One of the most troubling verses of scripture for me to understand and live by is 1 Thessalonians 4:11-13:
"Make it your ambition to lead a peaceful and quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."
I dare you to try to live your life like this?
And if you do I guarantee you will be accused of being a selfish cold-hearted person who doesn't care about your community. You will be considered elitist. And you will be held responsible for not paying for the problems of everyone else.
In fact, since you are so selfish, politicians have no problem giving you the IRS shakedown to get you to pay your fare share! You're found guilty for good livin'. What's "good livin'" you ask?
Remember when summers seemed so innocent? You played sand-lot ball until 5:00, and came home to eat your mom's tuna fish casserole. Your dad would be there sitting at the table with a loosened tie because he just got home from work, and after saying "grace", he would begin the table talk by asking you what you did all day. And then, after dinner he promised to throw the baseball with you right after he took the dog for a walk.
People, back in the day, seemed content with simplicity. You never had to worry if your next door neighbor was a sexual pervert because he was too busy "minding his own business" cutting the lawn or throwing baseballs with his own kids. Those where the days when dad worked hard, saved, and your big vacation was meeting up with your cousins for the weekend in small town Americana. Our cousins lived in Perrysville, Ohio and we would go canoeing for our "big" fun. (No Disney....sad...I know)
Nowadays, people have said "good riddance" to that kind of living. In fact, the educated intelligentsia blame that kind of "Leave it to Beaver" living for all of America's problems. It is too clean, too simple, too false. Now, Ward Cleaver is categorized as a male chauvinist and June Cleaver is seen as the victimized repressed & oppressed woman who is enslaved to a life of drudgery in the kitchen.
Ward and June are to be ridiculed, despised and mocked. It is argued in the Ivy League Schools of our country, that this model of family is what has really been the true curse of the U.S. What we need is some honest dysfunction & liberation to really be living "true to ourselves." June needs to dump Ward and go out clubbing with her gal pals after working at her career....making a name for herself. Ward needs "to find himself" because he may be gay after all?
If you read columns from today's social experts, we should all be ashamed of ourselves for wanting to live in peace and quiet. That is why I now daily walk around loaded down with heavy guilt. Especially as a pastor, when someone has an addiction, or has left his wife; somehow "I know" it is all my fault ; I should have seen it coming or stopped living in my self-centered world and prevented it. It is my fault for not being there. It's my fault for wanting to spend much of my time, "minding my own business" and trying to raise my kids in a healthy home. My foundational failure is my inability to relate to, and constantly care for, the people who are marginalized and at risk because they have not been raised as privileged and lucky as me!
It's my fault that I want to be able to keep some of the money I worked hard for. It's my fault people sin.
Truly, I feel guilty for being raised right. I feel guilty for wanting men to be men, women to be women, and having neighbors that are not sex fiends. I feel guilty for wanting to spend my free-time with just my family to enjoy a Saturday at the beach without needing to rescue a person in crisis. I even feel guilty that I am a male; and I am ashamed to admit it, but I don't want my son to wear women's clothes.
Boys wearing women's clothes is weird, isn't it? Not anymore they tell me, and I should quit being so judgmental of the other boys that do. (Who are "they" by the way?)
And the worst guilt I carry above all, is that I am white. I'm sorry, God did that to me...
As I look back on my childhood I realize that it wasn't perfect. I did have some difficulties...my sister is mentally retarded (yep, that is the word we used), my dad was a busy traveling salesman and as a result he could only go to one or two of my games a year. My sisters had strange boyfriends. We had to eat leftovers.
I even had to get a job in the summer...mean parents!
But for some reason, I never felt victimized by the system...and no one owed me anything! In fact I kind of liked having to learn to wait for dinner, it made the taste that much better.
Well, those days of simplicity are long gone. With the death of Ward and June, we now have "Modern Family" instead. According to the current social engineers, "Victory has been won!" Sure it is more colorful, hilarious, and it is exciting when no one knows who should be dad, or mom, or even how brother and sister should dress. But don't be surprised or shocked when in real life the 65 year old next door neighbor solicits your children for a sexual hook-up over social media. Or your daughter's camp leader is a 45 year old man who wants to sleep in the girls tent.
With confusion comes corruption. Goodbye peace, so long quiet. And welcome to "it takes a village," or more apropos ... "it takes a trailer park."