Where Has Civil Discourse Gone?

lightstock_148333_small_byrene_haney

“There is beauty all around us,

and the light finds us when we realize,

we are all part of that beauty and worth the cherishing.

If we despise any, we journey to despise ourselves.

See all as beautiful, even if they choose to see themselves through you, as being less than so.

We have the power to see for each, and be the reflection of what they may yet see.”

― Tom Althouse- An award winning playwright, actor, public speaker, and educator.

 

 

When you look at what is happening in America with the political rhetoric reaching hateful and now violent levels what Tom Althouse says so powerfully. People are losing sight of beauty.  Society has failed to look at the person who looks different from us or has a different political ideology than us as someone who is a beautiful creation of God. Why have we allowed hate speech to rule the day when what the world desperately needs is gospel proclamation?  Sadly, we do not recognize each other as a unique, and special gift from God.   All that God creates is beautiful. All people are valued by God. When we fail to respect the views and opinions of others, we lose sight of the beauty of the diversity of views and opinions.  Every person deserves to have their voice heard not dismissed, not shouted down, not muffled because we disagree.  When political parties paint each other as evil, dangerous and fail to work for the common good of the people; we have what happened with the assassination attempt on one political party.  We have the events of Charlottesville. These acts of violence results in the lost the beauty of the community.  As Americans, as people of God are all in this together.  Our goals should be working together as a community for the common interest. Our country has major issues to address.  People are hurting and discouraged; we need hope not hate.

My heart aches as I look around and see such anger, division, and ugliness. And that ugliness is not just around limited to one area of our lives. The ugliness of mean-spirited discourse is all around us.  In the church, in the streets, in the halls of Congress, in the media, and now the results spill onto a baseball field in a quite Virginia neighborhood. This past election season just added to the surrounding ugliness. There was a time when people with different views could come together and discuss differences with civility? When we could hear opposing points of view, stop to think about those views and confirm those ideas as valid, then work together to find common ground. My spirit is downcast because everything around me seems ugly.  This past election season was ugly. The post-election hysteria is even more hideous. Racial issues in America are ugly. Our immigration discussions are ugly. Infighting between the extreme groups and lifestyles is ugly. The loser in all of this today is America. A once great nation founded on Christian principals has lost its beauty.  People will argue we were never a great country. I would argue we were never a perfect country. But we were a nation that strived to promote a God-fearing approach to conflict. We have lost focus. What has been lost is civility? Beauty is under attack. Today, society is forcing the one who created that beauty, God, out of our lives. They have pushed God out of our schools. It is wrong now to gather for a prayer after football games in some places. God has been pushed out of our government, out of our laws and out of the American mindset. And what have we replaced God with, hatred, division, angry political discourse?  Is that a good trade? Why have we decided that God is the problem? I am not sure, but in removing God from the public conscience what we replaced God with is ugliness.

 “Sin distorts the beauty of God.”

As I pray for this country, I pray that somehow we return to our roots, to our foundation, to the beauty of the presence of God. Like Israel before, I think the arrogance of America –that it thinks it can be blessed while turning away from God–is dangerous. In Ezekiel 11 God reminds the prophet who is feeling discouraged about the state of Israel that God will keep a remnant. But I pray we don’t need an exile and restoration to realize the beauty we once had with God as our foundation.

“…Therefore, say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Though I removed them far off among the nations, and though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a while in the countries where they have gone.’ Therefore, say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.’ And when they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 11:16-19a

In conclusion, if you are feeling the weight of this time in our country and feeling a sense of hopelessness, find comfort in this, God is still seated on the throne. He will never forsake nor abandon us. Our posture now should be people on our knees, praying for those in authority and this kneeling position sees the beauty of God.

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61 thoughts on “Where Has Civil Discourse Gone?

  1. “Beauty will save the world.” – Brian Zahnd. We miss some of the point of details in the bible regarding Mary pouring $30k worth of perfume on Jesus feet, or Nicodemus anointing Jesus’ body with the equivalent of $100k+ in spices in preparation for his burial. We look at some of the old church buildings, the Sistine chapel, and we miss why this was all money well spent on the worship and glorification of the God who created us.

    You are right,

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks Keith, it is indeed a time when we need to call out to our God not only for healing in our world but for ourselves, the inner sadness and cynicism. I must believe this election is a testing time for us. Do we honor values and ethics or do we not?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lovely write up.. Too deep! Rightly said – Differences should be respected and one must look for beauty in everything.. Today’s generation has lost that power. Wish we could go back to those time when there was all peace.

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  4. Keith, race issue prevails in India also, castism is so deep-rooted and -of course, it’s only the political parties that gain from this issue.
    If you can’t believe in CREATOR, you can’t see beauty in its creation.

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  5. Mr. Keith,

    What a beautiful and genuine reflection to share. I am always so inspired by souls who God has given the ability to respond thoughtfully and think deeply about issues, especially in the times we live in these days. I am so thankful for finding writing like yours, for you have a heart for people that is greatly needed. I recently just attended a Chris Tomlin Worship Concert called “Worship Night in America” and it was supposed to be a theme to meet together and pray for America in unity, and I thought the event was so timely. Louie Giglio shared a message that set the whole tone– we needed to get on our knees to pray. .. The verses of 1 Chronicles says if a nation was in trouble or the land is amidst a crisis, God didn’t ask people to gather up armies or haul up resources beyond our might or look to the ends of the earth for a human solution, but to “humble ourselves to pray”:

    “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
    It seems foolish that the Lord would require this often quiet and overlooked expression. But it is one of humility and genuity that is precious and sacred and God seeks from His people.

    thanks for sharing your heart, I am inspired– sometimes I get so discouraged because whenever I would share these thoughts about spiritual things, no one seems to care. But I’m praying about the matter, and hope I can push through.
    Sincerely, Kathryn

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Very well said. At every corner, we are discouraged from expressing our faith. It seems calculated by the enemy. Who else would want to silence the sharing of the good news of Jesus Christ? To turn us against each other? Yet, at times, we see a surprising light, some needed encouragement.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Keith, I just saw this post today. Timely, edifying, compassionate. Though our hearts hurt, I join you in uplifting, listening and including through God’s love and grace, from humility because of the mercy I have received from Him through Christ. ❤

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  8. been a long time i came around your blog rev, now am here again and this is sure a bold and strong read, i learn regularly from you and yes i did again.

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  9. Very interesting read and many valid points. It’s so weird to think about all these unexpected events such as the presidential election..The world is changing in a weird direction. I hope it will get better at some point.

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