Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Culture Shock

I just heard something which is throwing me thru a loop -- some people who helped make me who I am voted for a political candidate whose entire party and whose values are opposed to all they taught me to believe in. For the life of me, I can't seem to get past feeling that I'm in an identity crisis. If they don't believe everything I have stood for and thought they stood for for 39 years, beliefs I built my life around, which effected so many decisions, even cost me heavy prices sometimes -- then who am I?

It's a culture shock, I guess. I knew the culture was changing and the sense of base values with it. And I knew these people had become a bit more liberal in their thinking, mostly due to the confusing arguments put forth by opponents of traditional values which water them down in many people's minds. It's easy to be led astray when we fail to consult the scriptures and evaluate things in light of the truth of God's Word. How many times do we fail to go to God's Word when we are faced with moral questions which strike at the heart of our core beliefs? Operating on logic doesn't work, because our sinful nature can be confused. We have to operate on faith and let the Holy Spirit speak wisdom to our hearts.

So many Americans who claim to be Christians voted against that this past election for reasons which I still don't understand. It still haunts me to think of so many people being misguided and leading this country down a very dangerous path. But these people -- they just can't be the same people I thought they were if they voted this way. They are too well educated, too smart... And I have lost people whom I looked up to and who were my allies when I felt alone in my beliefs. Now I feel I am alone. Not really. I know others who share my convictions, but I have never felt so lonely.

It has always been hard to stand up in the face of the changing values of a world, drifting away from traditional values. It has always been hard to have integrity. You have to be willing to have a culture clash with the world around you. You have to be willing to be an oddball, march to a different drummer, to not care what others say or think. One high school friend said that was what he always admired about me -- I always was who I said I was. He found it reliable and he respected it, even though he was far different than me. Since then, he has come to share the same values I have now, and he often wonders how I tolerated him then.

I have never been one who wanted to preach my values to others. I stand up for them. I am ready to explain them, but I never wanted to convert anyone or force my views upon them. Not that I don't hope they convert. I just don't treat it like a battlefield. I prefer to let my actions and my life witness rather than try and argue or convince with words. But lately, I feel such a sense of culture shock. The world has changed around me, and sometimes it seems the larger group of which I used to be a part has gotten smaller and smaller. Sometimes the majority who once shared my values, now seems like a minority. It's so disappointing, because the beliefs I am talking about have been at the core of our society and national identity. No wonder the world doesn't seem to know who we are any more or even like us. Who likes someone who doesn't stand for anything or who violates their own values? Not many, in my experience. At least not after high school.

So here I am watching two idols fall. Not idols as in a religious object I worshipped, but people I looked up to and whose example I tried to follow. I never thought I'd stop, but that ended when I found out they were no longer the people I thought they were. And now I don't know whose example to follow. Or maybe I have just put too much into following human example and not enough into following Christ. After all, Christ should be our only idol and our example, right? That is what the Bible instructs. It is what I claim to believe. Maybe God is using this to shock me back into proper focus. Maybe this culture shock is a sign of my own straying from the goal. Am I off course, too? It's definitely time to reevaluate.

For what it's worth...