No one questions the fact that the America of today is not your father’s (or grandfather’s) America. 2014 is not 1960. Just to show you how life has changed in the past 54 years, consider that in 1960:
• the average age was 29 today it’s 37 – we’re getting older as a nation
• the average man weighed 166 pounds and the average woman 140. Today, the average man weighs 194 pounds and the average woman weighs 164 pounds – we’re getting fatter as a nation
• 72% of adults were married, today it’s 51% – we’re becoming less committed as a nation
• 12% of Americans sited alcohol as a source of family problems, today it’s 30% – we’re becoming more dependent as a nation
Since the early 60s we’ve gone from audio cassettes (1962) to 8 tracks (1964) to CDs (1981) to MP3 players (1990s). At the beginning of the 60s we didn’t have calculators (1967), ATMs (1969), personal computers (1970) or cell phones (1973 – and it was HUGE! – and sold for $4,000).
Some of the commonly accepted practices in 1960 seem totally outdated to us today. For example women could not obtain a credit card without their husband’s signature, serve on juries in most states nor attend most Ivy League schools including Yale and Princeton (not until 1969). It’s clear by the evidence that we’re not living in 1960. We’re not even close. Things have changed.
Not all change is bad in fact some of the changes have been good, they have benefited society. Changes in medicine mean that we live longer and healthier lives. Changes in technology mean that we can do things today that we could never do before – and we can do them faster.
Other changes, and I would argue that these are far more consequential changes, have brought detrimental results to our society: drug use is up; the divorce rate is up; our sexual mores are down; our respect for authority is down; church attendance and religion in general is down.
The question is where are we headed as a nation? Another question that we need to ask is; is the direction in which we are headed the right one? Your answer to these questions will be determined by a number of things including your age, your political leanings, your faith and your personal preferences.
While this issue cannot be solved in one blog post, for the Christian there are several things that we need to remember:
1. The direction of our country does not need to define us. We are pilgrims and sojourners on this earth (Hebrews 11:13, 1 Peter 2:11), citizens of another kingdom (Philippians 3:20) and we should be defined, not by this culture but by the culture of the King of Kings.
2. The direction of our country should provoke us to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24). We don’t stop doing the right things because our culture is marching down a broad path to destruction – we double our efforts; we try twice as hard. We don’t let the evil in our culture overcome us, we overcome the evil (Romans 12:21).
3. The direction of our country gives us the opportunity to stand out. It gives us a platform from which to speak. It gives us darkness in which to shine (Matthew 5:14-16). It gives us the opportunity to offer people hope (Romans 15:4, 13, Ephesians 4:4).
4. The direction of our country may not be right but the direction that we are going is absolutely right!
Stay in the Word