Sunday, August 10, 2014


When we can recognize what is good, then we can acknowledge what is wrong in our culture. White looks white until you hold it up to pure white and you realize the original color was cream or a very faint grey. When one sees a contrast, one notes the real meaning of both substances. That "understanding" alters the course of one's direction.

What if, in the same way, we identified what is good and held it in fair comparison against what is "less-good". I propose we could then better recognize, and admit, what is missing and the consequences that follow its void.

This year, I've been drawn to the words virtue, honor, wholesomeness and goodness. These terms are antiquated and irrelevant language for some, and yet poignantly beautiful to others. To the latter, hearing them used is like reconnecting with old and familiar friends in a foreign land.

We live in a culture that has bought into the lie that there is no relationship between our moral virtues and our economic and cultural success. How much longer are we going to dismiss the undeniable relationship?

Sadly, our culture - at the moment - interchanges good and bad. They have both turned a muddy grey. Many people have covered their eyes and ignored the changing definition. Or themselves have accepted the current grey as satisfactory and allowed it to be the new "white" or standard. Toward our current demise - as individuals and a nation - we have slowly built upon these new norms and in turn have vacated the power of the original purpose.

Many define goodness on different levels. Regardless of our philosophical or religious beliefs, all of us can recognize there is an evil in our culture and that we can do better. If there is evil, there must be goodness. We have to start somewhere to define these things. For the majority of Americans, again regardless of specific religion, we recognize there is a God; if He master-minded magnificent creation, I think He's credible to define for us what is right, virtuous and honorable.

To every virtue or function of being, there is an opposite. Honest versus dishonest. Courage versus timidity. Boldness versus weakness. Standing versus sitting. Running versus standing still. This week, consider every day examples of evil, bad, or corruption and ask yourself - what is the opposite? And does my life recognize the opposite's existence? Does my family? My community? If no, we must not despair but work to redeem this moment in history.

The lack of presence in the every day vocabulary does not change their worth, or dilute their power. However, we can all acknowledge that as a society and country, these timeless qualities have been subliminally denied existence. Starting with the simply thing of using words in our every day language that define what is good, right, and true, will get us thinking about them again. Inquisitive minds often go looking for honest answers. Behind every powerful word is a concept. When, once again, we pursue the concepts behind good, honor and wholesome, perhaps our society will realize the ill we face at this moment with our less than ideal standards, and walk in the other direction.

The beautiful part is - if as individuals we remember what is right, true, and wholesome we have a chance of making America great again. But that's a blogpost for another time.

- ajh