Category Archives: American civilzation

Certain Predictions for 2015

As 2014 ends and 2015 begins, prognosticators are hard at work, offering their insights on everything from fashion to global politics, cultural mores to economic opportunities.

If history is any guide, predicting the future is an uncertain science at best, though trend analysis and evaluation of the past can help us anticipate what may happen. The divine gift of freewill coupled with our global connectedness keeps certainly out of reach.

With these qualifiers, including my non-omniscience (a fancy way of saying only God knows everything and I am not God.), I do offer the following as “certain” predictions for 2015. They are general enough to keep me from being stoned and sufficiently specific so that future assessment is possible.

Here are my certain predictions for 2015:

  • Millions will come to faith in Jesus Christ and thousands of new Christian churches of all traditions will be planted – most in the Global South.
  • Almost under the radar, the Christian churches will grow in the West and the USA through compassionate, insightful outreach, church planting and revitalization and the awareness among thoughtful people that science and technology will not usher in Utopia.
  • Political and social leaders will continue to struggle to find consensus on shared principles and vision for America’s future.
  • The new Discipleship Dynamics Assessment from The Assemblies of God Theological Seminary at Evangel University will help thousands of individuals and hundreds of communities celebrate progress in their relationship with Christ.
  •  The Acton Institute’s new video series, “For the Life of the World; Letters to Exiles” will grow in fluency as thousands catch a new vision of human flourishing.
  • Hollywood will continue its march toward mediocrity.
  • The Oikonomia and Made to Flourish Networks will increase in influence as seminary leaders and pastors help their students and parishioners grasp 24/7 whole-life discipleship that integrates faith, work and economics.
  • Missio Alliance’s evangelical and egalitarian vision will inspire creative missional enterprises among diverse Christian communities.
  • The Institute and its sister organization REP will equip hundreds more for business-as-mission and the transformation of all spheres of society.
  • Messenger Fellowship will advance a mission of Kingdom vision and the ways of God as many more leaders learn to think kingdom before institution and mission before preservation of tradition.
  • Jihadi Islam will find resistance from two camps. The first will appeal to base passions of nation and race. These will gain momentary influence, but do not offer compelling principles for peace. the second will be diverse people of all faiths choosing resistance to evil and active peacemaking, calling on Muslims to accept philosophical and religious plurality as part of a free society.
  • Israel will resist all unilateral attempts by the EU, UN, USA and others to shrink her borders without the guarantee by a new Palestinian State of full diplomatic recognition as a Jewish nation.
  • Their will be new voices attempting to restore civility to public discourse and offer solutions instead of slogans.
  • New African-American voices will be heard, offering an alternative to the Jessie Jackson-Al Sharpton narratives and shakedowns. Hopefully they will be heard for their substance and not labeled/libeled for being different. By today’s standards, MLK was not “truly Black” with his appeals to Christian principles, non-violence and the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution!
  • China and Russia will continue their militant ways, trying to intimidate smaller neighbors and blackmails nations dependent upon their resources and wealth.
  • Republicans in the US Congress will have to choose between capitulation to totalitarianism from the White House and serious confrontation with policies detrimental to America’s future.
  • And in the midst of all this, Dr. Charlie and Kathy Self will continue to love God and each other and serve productively with our callings and gifts. All of this is possible because of God’s grace and the prayers and support of so many friends!

A very Happy 2015 to all!

 

Courage and Grace: The Morning After 2014

Once again, midterm elections humble an incumbent President. Since 1938, almost all midterms bring favorable gains to the party outside the White House. Apart from an idiotic editorial in the New York Times calling for the elimination of midterm elections, what does this mean for America during the next two years…and beyond?

The drubbing of the Democrats in the House and Senate means little if the Republicans cannot articulate a fresh vision for America’s future that is inclusive and inspiring, passionate and principled. In my next essay on this sight, I will present one of my most important posts ever: “Vision 2016.” It is vital that clear and courageous directions are offered with sincere attempts at bipartisan cooperation. The “ether/or” polarization of the past six years must yield to integrity and statesmanship as we forge a preferred future.

Moral courage and political grace is needed, with Republicans adopting a principled and practical agenda that will benefit America for generations, not just secure the next election. There are four things that I hope ‘the morning after’ will bring:

First, a willingness to bring all legislation to the floors of both houses of Congress. The more the people know about the debates over pending bills the better for our democratic ethos. Harry Reid’s refusal to bring bills forward must change. Oh, and by the way, the lawmakers should actually read the bills before debate and passage!

Second, The House must give leadership to fiscal stewardship of public monies, reversing the last 50 years of White House control of the budget. It is time for federal financial matters to originate from their Constitutional source while challenging the Senate and White House to real negotiations over how our money is spent.

Third, President Obama’s judicial nominees deserve thorough scrutiny for both their ideology and legal records. When it comes to lifetime appointments, our nation needs better appointees.

Fourth, the spirit and tone of Republican communication must be civil and compassionate, firm on principles and flexible on some details. Republicans must learn the art of winning hearts as well as minds, garnering emotional support as well as being “right.” People of all classes and cultures want a better future for the next generation.

The next two years are the greatest test for the American Experiment in virtue-based liberty since the era of the Civil War. Will we reaffirm our first principles and articulate a fresh vision that inspires our nation/ Or will we continue on our present trajectories of anarchy, dysfunction and polarization? May we choose courage and grace and forge a better tomorrow for generations yes unborn.

The End of Civilization

As I teach church history to spiritual leaders in Singapore this week, my students are intrigued by the rise and fall of civilizations and institutions. Examining the stories of ancient, medieval and modern empires is instructive as we consider the future of the USA.

It is easy for melodrama to overtake sound reflection, as recent media circuses testify. From unwise comments about a narcissistic student to inflammatory cries about a tragic shooting, we are experts at outrage and comeuppance, but afraid to face our issues and find partnerships to solve them.

Civilizations collapse for many reasons, from environmental disasters (both human error and natural events) to invasion/deportation to internal anarchy leading to implosion and totalitarianism. Historians such as Arnold Toynbee have made valiant attempts to systematize the rising and falling of cultures and empires, with some success. Other thinkers, with less-than-hidden agendas, weave narratives of the past with that foster present activism.

In these paragraphs, I have a more modest aim. The end of the American experiment is immanent unless millions of thoughtful people act quickly and wisely to reverse the current trajectory. Here is why we are on the precipice:

* Moral and spiritual anarchy that is in practice and principle undermining social stability. When we argue about the human identity of babies, the nature of marriage and refuse to respect faith, we are in serious trouble.

* Immigration chaos that prevents solid folks from pursuing citizenship and fosters defiance for the law among those that have no desire to sustain our American ethos.

* Fiscal inanity that stifles creativity, increases dependency and furthers the erosion of markets that can ethically generate new wealth.

* A political process that rewards bluster and fabrication and alienates the thoughtful.

With God’s help, “we the people” are the only way to a better future. The warfare-welfare state must yield to ethical enterprise, social responsibility and new neighborly concern. Voting is for citizens with ID. And reverence for the Almighty and respect for Life are paramount if we are going to enjoy Divine favor and foster justice.