Rev Michael Bresciani
Statistics tell us a lot about ourselves, they mark and track trends and mindsets. They can be used to change business practices or to help politicians and leaders to catch the feelings of their constituents. Who would ever think a raw cold statistic could make us sorrowful or sad?
One such statistical report recently made available by George Barna on one of his well known Barna Reports is all but an indictment against Americas all time highest list of matters they perceive to be most important in their lives. The list accurately reveals what is at the top of our thinking, but at the same time indicates that what we have put at the top may have come from the bottom of our best ideas on what we think gives meaning and purpose to our lives.
The report is entitled "Survey: Voters Most Interested in Issues Concerning Security and Comfort, Least Interested in Moral Issues." Those polled were registered voters and the questions posed had to do with what they thought would influence their choices the most as they decided on a presidential candidate in the coming 2012 elections.
Healthcare, taxes and terrorism were on the top of the list while poverty, abortion, the environment and gay marriage were on the very bottom. People who are proclaiming that the nation is in moral decline are dissed, shunned or simply ignored as naysayers, doomsayers or negative thinkers. Barna has in essence declared that they are the only ones who have hit the nail squarely on the head.
Statistics like those of the Barna report do not elevate those who are making the claims about our slide into moral decay. Most of those making such claims don't need nor want to be labeled as right, but rather, they are usually only interested in seeing the nation makes the right choices.
We are still a nation that prides itself in the freedoms by which we can make such choices. As these freedoms begin to erode; we are all seeing that making the wrong choices can lead to the loss of freedoms that allow free choice in the first place.
Christ said, "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required." (Lk 12: 48) It would be hard to argue that America has been given much and that at the least it has enjoyed many years of comfort and security for its citizens.
It would be impossible to explain how the hot pursuit of yet more creature comforts and personal security could be thought of as, all that we will have required of us. In fact this borders on the edge of perversity and is the barometer by which we can see that something has peaked in the American psyche and now has only one way to move from here; which is down.
For over four decades America has been warned of her steady decline into materialism and sensationalism. The five senses have triumphed over common sense and the drive toward personal gratification has driven us to the edge of our very national existence. Since fewer than ever before believe that this is actually happening here, how can it be headed off?
If I were the bearer of an entirely new scheme, gospel, success plan or personal self improvement message I would probably gather a huge following without an ounce of effort. All I have is an old message that seems like old news, even though it is called "the good news."
The 'gospel' that Christ said would be preached throughout the earth before the end of time comes along; is a word that actually means "the good news." How dare we call something that happened twenty centuries ago, good news? The gospel has an element to it that is unlike any news we will ever hear; it makes the hearer new. It is so much more than a new wave of the pop culture or the promises made by the latest guru, political star or motivational speaker.
When heard and sincerely appropriated into a life, the gospel is the only thing that can sail by all the efforts of rehab and modern psychological therapy and reach a peak so high above the human concept of reform that it produces what is called a "new creature." In his letter to the Christians at Corinth Paul said, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2Cor 5: 17) In its most basic theological essence, this is the good news that makes the hearer new. Is there any TV, internet or cable newscast that you can think of that makes this happen?
We would think that everyone knows that the gospel, the good news that Christ has died for the ungodly while they were still sinners and has made a way for them to re-connect with God is predicated on our acting upon it in repentance and obedience. You would be wrong. Millions of us think all we have to do is believe, even if it is only some form of mental assent. "I believe God exists" is not a magic formula that if repeatedly uttered can be used to produce salvation. The gospel requires actively connecting to God and then acting out that connection in an old fashioned concept known as discipleship.
One of the first things a disciple does is pay heed to the words of the Master. It is there in the four gospel accounts that we would find this; "And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." (Lk 12: 15) Now we have come full circle back to the sad findings of the Barna report.
It is here that I find myself reiterating a warning that I have been issuing for over four decades. On both a personal level and on the collective level, God will try every means to call us back to our senses but one of his most effective last resorts is to hit us where it hurts the most, right smack in the middle of our pocket books and wallets. When creature comforts and the usual securities begin to crumble most people will pause, ponder and reconsider their pathway.
One of the most powerful messages I have ever received from God is a full fledged promise that America is about to undergo a financial collapse that will affect every man woman and child in the nation. It will result in a time of extreme poverty and scarcity for millions. So how can a preacher of the good news give us such bad news? Could it be that we have spent all too much time ignoring the good news and the bad news is all that's left? If Barna has anything to say about it, that is exactly what we have been doing.
Many bubbles will burst in the very near future to follow the bursting of the dot com bubble and the real estate bubble. Diversifying our portfolios, investment in precious metals like silver and gold and most other schemes meant to offset the troubled times that so many see coming, will all burst. This no mere idle Delphian oracle but it is an edict and a decree or in layman's terms it is a promise of God.
It is not good news, but it will drive some to the place where they might once again discern what good news actually is and thereby learn that both the economy and the economist are in God's hands but the future is in the mouths of his prophets. God help us in the very near future.
http://www.americanprophet.org has since 2005 featured the articles of columnist Rev Michael Bresciani along with news and reviews that have earned this site the title of The Website for Insight. Millions have read his timely reports and articles in online journals and print publications across the nation and the globe.
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