The Day After

We’ll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgment of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again

The change, it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the foe, that’s all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain’t changed
‘Cause the banners, they’re all flown in the next war

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again

     — The Who: Won’t Get Fooled Again

Well, “The times, they are a changin’“, aren’t they?

Needless to say, I’m not very happy about yesterday’s outcome, although hardly surprised. Bad news on a number of fronts, actually — Initiative 1000 in Washington, legalizing physician-assisted suicide, has passed as well. The victors are, as we speak, celebrating the great news that “The doctor will kill you now.” How special — how very, very special.

A dark day for the culture of life, I’d have to say …

So I’ve decided — since change is in the air, or so they say — it’s time to “take a bow to the new revolution” and make some changes myself. So here’s the Change I Can Believe In™, my hopey-changitude to-do list.

First, I’ll be taking the time for some gratitude. Not for this outcome, to be sure, but for the privilege of living in a land where free choices — even bad ones — may be made, without threat or coercion. Gratitude that we will not have to endure a dozen Floridas, with hanging chads and hovering lawyers, tearing our nation to shreds in a scorched-earth scuffle for power. Gratitude that this endless election season is finally over, at least for a few months, until it starts all over again, like some endlessly-looped airport infomercial.

Next, I’ll be taking some time to mourn. Not about the fact that my guy lost, and theirs won — such is the normal stuff of electoral politics, the ebb and flow of a democracy. Win some, lose some, life goes on. Or so we hope.

No, I will mourn about deeper things than vote totals and electoral counts. Mourn about a great nation, which has lost its way and its bearings, having exchanged the moral consensus of the Founders for the moral floundering of postmodernism. Mourn about a people so easily misled by a confidence man, so quick to ignore character and embrace ephemeral visions of change with little consideration of where such change might lead. Mourn over the triumph of the superficial over the substantial. Mourn over our repeated failure to learn history’s lessons, to choose a happy illusion while a dangerous and unstable world percolates, a boiling cauldron just out of view of our blinkered and blissful myopia.

Yes, I will mourn over a once-noble nation, born in faith and self-sacrifice, now choosing death over life, frivolity over faith, pandering over productivity, selfishness over sacrifice. We will never again see, never again be what we once were.

Next it will be time to prepare. The times ahead do not look at all promising, despite hubristic boasts about changing the world and pompous claims of a new tomorrow. It is time to look hard at finances at home and in my business, to trim the frivolous and wasteful; time to stockpile basic goods and discard the worthless flotsam of years of materialistic accumulation.

Then it will be time to look at life’s priorities: work, home, family, spirituality. I plan to work hard for the remainder of the year, earning as much as possible — for in January the game changes, and I will reduce my income accordingly. I can learn to live comfortably on less — and working 60-hour weeks makes little sense when much of the fruit of that labor will be taken from me to satisfy that which is perversely called “fairness.” I plan to give more generously, take more free time, get more involved in my church, exercise more, spend more time with my wife, who has tolerated far too many years of my long hours and late nights.

Time, too, to shut out much of the noise which has become the norm. No reason to read newspapers or watch TV news — the information they provide is neither valuable nor truthful, and is best ignored, serving only to confuse and propagandize. Far too much time is wasted on the web; popular political blogs — even those with whom I agree — serve mainly to keep one’s outrage at fever pitch. Time to find those sites with thoughtful essays and content which nurtures the spirit — and be disciplined even here: it is far too easy to waste time on the urgent and entertaining while ignoring the important.

And most importantly, the spiritual: it is time to get serious, single-minded, committed. No more cheap grace. Time to tackle those strongholds of weakness which have plagued me for years; time to be honest, practice integrity with a passion, and memorize Scripture again. Time to be disciplined in prayer, daily: prayer for our President (yes, especially), prayer for our leaders, prayer for our country, prayer for revival and conversion. There is no more powerful force which we possess; it is long past time to stop treating it as a useful tool to satisfy our self-centered desires and dig in, on our knees, like our lives depend on it — which they most certainly do.

It is easy to be discouraged, to cringe at the boastful celebrations and scream in frustration at the corruption, deception, and arrogance. To do so is wasteful of time and energy — gifts far too precious to be squandered. We cannot change a corroded and corrupt culture from the outside in; the change must come from within, one heart, one life at a time. And now seems like an excellent time to start — and the best place to start is with me.

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10 thoughts on “The Day After

  1. Thanks for a good post, and an absolutely perfect visual. Our people have been beguiled by the Pied Piper!

  2. hi Dr. Bob – I’ve been checking in on you daily and appreciating your wisdom. Agree totally, as always. It’s a special time, a time for reflection and discernment and hope. We are required by faith to be optimistic. Certain requirements of being a BELIEVER make one wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Lord.

    I have no idea how things are going to pay out. The naivete and crassness of fellow citizens give one pause. Your latest posting just about hits it right. My life is chock full of left-wing people. Frankly it’s most of my family. And they are good people, quality people. Just naive people. Faithless people.

    I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate your thoughts and deeds. We are moving into a different kind of time, like you said. We will never be what we once were. So strikingly odd to consider. I guess some national humility is heading our way.

    Anyway, enough of all that. Are you aware of Michael O’Brien? He’s an extraordinarily fine writer, an artist and novelist, somewhere in the wilds of Canada. Spend an hour or two with his writings and you will feel invigorated, I promise!

    That’s about all I have to offer on this pretty solemn occasion. Please keep writing, it’s so important these days…jess

  3. Agree…. especially about the blogs. I am, this morning, cutting my own list back to about one third of what it has been these past two years.

  4. Excellent summation, Doctor. Your blog will remain on my pared-down list. I am sharing your post with others in the hope that it will inspire them to make needed changes, and I will be making changes in my lifestyle long before time for “New Year’s Resolutions”. Thank you for your insights and your faithfulness to the truth.— Rosemary

  5. Well put, Doctor, thanks. I know God is in this and He’ll work it out to his purpose, but I still wish I could do more. Maybe that’s only pride, but I do have pride in this great country and I’d hate to see it go downhill…..

  6. Wonderful post, Bob. And might I suggest that as we cut back on frivolous activites and diversions even on the Web that the best, most transforming reading of all each day is God’s own blog. Nothing can inform, guide and change us on a daily basis more than the time we spend in the Word. Followed by deep prayer.

  7. “Yes, I will mourn over a once-noble nation, born in faith and self-sacrifice, now choosing death over life, frivolity over faith, pandering over productivity, selfishness over sacrifice. We will never again see, never again be what we once were.”

    To this I would add that our society also chooses artificiality over reality. I see this not only in the constant triumph of style over substance in so many professional areas, but in the vicarious worship of celebrity, the increase in cosmetic surgery, anonymous social networking (or worse) via the internet, etc.

    Anyway, thank you, Dr. Bob for another excellent post.

  8. Doc, this post calls out to be re-read, several times. You have put those things that are needed into great perspective and order.

    I, too, have been in mourning, with all its sadness and anger and disbelief. I don’t understand how good people, Christ-followers, folks who would agree that children are God’s best work could vote for a man whose track record and statements reveal such disdain for life that he would vote “no” on that Hitler-esque procedure known euphemisticaly as “partial-birth abortion.” I don’t understand how people who value marriage as it was intended by our Creator could vote for a man who cozies up to those who want to redefine that relationship. Nor do I understand how people who really believe that Christians should be at the forefront of giving charitably of themselves and their money to ease the horrors of poverty around the world could vote for a man whose own personal giving, last year, amounted to less than 1% of his income. But they did. Where is the discernment?

    Okay, I hereby promise to stop my recitations, begin practicing some gratitude for God’s great gifts and His sovreignty, love and grace. I will begin to practice trusting Him; I need that practice, because I’m not very good at it. And I will print out your list and put it on the wall behind my desk, writ large enough to read from my chair.

    Thanks, once again, for putting so much of what has been in my own thoughts into well-chosen and ordered words. And God bless you.

  9. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

    While I am not in your country, I have watched with interest the course of events in recent times. It is a challenge not to be disheartened at the changes taking place in the world, at the abandonment of Godly values.

    It has been encouraging simply to find people who didn’t fall for the, “any promise of change must be a good thing” rhetoric.

  10. Bob, Very thoughtful piece but I happen to think it will be the first time in many years that there is a chance of our country having hope for the future and being more united in now our multicultural society. I know we think differently and will have to find time to discuss the election results further. keep writing. It is very well done. Love Ray

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