Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Civilitas

Did you know September 17 was Constitution Day? This day commemorates the ratification of the United States' Constitution on September 17, 1787. It was a celebration of our rights and responsibilities as a citizen. It was also a time to reflect on how we are doing with our civilitas -- our civility -- our politeness, if you will.

So how are we doing? Is it just me or are we witnessing a decline in our civility towards one another? The news today is filled with half-truths, evasive talk, provocative comments, and the strident and often hostile responses those comments produce. Screaming, vilifying, threatening, belittling, disrespecting and so forth seems to be erupting in all areas of our lives -- sports, show biz, Congress, and even driving down the highway. Where there was once sportsmanship, respect, and politeness, now we have other adjectives to describe society.

But why now? Could it be we have placed too much emphasis on individualism to the end we have lost a connection to the greater society? Could it be we are frustrated and angry at increasing demands and restraints placed on us? Could it be we see something of value is being taken from us? Could it be we see our way of life will be unduly legislated, or that our financial security will vanish, or that our homes and families will be ripped away from us, or that our values will no longer be tolerated and respected, or that, perhaps, even our country will cease to respect our freedoms?

Is this a time to tear down or build up...a time to be silent or a time to speak?

What is a guy to do? Perhaps now is the time to step up and become a group of Christians that is a healing community, proclaiming God's far-reaching love and unconditional grace, speaking the truth, offering pardon, reconciliation, and hope to those who feel passed over, left out, and misused.

Perhaps we need to proclaim our civilitas in all we do, say, and think.

1 comment :

Enwood said...

On the drive into work today I heard the results of a survey showing that a vast majority of Americans believe that incivility has increased over the past five years. This no surprise: incivility is indeed the result of Western individualism run amok. Sin makes us self-centered as it is; to hold up the individual as the most important social unit allows that self-centered sin to have free reign, to the detriment of all other social structures. Humble repentance and the work of the Holy Spirit moving our hearts from self-absorption to other-centered is the answer--but that means there are no easy fixes or over-night changes.