5 Hopes for America in 2019
I’ve never been a big believer in “New Year’s Resolutions.” But I do believe that as we transition from an old year to a new one, we should pause to reflect. What lessons have we learned? And how do we hope to grow and improve in the coming year?
We must first ask these questions of ourselves. Then we should apply them to our family, community, and culture. In this spirit, I offer five of my own hopes for America in 2019.
A Resurgence of Decency
I hope that we have witnessed the far end of the pendulum swing toward a coarse, lewd, vulgar society — that the pendulum will now begin to swing back toward decency. Like foolish children stuffing themselves with sweets until they vomit, our society has gorged itself on sex without boundaries, profanity, substance abuse, and gratuitous violence until surely we are growing quite sick of it all.
The law of diminishing returns applies to bad behavior as to anything else. Behavior that appeals to us at first because of its novelty or shock value must ultimately lose that appeal and stand on its own merits. So now that profanity, violence, and sexual immorality are commonplace, what is their appeal?
I hope that these cultural poisons have run their course, and that we can move toward appreciating goodness, beauty, and love. I hope that we will look back on our acceptance of indecency with the same horror we feel when we consider the crowds who once cheered before the guillotine.
More Honest, Thoughtful, and Gracious Public Discourse
This isn’t an accusation directed at one political party. It is my hope for everyone who participates in public policy discussions. We can all do so much better.
For starters, let’s have thoughtful conversations that focus on the real points of disagreement. It does no one any good for us to pretend the other guy hates poor people or wants to bankrupt America. We should stop focusing on over-simplified tweets that appeal to our “base,” and start learning how to listen, understand, and only then to speak graciously of our own ideas.
Let’s work on being more honest in the way we use language as we make our cases. Aborting a baby is not “health care,” and the estate tax is not the same as a “death tax.” It’s time we moved beyond facetious labels and talked about the values at issue.
Restoring the Rule of Law and Constitutional Government
Over the centuries since we adopted our Constitution, we have greatly damaged its authority. Bad court precedents, zealous Congressmen, and ambitious presidents have combined to produce a great disconnect between what the Constitution says Washington may do and what Washington actually does.
In other words, our federal government is no longer operating according to the rule of law. I hope that in 2019 we will see the states band together to use their constitutional power under Article V to correct this situation. Washington will not do it on its own.
Rejecting Self-Centered Worldviews in Favor of Virtue
It seems to me that one could sum up the popular culture’s worldview today as “Just follow your heart!” No wonder it has caught on like wildfire. It sounds so nice. It sounds right, even. And the best part of all is that it is what we want to do anyway!
Perhaps it would be a good way to live, if only our hearts were consistently full of goodness. But how many wars do we have to witness, how many children must we see abused, how many spouses abandoned, before we realize that the heart of mankind is not a faithful guide for living? We must choose to set our course by something outside ourselves, something fixed and faithful: the universal moral law that leads us toward virtue and away from selfishness.
That the Church Would Shine
In an age when many are tempted to trade in their doctrine for an easier relationship with the secular world, what the world needs more than ever is a faithful Church. We need pastors who teach the Scriptures as they are — not as some might like them to be. And we need people of faith to live out that faith, come what may, in a world that is hungry for authenticity and in desperate need of Truth.
This week, take some time to reflect on your hopes for 2019. Then pray that they become reality, and do your part to make them so.