Framing Our Thinking
Years ago, I purchased a book titled, Forms; Footings; Foundations; Framing. It helped me understand why each element is important to the structure’s integrity, and especially the need for fasteners.
Later, I rented a hillside house that looked good, except that the rear foundation wall was cracked from top to bottom. A contractor, inspecting it, slipped his hand into the spot where a deep footer should have been, and recommended non-purchase.
I learned a lesson about proper foundations, and later, began to consider the similarity between construction elements and fasteners, and the connecting links in rational thinking. In other words, the debate formed dictates the way the discussion is built; hence, the veracity of the conclusion is contingent upon foundational integrity.
Several years ago, I began to investigate the rhetoric surrounding the innocuous-sounding idea of “tolerance.” It was readily apparent that something was being manipulated in the language to change the way we think.
Here is how it works: I have an attitude about something; though not popular, my intention is to change the way it is viewed by others. If I can put opponents on the defensive, I am half-way to my goal. By drawing attention to superficial rather than foundational elements, I have closed the deal. If the finished product is reprehensible in its original intent, all I have to do to put opposing forces on the defensive again is cry “intolerant.” The desired premise becomes “the innocent victim,” and those who would question my intent have become perpetrators.
One advantage of age is having had experience as a teacher. I remember when churches were the cornerstones of society; in fact, Christian values were the standard of a God-fearing people. We were not merely tolerant but instead, affirming of that which was in accord with basic family-centered values.
We recognized something that Robin Morgan, former editor of Ms. Magazine, (“We can’t destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage.”) will not acknowledge: the integrity of our definition of family, and our support of that, is central to our security now and forever.
Life was lived with respect for absolutes, and was known to be a cooperative venture within the parameters of mutually beneficial guidelines. Our ‘teeth were cut’ on the Golden Rule.
Along came the late Sixties, when rebellion was the Rule of the Day. Young people were encouraged to “think outside the box,” as if everything within the ‘box’ was unworthy of real attention. Rejecting authority was only the beginning; reaction became the new response as the framing of our dialogue made a paradigmatic shift from objective to subjective; the Authority of Almighty God became subjugated to personal preferences, removing barriers to the rejection of holy standards.
Somebody (in a pink cloud) said that God was dead, and others either thought it was plausible or didn’t care. Questioning the Unquestionable put the church on the defensive as the world around us began the free-fall that continues today. In 2014, we are now the victims of society askew.
Memory is a wonderful thing, but when I view our current society, it is with sad remembrance of our lost heritage. People run to and fro with little apparent thought of where our national apostasy is leading us. Cultural significance is predominant, and entertainment is dimming our sights of life’s goal.
We brag about unity in diversity as we find ourselves rapidly descending into the cesspool of uniformity. The “melting pot” has become less like a good stew and more like an open sewer, and the cost of sanitizing it is escalating daily.
“Live and let live” has become our national mantra, while we build more and bigger prisons to hold the true victims of our disinterest. Justice has become a mockery debated in “moot” courts by young, aspiring-to-be-highly-paid law students, and acted out more dangerously in our courtrooms, while true justice eludes a yearning people. It seems obvious to everyone that we have got off track.
If anyone wishes to declare that I have brought up several issues with no solutions, let me remind all that I have an encompassing one: a thorough study of the Bible. Throughout it, we are challenged to “study to show [ourselves] approved unto God, a workman who needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
We have this priceless treasure, yet typical college-graduate contestants on TV shows like “Jeopardy” seldom do well in biblical categories – mostly because they haven’t considered its’ value for a well-rounded education. It is to be granted that church membership has been – as in the days of Constantine – given to almost anyone capable of verbal agreement to a few principles, and going through the ritual of initiation; that is a disgusting deception that CAN be remedied by a thorough adherence to the Epistles of John (I, II & III).
David A. Williams