I recently came across the following data (about the number of endangered species) that was compiled by the United States Fish and Wildlife Services: Mammals (93), Birds (101), Reptiles (46), Fish (165), Clams (91), and Insects (85). The acquisition of this information became the inspiration for my column today. Regrettably, there are endangered subtypes within the species called homosapiens. My consideration today will focus on five distinct categories whose numbers are declining. Each of these categories are very important to the well-being of our culture and nation.
Preachers with Conviction and Courage
Perhaps, since I am a preacher, I am too critical and demanding on my fellow clergymen when it comes to being practical patterns to their congregants. Due to the fact that I am hard on myself and take my duty of being an effective pastor very seriously, I have little tolerance and no respect for those pastors and preachers who are not genuine and faithful to this divine charge. I utterly disdain those who are covetous, egotistical, proud, and hypocritical. I also have little respect for those who confess to have convictions that are rooted in the Scriptures, yet lack the courage to stand and declare them to their congregations. Sadly, there is a swiftly declining number of contemporary Elijahs and Pauls who cannot be intimidated or silenced by threats from deacons, trustees, boards, or anyone else when it comes to declaring the truth. We need more preachers with convictions and the courage to declare them without favor or fear.
Politicians with Courage and Conviction
Our nation, from the local to the national level, is the most powerful and prosperous country in the world, barring none, in spite of all the problems that have beset us. This is true in spite of the fact that we are having to deal with a seemingly out of control national debt problem, that is now in the trillions, a decrepit infrastructure, political incompetence, and ineptness in both the legislative and executive branches of our Federal government, as well as divisions and polarization that are stemming from racial discord and strife. America is still a beacon that the world looks to for inspiration and help. I am fully convinced that one of our primary problems as a nation can be found in the political arena. We are declining as a nation because we desperately need some true leaders on every level with both conviction and courage to step forward and to put our country and Constitution before party and their personal agendas and biases. Regrettably, politicians with both conviction and courage is an endangered species in our nation, especially in our nation’s capital.
Values and Valor
This category is arguably the most urgent in our culture today and regrettably, the one which is in greatest decline. The formation and foundation of any civilization or culture rest upon the strength and fabric of functional families. Without such basic components within a community or culture, where children are both birthed and reared with family values that will equip and enable them to be responsible, respectful, and resourceful adults, a nation is destined for decline, debasement, and ultimate ruin when there is a grave deficiency of family units developing children with good morals and manners. As I have asserted or alluded to many times before, the battle and problems we have with children in the schools, streets, and other aspects of our culture are battles that should have been initially won and settled in the homes. Many parents care too much about being their children’s friends and too little about being their parents who will discipline and correct them when they are wrong. I wholeheartedly agree with Christian psychologist, James Dobson, who said, “Parenting is not for cowards.” As much as it pains me to say it, there is a grave shortage of parents with values and valor in both the culture and the church. These brave behavioral specialists who prepare children to go out into the world through daring to discipline are an endangered species.
Corporate Bosses Who Care About Their Employees
There was once a time in America when there were many heads of major corporations who truly cared about the well-being of their employees. Men like Henry Ford and Sam Walton knew that without good and competent workers, their enterprises would not succeed. They knew that if they treated their employees right when it came to wages, proper working conditions, and hours, as well as providing them with fringe benefits, it would produce a more contented and productive labor force. Their prudence and willingness to share their wealth with the people who helped to make them rich is a rare quality in corporate America today. Corporate sharing in the market place is being replaced by corporate greed that is even being felt by the consumer. The days of Sam Walton are about to be a thing of the past. Men like him are indeed an endangered species.
Who Can Find
an Honest Man?
According to a famous Greek legend, a very prominent philosopher named Diogenes, who belonged to the Cynic school of ancient Greek philosophy, once went about in broad daylight announcing that he was “in search of a human being.” Down through the years, many learned people who have majored in philosophy and ancient history has interpreted that what Diogenes was actually looking for in his very bizarre quest and method was a truly honest person. There is still a search for truly honest people in our day. It is becoming quite hard to find an honest person who will not lie, cheat, or steal under any circumstances.
A few months ago, I did a piece in my column entitled, “Truth Decay.” There is a grave shortage of honest and truthful people and this deficit of integrity can be found in every profession. If you are striving to be a member of this vanishing breed (as I am in spite of my many faults), keep up the good work and do not quit.
If there was ever a time when our nation and culture needed people of character and integrity, we sure do need them now.
I am going to conclude my column today with the following passage that captures and conveys the point I am attempting to make here: “Help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.” (Psalm 12:1)