"The void within" chronicles the sad state of the Roman Catholic Church in Europe. In desperate decline and plagued by sex scandals, the Church is losing ground faster than ever throughout all of Europe, including Poland.
Governments have become impatient with what they regard as Rome's stonewalling investigations into parishioner abuse by Catholic priests. Some have already taken over investigations and others are threatening to, thus eliminating Rome's centuries-old tradition of managing its own affairs, thank you very much.
Public confidence in the Church has plummeted, as have attendance numbers and vocations. The Church is drying up even as the rapid pace of secularization proceeds unchecked all over the continent. While there will always be a handful of faithful, the Church, The Economist opines, "is not so much shrinking as dying."
Scandals among leaders, moral compromise among members, wide tolerance of doctrinal differences, and a tone of arrogance with respect to the rest of the population are all making the Catholic Church an institution to be avoided. Could the same happen to the evangelical Church in America?
After all, many evangelical leaders have yielded to the temptations of the flesh. The morality of Church members doesn't much rise above that of the unchurched - if at all. And a "holier-than-thou" attitude surfaces in the face of social and moral issues which just about everyone finds offensive if not disgusting. What can keep the American Church from shrinking or dying as well?
Revival. Only revival - a work of God's Spirit which He brings in response to tears of repentance and much pleading for His help on the part of God's people. Only revival can keep the Church in America from going the way of the Roman Catholic Church in Europe.
And revival, if it is to begin, must begin with each one of us.
T. M. Moore
T. M. Moore
The present Administration is making a concerted effort to change the face of governance in this era of image and information. These past few weeks of trying to push through a health-care reform package offer a study in the new approach to governing President Obama and his cohort have determined to pursue.
Essentially, we might call this government by campaign. The President pursues his agenda of policies and programs as if each one were an item to be elected by the people. He trots around the country speaking at town hall meetings, rallies, and invitation-only events, holds more press conferences than any president in history, and makes deals with every hesitating lawmaker in order to ensure that the votes he needs will be there when he wants them. This looks more like the run-up to a party convention than the serious business of managing the public weal.
In governing a nation, elected officials are bound by law, precedent, and the processes of legislative creation and review. This in itself can be a rather nasty business, as backroom bargains and sweetheart deals are often added to the task of vote-getting when more noble appeals, such as to the common weal, fail to do the job. Add to this the incessant campaign rhetoric - rife with cliches, anecdotes, hyperbole, and spin - that has become the stock-in-trade of this Administration, and all semblance of good governance becomes swallowed up in the imperative of getting what the President wants. Almost nothing is pressed on the basis of Constitutional necessity, sound reason, or even common sense. What matters most is accomplishing an agenda, striking while the iron is hot, while Democrats still hold a majority, in order to further and fasten the grip of government on the lives of its citizens.
But can this constant cajoling, badgering, and promising everything to the public make us a stronger nation? Or will it only wear us down, until we give away more of our liberties to elite cadres of lawmakers in our nation's capital? Campaign rhetoric is temporal, trivial, and, very often, truthless. Government control over our lives and liberties, by contrast, is difficult to roll back. If we yield to the campaigning approach to governance, we can be sure of this much: more politicians will be fanning out to fan the flames for whatever might be the next big thing, promising us the moon but leaving us only with fewer liberties.
If I thought President Obama spent as much time talking with God about his policies as he does stumping for them around the country, I might be willing to give them a closer look. As it stands, I don't believe the President is interested in governing. What the President wants, it seems to me, is to win, and winning is the work of campaigns. Serving is the work of governance.
T. M. Moore
Unable to convince members of their own party to commit political suicide, Democratic leaders are contemplating the use of a procedure called, "deeming," to bring the health care reform bill to passage. In this procedure House members do not need to actually vote for the Senate bill; they can simply "deem" it to have passed, then amend it as they like before sending it back.
Sounds all very Constitutional, doesn't it? The sort of thing the Founders would have written into the document they hoped would inaugurate a "new order of the ages." Except, of course, they didn't. Turns out our contemporary politicos are turning the novis ordo seclorum into something right out of the pages of the most egregious, self-serving, and corrupt political orders of the past and present. Most astonishing of all, they're counting on us, the electorate, not noticing - or not caring.
The "deeming" procedure also goes by the name "the self-executing" procedure, referring to a bill's ability, magically, to execute itself into law. More likely, if this procedure is used, the "self-executing" will refer to those House members who support it. It's also called the "Slaughter" provision - and that, too, may have a prophetic element to it.
Let's face it: Democrats want this bill because of the control it gives them over the private sector of American life. But they don't want to take responsibility for it. We can almost imagine House members, as the dust settles after using this procedure, Saul-like, before their constituents back home: "I didn't vote for the health care bill; the Senate, they..." And so on.
It is not comforting to know that the affairs of the nation and the common weal are in the hands of spineless, self-serving schemers, or that our self-proclaimed Christian president would allow such a blatantly dishonest and deceitful tactic to be used in the pursuit of his agenda.
T. M. Moore