Posted by: tucsonjefe | May 5, 2009

A sea change in our nation

This past weekend David Mallonee was here teaching us some biblical approaches to living though the current financial storm.  In his message he used the term “sea-change” to refer to a major shift that is permanent and life-altering. That is a term that gets thrown around a lot.  It was coined by Shakespeare to refer to the changes in a corpse under the sea (Ariel’s song in The Tempest)  It has come to mean any large change or transformation in which the form is retained but the substance is replaced.  David used the illustration of the music company that continues to make CD’s while thinking the iPod is an aberration.  (To all you who still want cassette tapes of our services, you are 2 jumps behind- wanna buy an 8-track?) Music goes on, but there has been a substantive shift in the medium.  In these kinds of changes it often takes the world a while to catch up, a slop-over time between eras.  If you are in the music business, no matter how many CD’s you make and how hard you advertise, you have become an anachronism and don’t even know it. It is my conviction that the world as we have known it in our modern American era has undergone such a change, and we do well to try and get a grip on what has changed. 

When a sea-change occurs there are often ripples on the surface that indicate much larger and more permanent changes underneath.  If we don’t make a diagnosis and adjust accordingly, we are in danger of missing the port we set out for, or even being swept away in the wave that is coming.  We have seen transformational changes in communications, technology, social fabric, moral values, and even national borders and identities.  In earlier times eras were often marked by huge population shifts (Been in Tucson lately?).  Back in the late ‘80’s, I sensed a shift in our culture, a ripple marked by a lack of respect for the ministry.  When I was younger, and even when I first began in the ministry, there was a general respect for God, the Church and the clergy, even in the least “spiritual” segments of society.  When folks found out I was a pastor, they would immediately apologize for their language, and demonstrate a sense of shame at their behavior, hiding their smokes and their beer cans.  After the public collapse of several TV preachers, combined with the erosion of morals in our schools, inflamed by a media dedicated to debauchery, this respect for God disappeared in the society at large. The preacher is more apt to be ridiculed than revered. There is no fear of God in our culture as a whole. This change came about while we were inside our four walls playing church games, laying hands on each other, pointing bony fingers at the world, marketing Jesus as a good buddy, and trying to re-make ourselves to look “cool” like “them”. We can lament this change at length, but the fall began in the Church, and the fix will have to start there also. It is a different world.

Scripture Reading: God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, And to be held in reverence by all those around Him.  (Psalms 89:7 NKJV)

Somebody Said:  “Our brains are no longer conditioned for reverence and awe. We cannot imagine a Second Coming that would not be cut down to size by the televised evening news, or a Last Judgment not subject to pages of holier-than-thou second-guessing in The New York Review of Books.”  John Updike

As an older guy who wants to finish my course with joy, I am determined to identify changes that impact my effectiveness.  I will discern where practice needs to change to fit the new actuality and where backbone must be applied to stand for principle that is unchanging.  Wanna come along?



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