Spiritual Decline ~ Not Just a Catholic Crisis

My definition of “crisis” and my approach to crisis intervention changed as I moved from one developmental stage to another. New discoveries, expanded awareness, and exposure to new experiences changed my perspective of what’s important. For instance, the grass around our house wasn’t a problem issue when I was seven. It was just grass. Unless there was some weird bug crawling in it ugly enough to warrant catching it and putting it in a jar, I was barely aware that grass existed. I had real problems to worry about, like the danger of oversleeping on Saturday morning and missing the Sailor Bob show. Kid shows only aired on Saturdays in those days, and if you missed it, you just missed it. That was a setup for crisis if ever there was one–no DVRs, no reruns, and no second chances.

Transforming the Definition ~
Six years later, my attitude toward grass changed. The oppressive cabal of adults that ruled our household decided I was old enough to take on the responsibility of mowing the lawn, and my definition of critical issues was altered dramatically. A perfect Saturday morning for me no longer included a video rendezvous with Sailor Bob. It was my morning to sleep in, and the prospect of being dragged out of bed every Saturday morning for nearly half the year to get up and cut two acres of grass was a major crisis.

I’m a bit older now, and surrounded by a culture that produces a new crisis at about the same rate as all-you-can-eat buffets produce heartburn. For instance, a few years ago we were told that our obsessive demand for paper bags was killing all the trees. Woodpeckers faced the depressing prospect of being called “dirtpeckers,” and treeless monkeys wandered about in search of homeless shelters. Then a Swedish engineer invented the wonderful one-piece plastic shopping bag. The woodpeckers’ reputation was saved, and all the monkeys wept tears of joy.

Years later, someone announced that the water piped into our houses was little more than government-approved sludge and the bottled water industry was born. Soon everybody who was anybody was toting a plastic bottle full of sterilized, hyper-filtered, crystal clear, vitamin-enriched water approved by officials with Ivy League credentials and impressive-sounding titles. Of course, avoiding that crisis led to another one. We’re apparently filling the oceans with our plastic water bottles and turning the sea into a death chamber. We’ve become a kind of environmental Hitler to billions of Jewish sea creatures.

People in liberal enclaves are becoming apoplectic lately over the distribution of plastic straws. Some activist on TV even declared recently that there’s also a party-balloon crisis. We’re apparently endangering America’s wildlife because we’re releasing too many of them into the atmosphere.

Expanding Revelations ~
Declaring something to be a crisis represents more than a stimulus-response exercise. It’s also a demonstration of our worldview and value system. We reveal a great deal about ourselves when we have an emotional meltdown over plastic straws while applauding the policies that promote systematic eradication of the moral and spiritual values that built this nation.

A couple of millennia ago, the Apostle Paul warned us that days like this would be coming, and what we’re seeing in America now is an up close and personal illustration of what he meant when he said:

But know this, Paul said, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NKJV)

I’ve struggled this week over how to address the mind-numbing extent of allegations of sexual abuse that went on in the auspices of the leadership of the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania. It grips my heart in a way that is difficult to describe, and I have to think about it in limited blocks of time. Envisioning the details of things that were reportedly done to innocent, trusting children by their “priests” is more than my mind is willing to engage and more than my heart can endure. The scope of this damnable exhibition of evil conducted amid elaborate displays of superficial “holiness” is staggering. The number of victims is estimated to number in the thousands and at least 300 priests have been identified and implicated. If this report of priests raping children, coupled with our daily slaughter of innocent unborn babies and the ongoing national mockery of God’s design for relationships, doesn’t constitute a spiritual crisis, then the term has no definition.

Crisis Rooted in Rejection ~
In so many ways, society sees Christianity as nothing more than a choreographed, scripted performance, a repetitious set of familiar and often entertaining rituals with no moral authority. The Pennsylvania case is the result of tossing aside the clearly revealed Word of God in order to accommodate an insatiable quest for ecclesiastical approval of our sinful inclinations, and it’s not just a Catholic or denominational problem.

From the moment we decide to turn away from God, the path only leads downward. Unless and until we turn back, every moment takes us farther away from His protective presence. Every day we’re seeing God’s most precious gifts, our families, our children, our freedom, and the blessing that righteousness brings, being demeaned and defiled. Our spiritual decline is undeniably real, and it’s time for some crisis intervention, but the question is what do we do? Let me respectfully offer a few suggestions:

  • Begin by admitting that spiritual decline is a threat to our personal welfare, and deal with the sin in our own lives.
  • Lay aside our five-minute, 350-word devotional guide and actually read the Bible for a change–all of it.
  • Abandon empty, meaningless clichés that pass for prayer and just get alone with God. Pour our hearts out to Him like it was our child who was raped by some religious pedophile during a so-called hospital visit.
  • Start evaluating our preachers by their allegiance to God’s truth instead of their ability to accommodate the political correctness police sitting on the pews.
  • Stop grieving over plastic straws and endangered bugs. It’s time to take some “real hope” to the endangered human beings doing drugs on our filthy streets and wandering around our hate-filled campuses looking for something worth believing in.

So . . . , is this just “their” crisis, or is it “our” crisis? What do you think?

“TWEETABLES” ~ Click to Tweet & Share from the pull quotes below. Each quote links directly back to this article through Twitter.

  • “If #Priests raping children, coupled with our daily slaughter of innocent unborn babies and the ongoing national mockery of #God’sDesignForRelationships, doesn’t constitute a #SpiritualCrisis, then the term has no definition.” @GallaghersPen quote (Click here to Tweet)
  • “Our #SpiritualDecline is undeniably real and it’s time for some #CrisisIntervention, but the question is what do we do? Let me respectfully offer a few suggestions . . .” @GallaghersPen quote. (Click here to Tweet)
  • Stop grieving over #PlasticStraws and endangered bugs. It’s time to take some “real hope” to the endangered human beings doing drugs on our filthy streets and wandering around our #Hate-filledCampuses looking for something worth believing in.” @GallaghersPen quote. (Click here to Tweet)

Check out Ron’s new book, “Right Side Up Thinking in an Upside Down World ~ Looking at the World through the Lens of Biblical Truth.”

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About Ron Gallagher, Ed.S

Author, Speaker, Bible Teacher, Humorist, Satirist, Blogger ... "Right Side Up Thinking ~ In an Upside Down World." For Ron's full bio, go to GallaghersPen.com/about/
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4 Responses to Spiritual Decline ~ Not Just a Catholic Crisis

  1. JOANN Williams says:

    Amen & Amen Ron! You are so right! It saddens my heart to think of what all those boys went through & how it has affected their lives! Also it saddens me to see our churches declining. People do not have there priorities in place & they put everything else before God! We as Christians have to show those that have back slidden that God comes first! We have to share the good news. Ron you are so blessed with your writing capabilities! I enjoy your articles. God bless

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    • Thank you so much for your encouraging note, JoAnn. We were praying for you recently and I wanted to check on the outcome of the medical procedures you were anticipating the last time we talked. We’re trusting the Lord along with you and hoping they were successful in granting you some relief. We love you guys and are trusting the Lord that things are going well for both of you, and that we get to see you again soon. Meanwhile, God bless you for the fearless stand you take for God’s truth. We’re blessed to know you’re out there in the ranks doing all you can do to keep the light shining

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  2. Our spiritual revival, I agree, must begin with each one of us, Ron. Your suggestions as to how to go about it are perfect! In the meantime, let us never stop praying for the spiritual health of our country.
    Blessings!

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    • Once again, Martha, we’re on the same page, and the reinforcement you send along is so welcome. My prayer is that your steadfast faithfulness will continue to encourage those professing “Christians” around you to get engaged in the ways that are potentially transformational before we totally lose the freedom to do it. The alarm’s been going off for a long time now, but we’ve grown so comfortable in our climate controlled worship centers that most of us seem to be just hitting the “snooze” button and hoping it will magically go away. God bless–and hang in there!

      Like

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