- If you listen to Christian organizations, it's always getting worse. But I tend to distrust such organizations (e.g. Focus on the Family) because ultimately, those organizations are about fear -- keeping people afraid so that they'll get fired up and donate money to the cause, thereby perpetuating the life of the organizations. Now before you get fired up and send me lots of hate mail, I don't disagree with everything these organizations stand for and in fact, I may agree on many issues. All I'm saying is that I don't allow these organizations to become my only lens through which I view & understand the world around me.
- I think that in the broader view, there are some moral issues that have gotten much, much better. Here are some examples: while racism is not dead, its role in the American psyche has been greatly reduced, a couple hundred years ago women were treated as property and today the gap between men & women is closing, the amount of murder as a percentage of the overall populations has steadily decreased over the last several centuries (this doesn't account for wars). Here's my thing -- I think that when I'm asked questions about morality, I immediately think of sexual mores but there is more to morality than simply who is sleeping with whom.
- The fundamentalist doctrine of the rapture leads people to expect that the world will get worse and worse until finally Jesus will just have to come back. But, when I read Jesus talking about the kingdom of God or kingdom of heaven, he seems to be talking like the kingdom will be growing in influence and power (see particuarly the parable of the leaven and others like it).
- I agree with several of my commentators that the media makes us more knowledgeable about more of the bad stuff in the world than ever before, which taints our understanding.
Wow -- if you've read this far, I thank you. I don't really have a great conclusion, except to say that I grew up in a tradition that has taught me that the world is getting worse and worse and yet, I'm struggling with the realities of the kingdom of God -- and what it means for our world today, because in the tradition I grew up in, we hardly ever stressed the present realities of the kingdom, and yet I believe that the kingdom is here -- it's among us -- it's in our world today -- and while it may not be fully realized, I believe it is making inroads.