It’s appropriate to quote Thomas Jefferson’s opinion on the teachings of Jesus this Easter. “Of all the systems of morality, ancient or modern, which have come under my observation, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus.” There is no better time for the LIFE community to hit full speed. A state of moral and spiritual decline is linked to the fragmentation of our country’s communities. As the media and entertainment industries take charge of our values, our people lose connection and committment. This feeds the political elite as the power and influence shifts from the local communities. The result is a significant void in the actual structure of communities that are in dire need of restoration. This is the focus of the business of LIFE.
Community connections have value described as social capital. Let’s look at the decline in social capital as researched from Charles Murrey’s book ‘Coming Apart’:
- Percentage voted in a presidential election…Down 22%
- Attended a public meeting on town or school affairs …Down 35%
- Parents with children under age 18 who are members of the PTA…Down 61%
- Percentage of families who eat together…Down 69%
- Social capital...DOWN
The founders recognized that if a society is to remain free, all individuals must govern their own behavior. Does everyone see the damage to the heart of the communities of the West? New words like ‘rootlessness’ and ‘defriend’ have become popular and are now in the dictionary. People have not only left home physically but spiritually. Are we becoming victims as our society declines? Many people feel they are merely cogs in the machine which is adding to wide spread hopelessness. They think, why try, which feeds generalized apathy.
Henry Link wrote in his book ‘Rediscovery of Man’, “As personalities become weaker, they become also more receptive to the promises of politicians who would give them the abundant life for still less effort. The wealthy are already slaves to their possessions. The comparatively poor are rapidly selling their freedom for mere promises of greater abundance.” He added, "All such plans are steps in the enslavement of individuals, even though they voluntarily surrender their responsibilities to the state." Francis Gund, son of a German baron, and educated in Vienna wrote, “Change the domestic habits of the Americans, their religious devotions, and their high respect for morality, and it will not be necessary to change a single letter of the Constitution in order to vary the whole form of their government.”
The potential for decline in moral values is directly connected to the weakening of the community. We don't need new answers to reverse the downward spiral.
How do we begin restoration? What better way to find out than to consult the founders of the longest known Democratic Republic. Benjamin Franklin said, ”Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” James Madison said, “To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people is a chimerical idea.” Patrick Henry stated, “Bad men cannot make good citizens… No free government, or blessings of liberty can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue.” Let’s not forget George Washington who said, “of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable…forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
The responsibility of restoring community begins with ourselves. “Virtue alone is sufficient to make a man great, glorious and happy”, according to Benjamin Franklin. It’s time to take the challenge. Orrin Woodward has gone back into the archives of some of the brightest minds in community building. In his new book 'Resolved 13 Resolutions for LIFE’, he outlines a mental fitness program that will make a difference and begin to restore community. Let’s put LIFE back into the community. God Bless, George Guzzardo