By Steve Graf
Today, I’m venturing away from my fishing stories by wrapping up 2022 and taking a hard look at where we are as a country. In so many ways 2022 was a great year, as we finally returned to a sense of normalcy. It seems like years ago that we were under mask mandates and trying to figure out the facts and fiction of Covid-19. It truly rocked our world like nothing ever has in my lifetime of 61 years. We’re still trying to make sense of what this disease brings with it and the lasting effects it could have for generations.
But for now, I am going in a different direction as I reveal my observations on where we are as a nation. First, politics has come to the forefront now that Trump is no longer in office but has declared he’s running for office again in 2024 as we’re halfway through the Biden years. Never can I remember in my years of living in this great country the political and moral division that exists today. America has truly lost her mind! Can I say that America is considered she or am I being sexist?
The 1960s might be the closest era we’ve seen that is similar to now. For one thing, we have allowed the minority groups and I don’t mean minority as in the African Americans, Mexican Americans or Italians, or any other demographic group that makes up this great nation. I’m talking about the one or two people in a crowd that don’t want the prayer or national anthem recited at a public event. Those that don’t want their kids exposed to Jesus in any shape or form.
So, who’s responsible for our nation turning its back on Jesus? EVERYONE!!! No one political party can excuse themselves from the plain and simple fact that we are a nation divided. Republicans and Democrats and their leadership from within are all guilty of fueling the flames of this division. I guess you could also say, we the people are to blame as well since we are the ones who voted these people into office. Yes, Trump had a hand as well with all of his idiotic Tweets and trying to communicate with Americans through social media…something no other President has ever done. While a lot of his policies were for the good of America, his mouth was nothing but pure venom and created a “pick a side” mentality.
As a church-going member of the First United Methodist Church, I’ve seen a decline in the number of people attending church. Recently I counted 24 empty pews out of 40 during a church service. More than half of the churches or churches all across this country are empty. People have walked away from the church but more devastating, they’ve walked away from God. Our schools and state officials have also taken God out of the equation with no one willing to challenge the powers that be to bring this one saving grace back.
The family dynamic has all but disappeared from the American landscape which used to be our foundation for what was right with this country. Divorce attorneys are in high demand and single-parent dwellings are on the rise. People no longer see the importance of family structure and the stability it brings to the younger generation. One common quote I hear so often amongst couples is, “I’m not happy.” I’m sorry, but I don’t recall seeing anywhere in my Christian upbringing where the good Lord promises happiness. But he has given us the tools and the playbook (Bible) to follow and work things out and to do what’s always in the best interest of the family and the children.
Kids need a mom and a dad under the same roof. This is critical for their total development as a boy or a girl. We have kids today who are so confused about who and what they are. Really?!!! This is a total lack of parenting and not being exposed to the Word of God. Do you remember the slogan a few years ago for educating our children? “No child left behind.” Well, we have left the children behind, and they will turn in whatever direction they can to get the answers they’re looking for. The problem is they’re turning to the wrong people and looking in the wrong places.
People have become so consumed with their own selfish needs that they have forgotten what’s really important. Couples’ ability to communicate effectively and fight hard to save their marriage no longer exists. It’s easier to give up and just get a divorce.
Meanwhile, our churches are empty, and we have turned our back on God, and we wonder why we are in the shape we’re in. If this one concept of getting back in the church does not return to the American landscape, we are doomed to fall not only from God’s grace but as a nation as well. We must start to rebuild our church base and bring back the family dynamics that are missing today. We must elect officials who have the same moral compass as the church. Know what and who the people you’re voting for are and what they represent. If we as Christians don’t rise up and redirect our nation, we will be at a point of no return and I’m not so sure we’re not already there.
For those of you that have made a point to acknowledge my articles this year, I say, “Thank you!” It always makes my day to know that what I’m writing has touched someone in a good way. I’m always very appreciative of the kind words you’ve sent my way in person, by text, or by email. I hope each of you has a healthy and prosperous 2023! See you on the other side! Until then, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget your sunscreen.
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