Anyone coming of age in the 1960’s felt the winds of change in the air.
Now half a century later those winds are blowing again, circling the globe, howling stronger than ever.
At a Christmas gathering with my adult children in December of 2019, I passed along to them a conviction that had been growing for months. I told them that maybe not in my lifetime, but certainly within their lifetimes, America would no longer look like the America we once knew.
They asked what I meant, but I couldn’t pin it down. It was just something palpable. I wish I had been wrong.
The tides of history are turning.
Among other things, thought and discourse have changed dramatically in a very short period of time. What was known as Renaissance thinking, which fueled the engine of creativity in the West for the last 400 years, is now frowned upon on college campuses. Even the specious “Higher Critical” thinking of the 90’s, which was more authoritarian than either high or critical, has passed off the scene.
The newest talk advocates “Westlessness”–which sadly needs no explanation.
Irrationality, absurdity, and becoming quite comfortable with proclaiming boldly that which is known to be untrue have overtaken modern thought like a blitzkrieg. Before long, someone will rename the north and south poles, for no good reason whatsoever.
“Why are we throwing away that which worked perfectly well up until yesterday?” asks Douglas Murray in an interview with Peter Robinson entitled The Death of Europe.
The climactic line from Alban Berg’s famous opera Wozzeck summarizes the post-modern experience decades before its time: “Man is an abyss, and when one looks into it, one feels giddy.”
Like passing a trainwreck, modern man can’t seem to stop looking into the abyss.
Can we even continue to use the term “modern man” any more or should we defer to one of the new gender-neutral terms, lest someone chuck a brick in our direction? That’s a new, disturbing feeling.
Language isn’t the only crumbling pillar of present culture. Our paper money will soon be gone—we were asked to place confidence in it for decades but what now? At least two states are beginning to amass gold reserves hoping to give their residents a sense of security, separate from the Fed. And recently five counties in the state of Oregon have begun the seccession process, courting annexation with Idaho. The borderless “Region States” described decades ago in the Foreign Affiars Quarterly look like they just might become a reality, not only within the US but around the world.
Even five years ago none of these topics would have been on the table.
If things are changing, perhaps one era is ending and another beginning. But before all the apocalyptic events of the end times occur, the previous epoch must come to a close. Could that be what we are witnessing, the closing of an era?
Planting a spring garden, the thought came to me: Why are living things propagated by seeds?
A seed contains all the nutrients needed including moisture, to completely create a seedling with leaves and roots, ready to absorb all that it needs from the sunshine and the soil.
Jesus said, (my paraphrase) “Until a seed of corn falls into the ground and dies it remains alone, just one seed. But if it is buried within the earth and dies, it brings forth much fruit.” (John 12:24)
One seed can produce one stalk with one ear of corn with a thousand new kernels of corn, each capable of becoming another seed also.
Until we die to self we remain static, alone, unproductive.
Not by physical death, but by spiritual identification with Jesus Christ in His death, burial and resurrection for us, do we become fruitful, able to do the work God gives us in love.
May I submit that we are the workmanship of God. Rather than us working to please God, He works that which is good within us, the work of grace.
All of Creation may be moving toward the completion of that over-arching work of redemption in the lives of people everywhere. It could be that this period known as the Age of Grace may be coming to a close soon. Once completed, something new will come to pass.
The winds of change are blowing across America and across the world again.