Culture War
Many from both the right and the left bemoan the state of the American culture today. Whether it is the lack of positive images in TV, movies, music, politicians, sports figures, police in schools and more, freedom and morality are discussed as being in conflict with each other. Benjamin Franklin once wrote on the subject: "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need for masters." This should ring true to you today as we debate not only our eroding culture, but the role of government in our lives. Are culture and the need for more government control more connected than we realize?

So where would Christianity Today have us go for morality? - PART 2

12/26/19
from The Gray Area:
12/26/19:
Lets look further than we did in part 1 at this question of a flawed character that may be negatively affecting our culture. Lets see how 'courage' as described by people critical of President Trump plays a role. Lets think about how we speak out against traits we may find repulsive and yet remain strong in our convictions on other issues. As far as those critical of President Trump and his character, they plead with those who support him to have 'courage', and to stand up against his 'character flaws', and simultaneously challenging you to stand up for your stated values. A tough challenge. One they don't challenge themselves or their political leaders with. And ,values they ask you to stand for if it is useful to them, which they consistently make fun of and diminish in you. What they really mean is vote for our guy, not yours. Not because their guy's character is any better, just because their guy is their guy. In the Christianity Today article, Trump Should Be Removed from Office, it gives the appearance of a Trump supporter asking other Trump supporters to have the 'courage' to stand up against his 'character flaws'.  Yet, they are actually not Trump supporters, per se, and they offer no plan for that 'courageous' request. How do we do that? Does that mean we have to accept a different political viewpoint? Do we vote for style over substance politically? Do we vote for perceived character even if their views on our country and culture are so completely opposite to ours? Bishop Michael F. Olson of the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, in a recent radio interview by Fr. Robert McTeigue, SJ, touched on the subject of fear, courage, good & evil, in answer to this question: What do you think are the needs of the Catholic Church in the United States in the coming five years? Excerpts of his answer follow. Though his answer is mainly about the Catholic Church, he takes a broader perspective which can be applied to this conversation about Presidential character flaws, courage of convictions and how we address same in the coming five years? Bishop Olson: To discern that, we have to look outside ... — to foster generosity from within us, and to overcome the fear that is currently plaguing us. As the Church, that’s our chief responsibility for the greater aspect of society, which shows the common good of our own society beyond the good of the individual. We have to confront the reality that there’s very little room anymore to barter, but our institutions have to be evaluated as to how they serve the mission of the Church, and not the other way around. We’re going to have to get to the point where we call evil, “evil,” and good, “good.” That’s what we’re trying to do all the time, and we’re getting to a point where things are just so formally evil and destructive that it’s very challenging to affirm what is good, in order to bring about more good. We’re coming to that point as a Church in this society. It’s a spiritual truth that discouragement never comes from God. Discouragement is a weapon of the evil one. Fear is a human condition that serves to modify our behavior, to turn to God, and to practice fortitude, all with His grace. We don’t need foolhardiness any more than we need cowardice, but we have to be vulnerable. There is no courage without vulnerability. In other words, we need the capacity to be wounded for the sake of the truth. That’s something that I’ve seen as a reality in my life and ministry as a bishop during these last six years. That’s been a reality introduced to me again and again. Without courage, there’s no hope. Let's rebuild the Bishop's major thoughts in reverse order ....
  • Without courage, there is no hope.
  • There is no courage without vulnerability.
  • ..we need the capacity to be wounded for the sake of the truth..
  • We don’t need foolhardiness..
  • Discouragement is a weapon of the evil one.
  • Fear is a human condition that serves to modify our behavior,..
  • ..we’re getting to a point (in our society) where things are just so formally evil and destructive that it’s very challenging to affirm what is good..
  • ..we need to call evil, “evil,” and good, “good.”
  • ..to foster generosity from within us, and to overcome the fear that is currently plaguing us.
  • ..our institutions have to be evaluated as to how they serve the mission...
  • which comes to show ..the common good of our own society beyond the good of the individual.
Consider the above thoughts of Bishop Olson in the context of Presidential style vs substance. As they apply to this concern for Mr. Trump's flaws, lets not ignore the similar flaws in Mr. Trump's opposition. Let's recognize that our individual 'flaws' represent the current state of our society where things are just so formally evil and destructive. That courage is not foolhardiness. That calling evil, “evil,” and good, “good” , will foster generosity from within us, and overcome the fear that is currently plaguing us, which supports the common good of our own society beyond the good of the individual. 'Courage' is standing firm in your convictions, being vulnerable in those convictions, distinguishing the difference between the greater common good and any uncomfortable traits of an individual, while always looking for the perfect, which in us humans such perfection we will not find. But, such courage and constant search for perfection, will be for the greater good of our society. More From North Texas Catholic:


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