they to they offer that would appeal to the others?
Then the report turns to a Rabbi who suggested that "we are raising a generation of children who are (as he is quoted as saying) orphans in time." "They are," he continued, "incapable of integrating their past and their future, living instinctively in an almost animal like fashion only in the present." He offers an opinion that they wander about aimlessly without connections - physically, emotionally or spiritually.
I have to wonder where his synagogue is located. Surely, not in the America that was to be the focus of this article. I will admit that there are children acting as children and I would point to the fact that far too many of our children are getting pregnant and adding to the problem. But I see an America that is beginning to awaken to the fact that a new day is dawning and proof of that can be found everywhere you see youngsters congregate. They are holding in their hands, examples of technology that was not even imagined when my children were in their teens.
When I was their age, we had to make do with whatever was available as there was a war sapping a huge portion of our resources and technology was not a part of our education. And there were problems in our families - real problems, girls getting pregnant and boys being buried as casualties of a war that created a real reason for fear for most of us.
The real difference between then and now is that my generation went to church, regularly and if there was to be a community effort to draw us together, it was orchestrated by the churches and most of them were not even speaking to one another.
Now we have multi-million dollar companies grinding out tons of literature on how to rear the children, teach the children, enthuse the children, employ the children and for the most part, most of it is not in tune with the times. That not only applies to children in the church, but also to the parents, the married couples, the divorced couples, the middle aged singles, the seniors, etc., etc. and the glue that used to hold the church together is missing.
Do you recall the scripture I quoted earlier? Acts 1:8 "You shall be My witnesses."
Ever been to court? Ever been required to appear as a witness? If you have you ought to recall the bailiff instructing you that you are to "...tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth," You are help accountable for what you saw and often, just your opinion of what you had seen>
Therein is the real problem. If there were witnesses going out from all of the churches we have in virtually every city and town in our country, into the community, telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, we would see the change that I would have to believe Dr. Crouse is seeking.
The word isn't in the Bible, at least those that I own. It is accountability. And it flows from the highest point to even "the least of these" - the subjects of the report I mentioned in the beginning of this article. But why should we? The article explains it in Biblical terms - "the fields are ripe for harvest."