Well — I don’t think it’s OK! We have determined we don’t have the power to change our city, let alone our world. I love Patterson. I’ve lived here for less than a year, but there is a lot to like. As we grow, there will be things that will test our patience. I’m sure with new jobs coming to the area, traffic will increase. With more building going on, there will be more construction projects we’ll have to deal with. With more people coming into our area, it will certainly test what we will accept and what we will not accept. Like the new Walmart or hate the new Walmart, we can talk ’til the cows come home (a Texas phrase), and we’ll have to agree to disagree. But the moral compass of our city will depend on each one of us teaching, living and even becoming passionate about what is right and what is wrong.
What I’m concerned about is the moral temperature of our city. As long as we have parents, grandparents, employers, employees, teachers, principals, politicians, pastors, churches, farmers, ranchers and a host of others who take this seriously, we have the power to make things right. Our kids are growing up in a society with few values to build a life on. If the drug scene, gang scene, alcohol scene, promiscuous sex scene, porno scene and entitlement scene are not confronted, we will lose the baseline of a moral society, and our children will lose the joy of life. There will be no cleanup of this mess unless we take personal steps to do something about it.
Do you want the government to keep all this in order? Well, you’ve seen their moral code. Do you want our schools to be in charge of this moral order? Well, even though we have good teachers who do have a moral compass, they are in some respects hindered from providing your children a God-given pool of wisdom and knowledge. They have answers for our kids who want to learn about a moral compass. Fortunately, there are teachers who have that inward compass that points their students to finding a deep moral life. This battle among teachers, moral guidance, parental help, respect for authority, etc., has been brewing for more than 60 years. Without the salt of morally directed teachers, our schools would be much less influential in helping our children find that moral compass for their own lives.
How do we promulgate and persevere with laying a moral compass for our kids, our city, our families, our own personal lives?
Here is the only way to keep the compass from just spinning:
Jesus Christ is “True North” for the moral compass.
You probably expected that.
I’ve pastored across this county, and no matter where I’ve been, when you take Jesus out — the compass just spins, and parents, children, teens, cities, state and federal governments do not have the “true north” to lead our families, cities, states and nation to a better way.
Can we agree on this? Let me know by visiting www.pnhonline.org and leaving a note.
• The Rev. Scott Van Bibber is pastor of New Hope Church of the Nazarene. Sermon Notes is a column by local religious leaders.