Thoughts to Ponder: The Erie Voice
In Today's Moral Dilemma, Where Do You Stand?
Three years ago the Board of Inter-Church Ministries of Erie County saw the need – in a tumultuous society that was ushered in by the election of the 45th President of the United States – to have today's students expand on their own understanding and interpretation of what they believed encompassed moral leadership. We instituted what we hope to be an annual scholarship to honor and reward moral and ethical leadership among the graduating high school seniors of Erie County High Schools. We wanted to keep the vision of today's students focused on the ability to not only think about moral leadership but define and explain its importance and impact upon their lives today and tomorrow and also its effects on the society in which they live.
In a society that seems to be defunct of moral and ethical practices, we wanted to acknowledge students. We also wanted to make them become cognizant of the fact that moral leadership was not a decaying abstract, but the cornerstone on which Christian and ethical values/principles could be the guiding light. In a world where the energy to produce a continual illuminating and bright light was being short-circuited by unforeseen electrical blackouts that leave us in the dark searching for our way, we are steadily trying to remember where we placed the candle or positioned the flashlight because we had not prepared for that event.
As it is extremely tough for seasoned adults to navigate through this current sea filled with the high and dangerous waves of lies, destruction of established norms, and the realization that trues are no longer trues. We are left to succumb to heightened emotionalism and archaic dogmas that have us being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine.
How do we expect the youth of today whose emerging growth patterns are being influenced and shaped by a laissez-faire attitude of anything goes and that accountability for personal actions are being replaced by the prevailing attitude of "because I can"?
We find our present-day society teetering in a San Andreas Fault moment, at anytime the solid ground on which we purportedly stand without any significant warning can crack and send us into a tailspin headed to oblivion.
The signals that we get before these fault lines begin to tremble and break apart and move us toward destruction are the indicators, no matter how subtle, of cracks in the wall that begins to destroy our established moral principles and erodes our capability to express moral leadership.
Though we do not live in a perfect world there are foundational stones that allow us to build not a "Tower of Babel" but rather a "Kingdom of Peace".
We are teetering on this slippery slope that culminates in a downward spiral that will lead us into an abyss that will be too deep to climb out of and too dark to see the light of the approaching day.
I believe that scripture informs us that "young men are called because they are strong and old men because they know the way". It would be very pragmatic if we continually ask as the disciples did, "we know not where you are going and neither do, we know the way". There is a way out of this morass, this dark shadow that hides the light of a better day when Christ replies to his disciples then as he replies to his disciples today, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life".
We are given the rallying cry to Make America Great Again in order to stimulate and propagate an economic and social agenda that completely shutters the hopes, dreams and moral integrity embodied in our sacred institution that says, "all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness". This rallying cry is one that stifles moral transformation and personal regeneration. Greatness does not find its birth in powerless cliques nor muddled and vague soundbites but rather germinates in the heart and soul of those who believed as John did that Christ would do a "new thing" as we cast off the old man and his deeds and put on the new man who is clothed in righteousness.
Joshua as he stood with his tribesmen on the entrance to the Promised Land saw and witnessed the moral depravity and degradation of his people, witnessed their inconsistencies, their serving of the gods of the moment and not the God of eternity and he realized that greatness lies within the confines of one's own personal decisions and choices when he proclaimed as the appointed moral leader. "as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord".
The decisions that we tend to make or not make are the precursors that determine our greatness. The line in the sand has been drawn, the challenge extended, and the eternal question asked in a time such as this, "where do you stand"?