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Is God real? Does God have an interest in the lives of individuals?

As you think about those questions I want to present a couple of essays written by college students with very different outlooks on the world around us, and what is essential in life. The premise of the essays were somewhat open-ended related to the topic, but more importantly each essay shows the beliefs of the students.

The first essay was written by a non-Christian that did not believe in God, and especially did not think that the God of the Bible was relative or essential to the lives of every human. The topic was the Counter Culture Revolution of the sixties, and the benefit, revolution, and impact it had on America and the world.

The second essay was written by a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, and someone who trusted in God alone as a solution to America’s problems and the problems of individual people.

Please take a few minutes to read each of these two essays, and after I will explain the point I am making.

Here is the first essay written about the Counter Culture revolution:

4/10/09

History 9

The Allure of Haight-Ashbury Counterculture in the Sixties

            Why were the 1960s such a turbulent and revolutionary time in the America?  What were the main reasons American youth was looking so desperately to find a radically new way to express themselves? In order to answer that question, you must look at the events that led up to the sixties. American society in the 1950s was considered a quiet society, meaning people generally did not stray far from the social status quo even if they disagreed with the world around them. This cookie-cutter society caused the youth of America to begin to question the path that had been laid out for them, and want to twist the straight and narrow into a knot of revolution. In the sixties, young people across America began to lash out and express themselves in many different ways from fashion to art to literature, as well as enter an age of self indulgence never before seen in America. At the center of all this was the Haight-Ashbury sector of San Francisco. “The Haight” became the grassroots base for the counterculture revolution that was spreading across the U.S., as new, seemingly outrageous ideas poured out into mainstream culture.[1] People flocked to this pocket of San Francisco because of the allure of an exciting and meaningful culture taking form in the Haight and the urge to break away from the lingering rigidity of the previous era being felt at home.

First, the Haight-Ashbury section did not wake up one foggy morning and become the unofficial hub of a nation’s Cultural Revolution. A group called the beatniks had inhabited the Haight during the fifties. They were an anti-materialistic group of hipsters that enjoyed art, jazz, and questioning the American Hierarchy. Their actions and views opened the door for the hippie movement to come to fruition and many beats would eventually crossover and join the counterculture society. One example is the powerful poem “Howl” written by Allen Ginsberg in 1956.[2] He brought many feelings to the surface, including feeling lost in American society, as well as hitting on a myriad of other issues in a very radical way that would help set the tone for the next generation. Writers like Jack Kerouac would serve as icons and their books as roadmaps to the youth of the sixties as they struggled to reshape their world.

Another aspect of the era leading up to the sixties was the radical music of the fifties that started rock and roll. Imagine listening to nothing but Bing Crosby and Glen Miller until one day in 1956 Little Richard comes screaming on to your radio yelling about Tutti Frutti. Then imagine your head exploding as your eardrums pound your brain like never before. Elvis, Little Richard, and others brought a crazy new sound that seemed to be from another dimension. Their music was so radical it was banned and outlawed around the country; it was even considered a sin to listen or dance to Elvis by some pockets of society. This radical musical revolution would cut a path for the rockers of the hippie era because although the sixties music was revolutionary in its own right, people like Elvis had already endured a Jackie Robinson like welcome to the music world.

Moving forward, the sixties are well documented for the immense self-indulgence and outlandish behavior that was part of the counterculture revolution. It is easy to see why middle-class college students would be drawn to free-spirited rock concerts and mind-altering drugs. But there is more to Haight-Ashbury culture than sex, drugs and rock and roll. New levels of religious exploration were being attained, as Haight inhabitants would frequently start their day by studying Buddhism, reading the Koran, or simply looking over their tarot cards. This embodied the absolute freedoms the generation was looking for. Instead of cinching up your tie and going to church every Sunday because that was normal and acceptable, people were living in hippie pads and practicing any and every religion available. Religious exploration was one of the pillars the Haight’s counterculture movement was based on. Going against one of America’s core values like the Christian religion was one of the strongest ways a generation could announce they didn’t like what was going on around them and they were determined to do something different. Imagine the appeal for a student in the Midwest that was growing distant and insensitive to the everyday grind of his/her social climate. Breaking away from the church they grew up with and not having to care what the neighbors think, but instead being celebrated by their new neighbors in the Haight as they indulge in any sort off spiritualism they choose.  Also, there was an intertwined relationship between Christian ideals and the right wing mindset that many young people desperately wanted to separate themselves from because many of those ideals were crumbling in the sixties. The church was such an intimidating staple of American society, that breaking from it was enormous medium for America’s youth to show they were serious about change.

Next, the Haight produced many types of art and poetry. One example was the introduction of psychedelic art that was seen all over the Haight. A blend of vivid colors and distorted characteristics, psychedelic art was meant to duplicate the view of the world seen by someone using LSD as well as enhance the experience of taking the drug. In order to fully appreciate psychedelic art a person would use LSD to alter their mind and their perception on the world around them. In theory, only when a person is high on LSD can they fully appreciate the artwork. Psychedelic art would become the logo for the hippie movement and the counterculture revolution. It was used in nearly all festivals and rock albums of the generation such as the Human be in and the cover art for bands such as Jefferson airplane and quicksilver messenger service. It was also used by Timothy Leary, a controversial author and supporter of the use of LSD to enlighten, on the cover of his books and with his famous slogan “Turn off, tune in, and drop out.”[3] This new, intrusive art form was in complete contrast to the art that preceded it like that of Norman Rockwell’s simplistic portrayals of everyday life or Moran’s grandiose paintings of the outdoors. Psychedelic art was loud and hip and it was coming from the streets and studios of the Haight. Each poster was like a beacon for change that would help drive the great migration of America’s youth to the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco.

A similar medium that was alluring in the Haight was the new fashions that were coming from the Haight Hippies. Out were the white tee-shirts and straight legged jeans with a cuff, and out were the buzz cuts and clean cut faces. And not just go out and grow a mustache, many bypassed haircuts all together. Flower power, peace and love, and shaggy hair were the social characteristics of the hippie generation. Tie-dye and bell bottoms with head bands to hold back the hair of the shaggy hipsters were increasingly common. One of the most important factors of the white flight of American youth was the fact it was really cool to be a hippie or an activist, and these people were creating a new culture that came with new clothes. The term teeny bopper came into the English language as teenage kids began to dress like the people reshaping America; they were even seen holding fake guitars to emulate their favorite rock stars. People wanted to be hippies during the sixties, so they took to this new style and ran away to San Francisco to start a revolution.

Another overlooked aspect of the counterculture movement in the Haight was the media that was covering the Haight. The San Francisco Oracle was created in 1966 by Allen Cohen and Tony Bove and was dedicated solely to covering and promoting the hippie activity in the Haight. It was considered the first psychedelic newspaper ever created. The Oracle covered stories about The Diggers (a group of people dedicated to giving away anything the people of the Haight might need from food, to shelter, to drugs), stories about political activism among the hippies who demanded the world be reshaped  around the ideas of peace and love, as well as reports on drug intake and experiences.  Although it was generally distributed in the San Francisco area, The Oracle’s opinions and ideas were spreading to a much larger scope of people and revealing all the alluring aspects of the Haight. The Oracle was also another way to show the seriousness of the counterculture revolution as it wrote about all things not as individual instances but as part of a whole that was oncoming revolution. Apart from publishing their own paper, the hippies were gaining traction in national media. Magazines such as Time Magazine were sending correspondents to the Haight trying to get a more in depth look at the hippie culture and if in fact a revolution was on the horizon. Old America was genuinely concerned about a widespread change to the ideals they had become so accustomed to, and the more coverage that was provided on the Haight the more America’s youth became intrigued by the new culture sweeping across America.

The single-most important cultural magnet that was drawing Middle America in to the cultural vortex of the Haight-Ashbury was the music. The new brand of Rock and Roll, which was being performed by Artists like The Quicksilver Messenger Service and Jimi Hendrix, was pouring over America and engulfing its youth at an unbelievable rate. Café’s in the Haight went from playing bluegrass and folk music to Psychedelic Rock in a matter of months. Music is one of the most powerful mediums in the world and the Counter Culture revolution proves that point again; all the fashion, the art, the media; it all stemmed from the music that was being created in places like the Haight. People like Jimi and Dylan were the ones who were being emulated when all the fashion was created. Much of the poetry got its inspiration from the lyrics in the music, and psychedelic art has no footing, or fails to exist at all, without the psychedelic rock and roll being played at places like the Human Be-In. Young Adults were listening to the music at home, and that music was so vastly different than their parents music, and vastly different than want they were used to it became the main factor of the counter culture revolution spreading out and growing up. Although, the music during the sixties was inspiring and emotional, not all of it was made because the artists were part of a budding group of peace and love idealists. It should be noted that folk singers everywhere saw the opportunity to make money and abruptly changed their genre in order to profit on the counterculture movement. This factor contributed to the swift change of scenery in the music realm of the Haight: No one wanted to be left behind when there was money to be made. That being said, young people listening to the polarizing voice of Janis Joplin were at the very least curious to what she was yelling about, and why she was so damn different. Many of

those listeners let their initial curiosity develop in to a total reinventing of their ideals and beliefs that would lead them to the Haight-Ashbury.

Finally, the last cultural pull of the Haight was the rampant drug use that supposedly was the key to self-enlightenment in the Hippie era. In the Haight, drug use was a right a passage for its tenants and was openly offered and encouraged. The vast abundance of drugs was met by an eager population that demonstrated an ever willing attitude to encounter a new experience. Although, the ever willing attitude of the Haight-Ashbury occupants would eventually lead to the demise of the Haight with the introduction methamphetamines at the end of the decade, it was that attitude that made the Haight so unique and enthralling. Tenants of the Haight enjoyed their booze and marijuana, but the drug that defines the Haight-Ashbury in the late sixties was LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) or Acid. A hallucinogenic that can help a person transcend the everyday world around them, and free the mind from the social prisons placed on them by society. At least, that is a likely description that would be given by an enlightened hippie or possibly Stanley Owsley. The accuracy of that statement is mostly discredited by the mainstream and remains controversial at best. The amount of Acid distributed in the Haight has been estimated upwards of twenty to thirty million doses with the average person using two to six times.[4] Doing the math, it’s clear that young Americans were experimenting with new and exciting drugs and for the most part enjoying their experience. It’s also clear why Middle America was terrified by thought of a drug epidemic that was spreading from the Haight. The promise of a life changing experience, coupled with the opportunity to rebel against their parents authority proved to be a very bright feather in the cap of Haight allure.

As all of these cultural pieces came together, so did America’s youth. Thousands and thousands of people flocked to the Haight and it became known as “The White Flight” of American youth.[5] Although many of the Haight’s inhabitants and visitors were of age, many were not and the number of runaways was overwhelming. Posters were covered with photos of straight-laced teenagers that had run from home to join the masses that were filling the Haight. The cultural renaissance that was taking place in the Haight was the obvious pull for young Americans, but what were the push factors? Imagine sitting on a tractor in the middle of a corn field in Iowa thinking about how the only thing the future promises is more tractors and corn fields, while a cultural revolution that includes sexual indulgence and free spirit is taking place in San Francisco. Although, the Vietnam War played a pivotal role in the actions of many during the sixties, the focus of this paper will show the push factors of home life. Society was pushing American youth from their homes by enforcing the rigid conformity the generation before them had tried to adopt and the mundane options that lingered around them.

The fifties were the perfect fit for a society still threatened by cold war and recovering from world wars and a great depression. People as a whole were eager to conform if meant escaping the undesirable climate that had preceded them. Having a roof over your head and food on the table was the previous generation’s idea of freedom. The government quieted dissenters by implying going against the grain was a form of disloyalty and anti-patriotic. Although many people had dissenting ideas inside their own minds, those scarcely traveled past the dinner table, as many social freedoms were sacrificed due to fear of regressing into another depression. As the sixties arrived, America’s youth began to more openly question the definition of freedom. Many came to the conclusion that the ideals their parents grew up with were not those of a truly free person. Instead, one could only be free if they broke from the social constraints at home, and became socially and culturally free. Free to choose whatever music or clothes they desired or obtain anything they considered desirable, such as sex and drugs. Young Americans could not have gone through such a total metamorphosis without a strong rejection of their elders, whether it was through counterculture or anti-war protests. Either way, Bob Dylan may have put it best, “The times they are a changin’” and “your sons and your daughters are beyond your command”.[6] Such a strong rejection of their elders caused a severe panic among American families and in many cases caused an even more severe environment in which the families grip seemed to continue to tighten only to see more youth slip through their fingers and join their idealistic brethren on the runaway boards of San Francisco.

During the fifties a certain way of life was deemed a successful one in which Americans go to school to get a decent job in order to get suburban house and two cars. It was the Golden Age in which most of America seemingly enjoyed some sort of middle class success. With that model, options became limited to people around America as they weren’t so much pushed to have the same lifestyle as their parents, but expected to follow their elder’s path. The previous generation had endured so much hardship that they could not understand why their children would to move away and experience new and radical ways of life. It is important to note that not all of America’s youth longed for social upheaval. Prom queens and star athletes enjoyed the conformist lifestyle the previous generation laid out in front of them, and fought to keep it the same. Some flourished under the conservative light, and thoroughly enjoyed a more sheltered lifestyle as many children of the sixties stayed where they grew up for their entire lives. A strong movement to the right side of the political spectrum also evolved during the sixties, but that is another topic entirely. For many, the peers around them that were flourishing in small town life around them only left an even more bitter taste in the mouth of the counterculture youth and strong hunger for a new existence.

In closing, why did American youth flood the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco? The answer to the question is long and detailed, as there were a myriad of factors both in the Haight and at home. Every person that made the trek to the Haight in search of revolution had a different combination of reasons for leaving, coming, or both. The bottom line is that sixties were a volatile time and many of America’s hardened ideals were challenged and pushed to the brink by an era of people that truly believed it was time for a new culture. With cheap rents, budding culture, and iconic figures the Haight was the perfect place to start a counterculture utopia that still resonates with America’s youth today.


[1] Allen Cohen, The Summer of Love

(San Francisco: 1998) #1

[2] Allen Ginsberg, Howl and Other Poems

(San Francisco: City Lights Publishers, 2007)

[3] Eric Foner, Give Me Liberty!, volume w

(New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2008) Pg. #994

[4] 2. Ibid, Pg. #1

[6] 3. Ibid Pg. 4

 

 

 

Here is the second essay called the True Solution documenting God as the only real option for America’s problems and Americans:

October 19 2009

Political Science 10

The True Solution

            In America today nearly all citizens have an extremely heavy reliance on oil. That reliance encompasses much more than just the gasoline that is pumped in to American’s cars each day. Nearly everything we come in contact with as American consumers requires oil at some point in the manufacturing process, from raw material to consumption. It is a fact that if we begin to run out of oil, things will change for Americans, as well as for the rest of the world. The peak oil theory suggests we will soon be in an oil crisis. The peak oil theory is based on the exponential growth of oil fields that leads to a peak and then a rapid decline. This theory was introduced by M. King Hubbard in the fifties and was widely disregarded[1], but has gained support in recent times with continued research. Other opinions and research argue that peak oil theory is a farce.

Although, I lean towards the theory that the world has been short-sighted in its oil consumption, and that things will not continue on as they have in America or the rest of the world, I know that the true solution to America’s problems is Jesus Christ. America was created as a Christian nation, honoring God, which understood the importance of Christian values and morals[2]. Yet America has turned her back on God, and come to the conclusion that this great nation was created by man. The characteristics of Jesus Christ such as not being covetous or greedy do not come with a check list, but are the outcomes of having a will wrapped up in the will of Christ. In order for America to be delivered from this impending oil crisis, or any other crisis, there must be a shift in the public’s opinion of Christianity, and a social movement leading America back to Jesus Christ. As Abraham Lincoln simply yet eloquently stated,

“We have been the recipients of the choices bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God… We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us… and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom of our own… intoxicated with unbroken success, to have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us, then to humble ourselves before the offended Power. To confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.[3]

This is the basis of this entire essay. Yes, if America’s oil supply runs dry there will be upheaval, but we must turn back to what allowed this country to be prosperous in the first place if we hope to be prosperous again. Any reliance on secular mechanisms is astray, they must be used merely as a tool that leads to a repentance and reliance on God.

The dependence on oil is one of America’s many problems today. As stated earlier I agree that America has severely abused its cheap and abundant energy, and that abuse will have major repercussions in America. As less and less sources of oil are discovered and more current sources are depleted, an oil crisis seems imminent. America’s former Vice-President Dick Cheney said, “Our prosperity and way of life are sustained by energy use. [E]nergy security must be a priority of US trade and foreign policy.[4]” The modern American way is to aggressively attack problems with zealous self-assurance that nothing is impossible for me. From the time Americans are children, society ingrains an introverted outlook of the world into people that creates a notion that one’s self is the greatest resource to draw. This impatient outlook will only compound America’s problems, as we continue to turn to ourselves instead of turning to God. God is the creator of all things, and is also in control of all things; therefore the only reasonable course of action is to seek God in order to guide America through this oil crisis. The fact is that the only way to be delivered from this impending crisis is a movement that leads back to Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is not limited to oil shortages, but He does encompass all things, therefore the only solution I can perceive as a Christian is a reliance on the Maker of all things, God, for the solution. Instead of using instruments of government, such as lobbying or social movements, to change laws or the minds of some, these instruments are much more effective if they are used to work on the root of the problem, which is a denial of the truth. The problem with relying on ourselves to fix the problem is the corruption in humanity as a whole. For example, lobbying for a law that requires Americans to consume less oil (this being the most basic example) is that laws and regulations are ineffective if followed with selfish, greedy hearts. The ideal behind a consumption law is good, but human nature twists and distorts laws in order to benefit each individual. A more precise example is the cap and trade system which is designed to cap emissions while allowing companies that pollute less to sell their pollution credits to companies that pollute more, so that as an aggregate they are under the emissions cap. This is where corrupt people and corrupt hearts render that system useless. When the system is drawn up, people over estimate the amount of emissions being created in order to set the cap so high it takes years for the cap to get back to the actual amount being polluted at the time of the law[5].  The system becomes confusing and useless because of human nature. The only true solution transforming our corrupt hearts is to submit to God, and allow Him to transform. America’s second president John Adams put it beautifully, “We have no government armed in power capable of contending in human passions unbridled by morality and religion… Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”[6] The only way for laws or systems like these to work is if each person involved has Christian morals and values reigning in their hearts. America’s laws and constitution were based on people following them with moral hearts in order to be effective[7]. Therefore the only way to fix peak oil isn’t by lobbying for a cap and trade system because another ten loop holes will appear. The true solution must be using the practical mechanisms of change, such as public opinion and social movements, to bring people to the true solution Jesus Christ in which case each heart will be transformed and work together for the greater good.

In order to accomplish such a task you must start with the knowledge that nothing is impossible for God. The next step is to understand that the public’s negative view of many Christians (or so called Christians, but it’s definitely not my place to judge) is warranted because Christians have not accurately shown the truth that is Jesus Christ. This change in the public opinion must start with each Christian searching their
heart first. In order to change the public opinion in America about the Christian faith, each Christian must fully submit their lives to Jesus Christ. Only then can Jesus empty each Christian of them self, and clearly shine through each person. This can’t be understated. How can any Christian expect someone else to change unless they are truly living a life devoted to God? They can’t, and this is the root of the problem in reference to the perception of Christianity by unbelievers. The main outcry among unbelievers is hypocrisy, and is well founded in many respects. So Christians must judge themselves only, and not point out the faults of others. The two commandments of Jesus Christ are, “’You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.[8]So each Christian must start with themselves and follow these two commandments, instead of pointing out the deficiencies in others. As soon as person points the finger at someone else they have already violated these commandments. There is great simplicity in Jesus Christ, yet there is an ever continuing struggle to live in His grace.

 With that being said, it is very difficult to allow Jesus to be in full control of your life, and trust that he has a perfect plan for you when the world is crumbling around you. The word of God is faithful to not come back void, yet so many Christians water down the word of God in attempt to make it more palpable to the unbeliever. These compromises are what lead to the muddled picture of Jesus Christ, and a weak Christianity in America today. God is unchanging and righteous. Never once did Jesus Christ soften in His request for disciples in order to coax someone into the kingdom heaven. He spoke with boldness and a perfect trust in god the father, each Christian should follow His perfect example and do the same. It comes down to submitting one’s self to God and trusting that His knowledge and His words are far above your own. If each Christian would do this, it would be the first step in changing the public’s opinion about Christianity, and bringing America back to a country honoring God.

One of the most glaring components of the impending oil crisis is that Americans as a whole are greedy in their pursuits of luxury and excess. When Jesus comes in to your heart, you become a new person. The revelation that Jesus loves you, and died on the cross for your sin changes you in the most profound way imaginable.  A will that is in stride with the will of Jesus Christ no longer covets things for status, but creates a desire to put others needs above your own, and to be content with what He has given you. These morals are in stark contrast with America today. America, Christians included, has a society that ties self-worth to the amount of possessions we can obtain. Reputation and status have become so desperately important that many people live their lives trying to ascend to some standard set by society. This is a deep rooted lie in the hearts of many Americans, but there is great hope in Jesus Christ. When a person comes to embrace the truth that God is the creator of all things, and everything in this world is gift from God, that person’s outlook is drastically changed. No longer do you strive to have more, but are thankful for every gift God gives you.  If there was a complete social movement in America based on the truth of Jesus Christ; the way this country operates would be completely reversed. Greed, pride, and power would give way to humility, meekness, generosity, contentment, love and peace. One of America’s founding fathers and first President, George Washington had this prayer, “dispose us all, to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the Characteristicks of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation.[9]” As Christians have wandered, and not followed the example set before us by the Divine Author we have used pieces of his word twisted with our sinfulness as a crutch for over consumption and other wickedness. But Jesus Christ shows us another way and rebuked those who take the word of God out of context to support greed. For example, “For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’;and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”—’ (that is, a gift to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”[10]

The sentiment becomes rhetorical, but humans are stiff-necked as a people, and there is great simplicity in Jesus Christ. The only hope for America is for the foundation of the country to be Jesus Christ. In saying that, no person is without sin, therefore no country can be without sin, but if a country can come to the realization that we are all sinners, and are in desperate need of savior, we can become perfect in Jesus Christ. This repentance and transformation of people would lead to a decline in consumption in America, and alleviate many of the problems of oil depletion because the desire for excess is counter to the desires of a heart that belongs to Jesus.

The next issue is why do Christians not live a life that is more visibly different to the secular world? Why do Christians proclaim certain things that seem counter to the ideals above? The problem is man’s sinful nature. In saying that each person has been perfected through Jesus Christ, it does not mean that each Christian is perfect. It means that we are sinful by nature, but that God came down to this world in human form and lived a life without sin that culminated in Jesus Christ dying for our sins. In the Crucifixion, Jesus reconciled us to God despite our unworthiness and sinful nature. In doing this, He allowed for an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ founded in love for our savior. Out of this love Christians should live a life full of the characteristics of Jesus Christ. Yet freewill still reigns, and the sinfulness of man can creep up in any person no matter how much Jesus loves them. When men begin to wander from Jesus Christ, they begin to mix their own sinfulness in with Jesus Christ, and they create something distorted. Although they still love Jesus, they do not surrender everything to Jesus. They want to fit Jesus in to their life instead of allowing Jesus to be the only purpose of life. That is why it so vitally important that this social movement has to start with the individual hearts of Christians in order for people to see the true picture of Jesus Christ.

Christians as a whole must keep their eyes focused on Jesus Christ, and live by God’s word which is the Bible. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”[11] As humans are minds are prone to wonder away from the truth even if we have fully embraced as disciples of Jesus Christ, so we must be in the Bible every day renewing our minds so that we can discern what is and what is not the true will of God. Christians must be in prayer bringing every supplication to the feet of god, trusting Him to be the answer to all things.

Yes, there are there are many people with vastly different views of who, or what, Jesus Christ is, but there is only one truth: The Bible. The Bible tells us to avoid talk that leads to division, but use words to edify, “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.”[12]  This covers the issue of how each Christian should proceed if the public’s opinion is going to be changed, and underscores for the basis of every part of the Christian life must come from God’s word. In must be taken in every day, as a whole, in context, as the absolute truth of God in order for each heart and mind to be transformed. The responsibility starts with each Christian, and the searching of the heart in order to be living a life above reproach, above the scoffing of the secular world. Every Christian has the amazing blessing of having the perfect example of Jesus Christ in writing, so the foundation has to be built on the truth of the whole Bible.

Is there an oil crisis on the horizon that threatens the life Americans have come so accustom to? Possibly, but instead of looking for a solution based on the knowledge of humans, I pray that America looks for the true solution: Jesus Christ. The fact is that every person was created in the image of God, designed to rely on God, and justified by the Son of God. Jesus loves each person more than we can imagine. He is a living God that is faithful to provide for us no matter what the trials of earth tell us otherwise. As Benjamin Franklin pleaded to the Constitutional Convention, I also beseech for our current government, “”the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this Truth–that God governs in the Affairs of Men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable than an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this and also believe that without His concurring Aid, we shall succeed in this political Building no better than the Builders of Babel.[13]

The underlying issue in all of this is that this impending oil crisis is just one small part of the problem in America as a whole. Instead of pin-pointing the oil crisis, the entire structure of current government needs to be overhauled. It begins and ends with Jesus Christ, the savior of this world, and what a country honoring Him looks like opposed to what we have become. The famous orator Daniel Webster spoke with a sober mind stating, “To preserve the government we must also preserve morals. Morality rests on religion; if you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall. When the public becomes vitiated and corrupt, laws are a nulity and constitutions are waste paper.”[14] America must go to back to the rock that it was founded, and that rock is Jesus Christ. I pray that Americans as a whole would give their life over to Jesus Christ, and have the peace that comes with trusting the Savior of this world to do exactly that.

 

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. – John 14:27


 

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil, Wikipedia Peak Oil, 11/16/09

[2] Dr. Dell Tackett, “The Truth Project”  ã 2004-2009 Focus on the Family. Lesson 10 http://www.thetruthproject.com

 

[3] Abraham Lincoln, “Proclamation appointing a National Fast Day” in Collected Works. The Abraham Lincoln Association, Springfield, Illinois, ed. Roy P. Basler (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 6:155-157.

[4] Richard Heinberg, Powerdown (Gabriola Island, BC, Canada 2004) pg. 17

[5] http://i2.democracynow.org/podcast.xml, Democracy now Cap and Trade. 11/12/09.

[6] John Adams, “Letter to Zabdiel Adams, Philadelphia, 21 June 1776,” in The Works of John Adams-Second President of the United States, ed. Charles Francis Adams (Boston: Little Brown & Co., 1854) 9:401                                       Online Source: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel06.html

[7] Tackett, Lesson 10

[8] God, Holy Bible. Matthew 22:37-79

[9] George Washington, “Circular to the chief executives of the states”, June 11, 1783
George Washington, Manuscript Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (153)

 

[10] God, Mark 7:10-13

[11] ibid, Romans 12:1,2

[12]ibid, 1 Timothy 1:5-7

[13] James Madison. Notes on the Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 by James Madison (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1966), 209-210 Online Source: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/debates/628.htm

[14] Daniel Webster, Fourth of July Oration Delivered at Fryeburg, ME, in the Year 1802 (A. Williams & Co./ A.F. & C.W. Lewis, Boston, Mass./ Fryeburg, ME., 1882), 12.

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With all that, what is the point I am trying to make?

Did you happen to notice the dates? The first essay on Counter Culture was written April 10, 2009, and the second was written on October 19, 2009.

Why is that important? Well, that’s because the writer of both of these essay was myself, and they were written just six months apart…

I wrote these essay in the spring semester 2009, and then the fall semester of 2009 for the same professor. For the first essay I received a 98% A even though I was weeks late on turning in the project because my teacher loved the essay and what it represented. The second essay… not so much. I received a 0% F on my first turn in. I decided not to change the essay at all even if he failed me. He believed I strayed from the premise, and only after a couple of conversations and a lot of hard work and prayer he gave me a 70% C-. That was the only class at College of the Redwoods I did not receive an A in, even though I never worked harder in a class. I knew he wouldn’t like my new set of beliefs, so I decided if we going to fail me, I would make it my best work that he would have to fail. I ended up with a B overall, as the rest of my work carried the low grade on the final project essay from above.

Now back to my point in the beginning. Is God real? Does He intervene in the lives of people?

I ask you another question to help answer the first two, how do you explain the difference in the beliefs from those two essays above? How could somebody have such a 180 degree change in outlook in such a short time? Could I have just learned a few new things over the summer?

The answer is no. I didn’t just learn a few new things, but something far better happened to me. I met Jesus that summer, and everything changed. The apostle wrote in the book 2 Corinthians, chapter 5, verse 17,

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

That is the explanation. Not only is God real, but He absolutely is involved in the lives of people. Even more, this God is the God of the Bible, and He loves people. He wants a relationship with those He created. This is not religious formalism, but a living, breathing relationship with the creator of the universe. When I came to Jesus, I found Him to be God and so much more. I was born-again, I was a new creation with a new heart, and a set of beliefs and values that aligned with God as opposed to myself. I had found the meaning of life itself.

There is a lot of evidence for the existence of God, and one of those is the undeniable personal testimony of those who have to come to Christ and become forgiven and made new. That is me. That is my story. It can be yours too.

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