Spiraling Out of Control

Spiraling Out of Control

A recent poll found that 80% of Americans believe the country is “spiraling out of control.”

The Wall Street Journal/NBC News conducted the survey during the Black Lives Matter protests, but what seemed to bother Americans the most was not so much the civil unrest. The same study found that two-thirds of Americans agree with the protests and were more troubled over the police killing of George Floyd than they were about the looting, vandalism and violence that sometimes broke out during the demonstrations.

The findings suggest a widespread disillusionment. When those sworn to enforce the law break the law, things are out of control. When a nation founded on the principles of freedom and equality is still struggling with racism, things are out of control. Disenchantment with the government, our politics and the culture are all contributing to the sense that America is coming apart.

The COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown have added to the perception of the lack of control. Not only is the pandemic seemingly out of control, making Americans fear for their lives, but the shutdown intended to slow the pandemic has taken away Americans’ control over their own lives.

The national emergency has meant that Americans have not been in control of what they do or where they go. They have not been allowed to go to work, operate their businesses, go shopping, go to a restaurant, travel, go to church or even leave the house. Americans are used to being in control of their lives, not being controlled.

With the pandemic, the shutdown, police brutality, protests, riots, economic collapse and political turmoil, no wonder Americans feel that their country is spiraling out of control. 

But that can be a dangerous feeling. Out-of-control societies often lurch to the other extreme, from chaos to totalitarianism. The French Revolution led first to the Reign of Terror and then to the dictatorship of Napoleon. The Russian Revolution overthrew the czar, but after a period of social disorder reverted to Communism, which controlled the entire society. Germany’s Weimar Republic spiraled out of control, leading to the tyranny of National Socialism.

Americans should not give up on their ideals and institutions. Those very ideals — such as freedom, equality and inalienable rights — make it possible to reform those institutions when they fall short.

Christians should also realize that even in our current year of troubles, God still reigns. Ultimately, despite sin and its consequences, despite trials and tribulations, He has everything under control.

2 thoughts on “Spiraling Out of Control”

  1. Dr. Veith is correct out with his historical examples. It seems at times that people may feel that God has abandoned mankind. We look for the quick fix but that may not be in God’s plan. Sometimes it is easier to look at the chaos around us and say “Jesus better come quick.” Or “God’s punishing us.” It could be, we don’t know when Jesus will return and we certainly deserve the judgment of the Lord.
    But and that’s a big But. Is God giving Christians an opportunity to grow His Church? Is this a time for a rebirth of Christian values and Christian love? Is this a time for Christians to become the church militant? Is a time for revival (sorry Lutherans for the R-word)?
    Yes, it’s true we show who we are by our compassion and helping people in distress and those who are helped are grateful, at least for the moment. What do we leave with them beside a full belly or a repaired roof, etc? It seems to me that despite all of the efforts on the part of Christian churches of every denomination we fall short of bringing people to join in the march toward the open arms of Christ. Why? Perhaps it is our desire to not make waves in society.
    We live in a society that is hardly Biblical. I think Christians haven’t been this persecuted since the Romans stopped feeding us to the lions. Those Saints of the past are shaking their heads and wondering “Is this what we died for? Where is the church courageous in Christ?”
    Finally, the point and I’m not apologizing for being political. Never in the history of the United States has there been an administration so favorable to the church or has proclaimed the support of Christianity as the current one. Sinners though they may be their support of the church of Jesus Christ is unequaled. Is this a message from Christ? Is this the time for the church to sound the trumpet? Is this the time to save the unborn? Is it time for us to take a stand as the old hymn says “Stand up, Stand up for Jesus ye soldiers of the Cross lift high His Royal Banner.” We are at the crossroads, which shall we choose? Think about it.

    1. Yes, It is time for the church to sound the trumpet – better late than never. Pastors take great strides to avoid political issues, even when those issues have moral implications in our society. We are not only in a culture war but also a spiritual war and the church remains neutral.

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