Editor’s note: This is the opinion of Bishop Michael Goings and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Dillon Herald.
With the beginning of a new year, as well as a new decade, in many aspects of life (that range from the personal to the collective) there are things that are very problematic and even foreboding that are looming over us like dark clouds before a torrential downpour. These cultural, social, political, racial, environmental, and even religious challenges, and in some cases cancers, are harbingers of greater woes to come if they are not remedied in the immediate future before the window of healing closes. In many areas where we are grappling with these problems and perplexities, there are some extensive, and at times exhaustive, efforts that have been launched in order to fix these messed up things. Beginning with personal and family issues that so many are struggling to resolve that regrettably seem to be getting worse, we are living in a problematic culture and generation that have been beset by evils that are escalating and intensifying on a continual basis. The divorce rate is growing and the grave consequences are seen in the dismantling of the family unit where children are having to be reared in a one parent household. To add insult to injury and to complicate matters more, children are being born out of wedlock at an alarming rate according to statistics (though this is certainly not an indictment against innocent children who have no say in how they are conceived and born). It is nevertheless a realistic indication to how our culture has shifted from its moral foundation. Practices that we once denounced, frowned upon, and labored as abnormal, abhorrent, and even abominable have made their way into the mainstream and have become alternative and acceptable behaviors and lifestyles.
In my opinion, perhaps one of the most ominous and telltale indications that our culture is headed for a completely moral debasement and judgement, if nothing is implemented to alter our course, is the fact that one of the candidates for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President is an openly gay man who is married to a man. The irony of this is that there seems to be silence and acceptance of this man’s union with another man when there should be an outcry of condemnation. In the area of politics, things have become so partisan and polarized by contention, criticism, and fingerpointing by each of the two major parties at each other until our national government has become a part of the problem instead of coming up with solutions to what ails our culture and nation. At this present time with the impeachment of the President still in the hands of the Speaker of the House and other partisan and polarizing issues occupying the minds and priorities of members of both houses of Congress, as well as the President, there seems to be little hope for the immediate future that these leaders will be able to put their differences aside and will be able to disagree without becoming disagreeable and get on with the business of effectively governing and coming up with legislations that will benefit the wellbeing of the people who voted them into office.
There is another area of great concern that will continue to escalate and worsen if something is not done immediately to alleviate and reverse the damage that human greed and negligence has initiated. It is in the area of global warming and climate change. The canary in the cage (figuratively speaking) has already died sending all of us an ominous warning that if we do not wake up and get our heads out of the hole like an ostrich, we are going to suffer the grave consequences of our negligence and lack of being good managers over our environment and the Earth in general that the Creator committed to our care. The melting of glaziers in polar regions, two percent loss of insect species every year according to scientific studies, the decrease of many bird species, an escalation of hurricanes and storms, as well as the increase in raging wildfires that are becoming more difficult to contain and extinguish are just a few of the environmental and ecological problems and perplexities that are confronting all of us that will produce great detriment and hardships if we do not put forth a diligent and serious attempt to solve them.
Then how can I forget or fail to include the problem of anti-Semitism and racism that are still very much alive in America after many attempts through education, legislation, and social activism to curtail and eradicate them from our culture. Can it be that these and all the other problems and perplexities that I have considered in this column will remain unsolvable until there is a change in our hearts? Can it be that our real problem is spiritual and theological in nature and that we are only trying to deal with the symptoms and not the source? Let me assert this in full confidence without any hostility or apology that the answer to what ails our culture, nation, and humanity as a whole lies in the Carpenter who was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth. Only He possesses the grace, tools and skill to fix what we have messed up through our greed, selfishness, and rebellion.
Let me conclude today with a brief portion of an amazing song of days past that has encouraged and blessed millions over the years: “Turn it over to Jesus, turn it over to Jesus, turn it over to Jesus; He’ll make everything alright.”