By George Bowers
As the construction workers began to demolish the rooms behind our sanctuary in preparation for the new kitchen, they discovered an important surprise. Two of the walls not only divided classrooms, but were also supporting the weight of the roof above. If they removed these bearing walls without providing some other support, eventually the roof would collapse and the area would be destroyed. It might not happen immediately, but over time, either little by little in response to gravity's tug, or all at once in a large blizzard, the new kitchen would be ruined.
Our society, too, has certain bearing walls that hold the roof up and provide protection to all of us living beneath. Although these invisible supports may not be obvious at first, if they are removed, the impact will be felt in time. There have always been weaknesses in the walls and from time to time, repairs have been made. But when entire walls are removed and institutions demolished, eventual disaster will occur either by slow degradation or by catastrophic failure.
Some of those societal supports over the years have included stable family structures with two parent, male-female homes. As marriages and families disintegrate, children are the ones most severely impacted emotionally, financially, and spiritually. For some, the roof caves in completely through physical or sexual abuse, perhaps even resulting in death as we have recently witnessed. In other cases, drugs and other destructive substances become the substitutes for loving safe relationships. If you are married, do all you can to strengthen this bearing wall with your spouse for all of our sakes.
Another bearing wall has been a strong work ethic of self-support. Such perseverance and determination also provided generous charity wherever it was truly needed. A can-do attitude rather than an entitlement mentality supported a large safe covering for even the weakest members of our society. As this wall is dismantled, governments try to prop up the ceiling with aid programs that are often shortsighted and ill planned. Let's do what we can to strengthen this important wall of support.
Other walls that have served us well have been honesty, mutual respect for life and liberty as well as free speech and the free exercise of religion. As we become more dishonest with each other and with our government, as we devalue life and freedom, and as we restrict and dictate religious expression with political correctness, it's only a matter of time until the roof of our free society will cave in. Of course, faith in God through Jesus Christ and adherence to Biblical practices have served well as our foundation, but they too are badly eroding.
Thankfully, the workers at our church realized what they were doing and constructed beams that would support the weight and bear the load preventing future disaster. I pray that we will do the same before it becomes too late for our culture. Let us repair and rebuild the supporting walls of our nation that our building may be strong and that our people may be safe.
George Bowers is the pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock and the author of four books, including his latest book of poetry, "Wit and Wisdom of the Woods." He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.