Every now and then you hear comparisons between nations and empires that came before and how our nation(s) compare to them. As Paul McCartney and Wings sang, “What’s wrong with that, I’d like to know, ’cause here I go, again . . .”
Since we are holding elections in the United States next week, I think I’ll remind us of a somewhat foreboding comparison from reading Edward Gibbon’s classic work about “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” One reason we keep talking about this work is that his assessment of Rome gives us cause to reflect on our own society.
Gibbons gives four causes of Rome’s fall that concern me for the United States and the first three concern me for Christianity as well.
- The rapid increase of divorce and the declining status of home and family.
- The pursuit of pleasure and entertainment over industry and hard work.
- The decay of religion where formality replaces active, living, vibrant faith.
- Higher taxes for larger government that feeds itself instead of dealing with the decadence of the people.
What do you think? Can you see the similarities in our society and in the church?
You and I can start to make changes to ourselves first and try to influence those around us to make needed changes before society completely collapses around us.
I close with lyrics by Matthew West’s song, Do Something
I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”
If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something