Sentinel Progress

How do we go on?

The Continental Congress met in September of 1774 to deliberate what could be done to stop oppressive governance of Great Britain. Founding Fathers wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence nearly two years later to formally institute the American Revolution against Great Britain. In 1787, Founding Fathers began work on the Constitution which went into effect in March, 1789. The Bill of Rights was created in September of 1789, and was ratified at the end of 1791.

Founding Fathers formally worked for 17 years to overthrow an oppressive central government and to establish an experimental government with weak centralized powers and strong state powers in the belief that governance of the people, by the people, and for the people would provide more freedom for all the people. The Bill of Rights was added to protect God-given rights of individuals from simple majorities or from a singular, centralized government.

In those early days people first sought solutions to problems and needs from friends and neighbors, and then from governing authorities closest to the problems. Our Founders believed governance closest to the people is much more responsive, effective, and efficient for meeting people’s needs at the local level.

Fast forward to 2018. In fewer than 300 years, America has grown to about 4-percent of the world’s population, has become the richest, most powerful, and most influential nation in the world, and attracts more immigrants than any other nation.

Nevertheless, America has arguably become more polarized than at any time since our own Civil War. Whatever common values and beliefs have held us together and fostered a sense of patriotism over time and through many ugly growing pains have for the most part devolved into clashing disputes between so-called identity groups who hold their own positions far above antediluvian values like shared patriotism.

America has seen her fair share of divisions and debates over the past 300 years, but today’s differences appear to be irreconcilable. Ideological rhetoric from across social and political spectrums allows no compromises amidst fiery personal attacks and winner-take-all contests.

Americans have tied ourselves into so many knots as we have evolved from people who shared Judeo-Christian values into majorities who mock values of past generations and ridicule leaders who share Jesus’ words with others. We choose to kill thousands of babies every day because we can. Children defy parents who challenge teachers’ concerns and criticisms of their children. ‘Right’ and ‘wrong’ are purely personal choices based on circumstances divorced from consequences. Rational lies foster personal anarchy and belittle personal responsibility.

When ‘bad’ things happen, we immediately blame those we hate. It’s not our fault! We are victims of those people who want to cram their views down our throats. The government should shut them up before they hurt anyone else!

We ‘solve’ complicated multi-faceted situations with singular simplistic solutions ‘they’ are too stupid to understand.

Saddest of all, American families have been mislead by churches and ministers who value membership numbers, contributions, buildings and programs much more than sharing the gospel and making disciples of believers. America’s churches have become little more than arenas in which we fight over social issues, instead of bodies of believers ministering to each other’s needs, community needs, and reaching out to the lost.

We can’t go back, but we can endeavor to realize where we are today, and contemplate the far-reaching consequences our decisions and actions will have on generations to come.

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By Daniel Gardner

Contributing columnist

Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville, Miss. You may contact him at PJandMe2@gmail.com.