Since it’s July 4, I think I ought to say something about the U.S. of A. I’m not too sure, though, what is most appropriate. I really do love
All the same, I think I’m less a “love it or leave it” American than a “change it or lose it” one. I should hasten to add that I’m no flag-burner, or one who reaps all the benefits of a free and affluent society while relentlessly vilifying it and biting the hand that feeds me. It is good and healthy to love one’s country, and it is also good and healthy to love it enough to sometimes point out its errors for the sake of the country’s goodness and health.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn was the darling of the West, as long as his incisive critiques were directed against the repressive communist regime. He lost favor as soon as he took aim at the self-absorbed, materialistic consumer society of the West. But he was not interested in currying anyone’s favor, nor in advancing the cause of any particular social or political system. He wanted to uphold the spiritual values which guaranteed the dignity, integrity, and freedom (in the best sense) of the human being, and neither the Soviet East nor the European/American West was doing so, but for different reasons. There’s nothing inherently evil about socialism or capitalism as such—though their various historical manifestations show how evil they can become—but the best spiritual and moral values should guide any system of government if it is to be truly human and humane.
I’m not competent in political discourse, so I’ll stick to the spiritual and moral.
It might seem to be a truism simply to say that if they would all repent and believe in the Gospel, everything would change, but truisms usually become such because they are true.
But as long as the Lord has not yet returned on the clouds, we still have time to repent and change. Even when a forest entirely burns down, it can restore itself. There are certain kinds of seeds that will be released from their pods only under conditions of extreme heat. So God built recovery into disaster. Likewise, when Elijah claimed that he was the only faithful one left in a thoroughly idolatrous society, God told him: “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bent the knee to Baal” (see Rom. 11:2-5). God always reserves a remnant (at least) for Himself, so that through the faithful few, the many may be enlightened and saved.
Well, no need to go on and on. Fire up the barbecue and have a cold one for me. We must celebrate what is good while working to heal what has gone awry. Surely a country of our size and resources is not without a significant place in the plans of God. But we have to do what it takes to realize the divine plans, and it will mean, in Solzhenitsyn’s words, “repentance and self-limitation,” that is, changing arrogant and greedy attitudes, learning to live simply and share generously, abstaining from evil and blessing the Lord. Then God will bless