Susan C. Anthony

Slouching Toward GomorrahSpending Moral Capital

As many of you know, we spent Thanksgiving week at our homestead. We had three guests and the weather was great, about 25 degrees. Another friend who was up there last week said it was 25 degrees then too, but 25 degrees below zero!

While we were there, Susan read a book she found here at church on the shelves out front. It’s by Robert Bork and the title is Slouching Towards Gomorrah.

Susan read some parts of the book to me that really got me thinking. The author said there’s only so much deviancy any group of people can tolerate. When too many people engage in deviant behavior, what is considered “normal” will change.

An example he gave was the lyrics of popular songs in the 1950s compared to today. I was in high school in the 1950s. Many of the popular songs then were about finding true love. Here are lyrics from one of those songs:

You’ll never know just how much I love you.
You’ll never know just how much I care.
And if I tried, I still couldn’t hide my love for you.
You ought to know for haven’t I told you so a million or more times.

You went away and my heart went with you.
I speak your name in my every prayer.
If there’s some other way to prove that I love you
I swear I don’t know how.
You’ll never know if you don’t know now.

I can’t read the lyrics from most popular rap songs of today in church. I'm not sure I could say them around a campfire with my buddies. You probably can’t hear the words when someone next to you at a stoplight with a trunk full of speakers rocks the intersection. I wish no one could hear them, but most likely the kids are singing along. When I was young, that kind of music would have been considered deviant. Now it’s normal.

Robert Bork said that America has spent its moral capital and we shouldn’t be surprised that teenagers kill their parents, or that families have such a difficult time staying together.

It puzzles me when the people who produce TV shows, movies and video games insist that what they portray won’t affect people’s behavior. The advertisers certainly think TV influences behavior. The average cost for a TV commercial is $300,000 for airtime and another $343,000 to produce the ad. Super Bowl commercials cost $4,000,000 a minute for airtime alone. And Super Bowl commercials are only 30 seconds long, compared to maybe 40 minutes for a TV show.

The idea of moral capital interested me. Capital is money that is used or invested to produce income. An example from the old days is seed corn. Farmers had to set aside some seed from each fall harvest so that they could plant a crop in the spring. If things got so bad that they had to eat their seed corn, death by starvation was almost inevitable.

Did you know that most people who win the lottery are bankrupt within three years? That’s because they spend their millions rather than preserving and protecting the money as capital, as wealth set aside for the purpose of producing income.

But what is moral capital? It’s the values a society holds and passes on to each new generation in turn. Those values in America were originally rooted in the Bible. Patrick Henry said: “It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”

When a flower is cut, it begins to die. It may look beautiful for quite awhile, but its days are numbered. In the same way, freedom will last for a while after its connection to morality is cut. But its days are numbered.

I don’t know about you, but a lot of our friends are not Christians. The more we learn about God and the Bible, the more we want to share the life-changing power of Jesus. But how do you do that without offending people? Most people aren’t interested and many are HOSTILE. Pushing them is more likely to push them away than attract them.

On the other hand, I can’t imagine how hard it would be to see someone I love go to hell in part because I didn’t bother to talk to him. Ezekiel 3:17-19 talks about the role of a watchman, a role that God has given us.

Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.

We’ve been thinking for a long time about how to be effective as watchmen. Susan’s latest idea was to write a book. She writes books anyway, so it’s not as big a deal as ME deciding to write a book. She plans to send it out with our Christmas letter. In it she makes the best case she can to support the existence of God and the authority of the Bible as His message to us, and she offers to help find answers to any questions people may have.

She included some great information that I hope will convince people to at least take a deeper look at what the Bible claims. I've read this book 3-4 times and I think it's great. I even got to think up the title and write the foreword. We don't know what anyone else will think.

We’re using some of our capital to run off at least 150 books and mail them out. Even if our friends throw the book away without reading it, it’s a good investment because then they can't say we didn’t try to warn them. God will not hold us responsible for them. If even ONE of our friends eventually comes to know Jesus because of this book, it will be the best investment we’ve ever made. That person will become a treasure in heaven. The best thing about treasure in heaven is you’re always traveling toward your treasure rather than away from it like the earthly treasures.

We don’t know how our non-Christians friends will receive this. Please pray that their hearts will be open and that they'll be able to be objective as they consider what it says. Tell you the truth, it’s scary to send these out. But at our age, friends die every year. We can’t afford to procrastinate.

You know, it’s nice to know that our job is not to change people’s minds or convince them of anything. The Holy Spirit does that. Our job is to exalt Jesus and speak truth. God respects people’s right to reject Him, so we have to respect it, too. Jesus wept for the lost. We can weep for friends who are not interested.

(Susan's book Whatsoever Things Are True is a free PDF download.)

Song:  "When It's All Been Said and Done".

When it’s all been said and done,
There is just one thing that matters.
Did I do my best to live for truth?
Did I live my life for you?

When it’s all been said and done,
All my treasures will mean nothing.
Only what I’ve done for love’s reward
Will stand the test of time.

Lord, Your mercy is so great,
That you see beyond our weakness
To find purest gold in fiery clay
Turning sinners into saints.

I will always seek Your face,
Here on earth and ever after.
For you’ve shown me heaven’s my true home
When it’s all been said and done.
You’re my life when life is done.

When it’s all been said and done,
There is just one thing that matters.
Did I do my best to live for truth?
Did I live my life for you?
Lord, I give my life to You.

Note:  This talk was presented by my husband Dennis at our small church.

Go on to read The Book of James
Source:  www.SusanCAnthony.com, ┬ęSusan C. Anthony