Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor
Volume VII, Issue XIII
A Case for Vision X
Over the past nine weeks we have been exploring the case for vision. The complete series may be seen here:
A Case for Vision I [click to read]
A Case for Vision II [click to read]
A Case for Vision III [click to read]
A Case for Vision IV [click to read]
A Case for Vision V [click to read]
A Case for Vision VI [click to read]
A Case for Vision VII [click to read]
A Case for Vision VIII [click to read]
A Case for Vision IX [click to read]
"We Can Build That"
The president’s statement two years ago that “You didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen” is a very concise summary of the danger posed by modern progressive liberalism to the heart of the American idea and experience, as represented by its Constitution, founding principles, and the reasons for its modern success." -- C. Boyden Gray.
In an article entitled We Can Build That [click to read], in The American Conservative, Gray examines the often dismissed case for enlightened self interest and the Scottish Enlightenment's exploration of greed as a private vice, but a public benefit. He cites Bernard de Mandeville's The Fable of the Bees: or Private Vices,Public Benefits. Modern thought is quick to come down on "corporate greed," even as it promotes a hedonistic level of "self expression." Again, Gray's article shows that human nature is more like a spirited Arabian horse. The energy and spirit of the animal might well be gentled to some noble purpose. Indeed, Adam Smith asserts:
“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the
baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own
But, earlier in this series, A Case for Vision, it was rightly stated that markets will provide slavery and destructive things as well as food, clothing and shelter. Just as a bridle is necessary if one is to employ the energy of a fine horse, the Golden Rule and the Rule of Law are essential components of the process. Perhaps the biggest myopia in progressive thinking is the thought that private morality is somewhat irrelevant. Corporations are evil because they operate in the realm of self-interest, but government is somehow going to operate on a higher plane because there is no "profit motive."
Perhaps the best way to illustrate the fallacy of such thinking is with an historical example. In the days of William H. Howland [click to read] the city of Toronto moved from a lawless society to one influenced by the private morality of its great mayor:
"Because of his great compassion for the poor, he was elected as Mayor of Toronto in 1885, with a strong mandate to clean up the city. Howland signaled his arrival in the mayor’s office by installing a twelve-foot banner on the wall, reading, "Except the Lord Build the City, the Watchman Wakes but in Vain". Despite fierce opposition, Howland was so successful, that Toronto became nicknamed "Toronto the Good". As champion of the poor, Howland and his Alliance friend, Rev. John Salmon, would tramp the lanes and alleys, feeding the poor, praying over the sick, and comforting the sad. With a population of just 104,000, Toronto had over 800 licensed and unlicensed saloons. Over half of all criminal offenses recorded in 1885 were related to drunkenness." -- Reverend Ed Hird
Reverend Hird goes on to document the work of Howland to enforce laws already on the books and improve sanitation services to the city. The work of Howland actually resulted in a decrease in saloon business. Now the interests of the people were redirected into the providing of nobler things. On the eve of his reelection, a group of saloon owners hired all the taxis in an effort to keep people from the polls. Women had recently been enfranchised, however, and great numbers of them trudged to the polls through the snow to give Howland a resounding victory.
The moral of the story is that Howland's private sense of morality led him to press against the corruption rampant in the city government. The revivals happening in the city enlightened the self-interests of citizens, who turned from drunkenness to the building up of community and home. It is a story that has often replayed itself in the affairs of humanity. It speaks of a balance we in our time might do well to regain. I recommend The Reverend Ed Hird's excellent article: William H. Howland [click to read] as an example we might emulate.
"Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar.
Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side.
And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles.
Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins.
Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.
And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river.
Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other.
Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed.
And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.
And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many.
But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt.
And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine." -- Ezekiel 47:1-12
We are in need of a Great Miracle today. Other generations have faced times like this as well. In previous times of national peril, our LEADERS called for prayer. Today it is necessary for people of faith everywhere to pick up that fallen standard and lift it high. If we will prepare our own hearts, like soil for the planting, HE will plant the seed. If we will cultivate what G-d plants, nurturing it to maturity, HE will provide the bountiful harvest. If we will prepare the land, G-d promises to HEAL it. History (REAL history, that is) is filled with stories of just such promise being realized in the lives of ordinary men and women.
But to participate in promise requires a relationship. G-d is not some abstract concept, but rather He is the Author/Creator of the Universe. He has a NAME... a Name so Holy as not to be uttered lightly on Earth, but a Name, to be KNOWN by. And how shall I find this G-d? There are men and women in this world who converse with Him in prayer. It is through relationship with THEM that we may be introduced to the Magnificent One, the G-d of Redemption. I am at best a poor disciple of His, but I am His disciple. You should not be introduced to Him by some formula in the writings of man, but rather in the Inspired Words of His Own Testimony. That is why I, and many more of His disciples stand ready to open the Holy Scriptures WITH YOU. In them you will find the Life and Light I speak of. The Food Channel cannot actually nourish you. You must step into the room where the meals are served.
An Earthly author cannot see the 'Great Miracle' that you, the reader, desperately need. But we CAN go together to the Master, who indeed knows what will nourish each of us. It is highly likely that you know someone who knows the Master, who can take you to the place where He can meet you with healing and nourishment. As I write this I pray that that person might indeed come to mind. Before I came to faith I was keenly aware that there was a certain brightness and clarity about the lives of certain people I knew. Later I realized that some of them had indeed been praying for me. Yet, you might be reading this and G-d's Holy Spirit may be speaking to you and you are not sure who to go to. You may comment to this and it will not be published. I moderate all comments. Thus if you would like to know G-d as Reedemer, let me know in the comment block how to get in touch. It will not be made public. It is my desire that you be able to find the 'Living Water' that you so deeply desire.
The greatest miracle is not the parting of the sea or the feeding of thousands, it is the transformation of the human heart. That is the miracle that gives us access to G-d. It is in knowing G-d that we will find far more than we were looking for in the first place!
The Story of Amazing Grace