Endowed by our Creator

 

Last updated 5/14/2024 at 10:30am



The world as we know it is becoming slowly less and less stable. A simple observation when we look at the condition of the world clearly demonstrates the fragile moment we are all living through. Anecdotally I hear more and more cynicism, doubt, and despair about the future. Birth rates are dropping, marriage and nuclear families continue to implode, the economy is hanging by a thread and it’s beginning to psychologically effect our corporate psyches. These are actual statements I’ve heard from people in our town the last few months:

“I’ll never be able to own a home here in Sisters, might as well leave now.”

“Why would anyone want to bring children into this world?”

“What’s the purpose of all of this (life) anyway?”

So, what do you do when life feels fragile and the future seems pessimistic? The 2024 elections are coming and no doubt we’re all bracing for impact. Many people are haunted by nostalgia for the good ole days when life was simple and gas was 50 cents a gallon. What’s the best way forward when life feels directionless?

Might I suggest in these tumultuous times that the way forward is by looking backward? When things feel wobbly the place to run is to the foundations. This is why we have founding documents. The Declaration of Independence is an incredible piece of literature that could potentially unify and motivate all of us toward a brighter future together. Listen to Jefferson as he pointedly and vividly paints a picture of a preferred future together as Americans:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Aren’t those wonderfully glorious and liberating truths? Our culture today sees social inequality and we long for something better. We espouse the correct rhetoric and wax eloquently around the ideals of freedom and the opportunity to build a meaningful and reasonably happy life. These are dreams embedded into our founding documents but more than that they’re dreams hard-wired into every human heart. We intuitively, and rightly, resonate with these ideals. No one reads Jefferson’s vision of the good life and says; “Meh, not for me, I want to be a miserable slave.”

So why does this dream seem so elusive? I believe we’ve lost a very important part of the dream embedded in the founding vision. It’s the part that has been all but cut out of our modern secular life today but it’s absence leaves our culture and nation horribly vulnerable. It’s that sneaky little phrase, “endowed by their Creator.”

This explains the social and theological whiplash we live in today. We want the rights, we expect life, liberty, and now even demand personal happiness but we’re not so interested in the “creator/created” part of the recipe.

Jefferson’s dream was for a flourishing nation, not a bunch of individuals selfishly jockeying for their own version of the good life. The cultural narcissism and radical individualism are actively working against the vision of our founders.

We stand at a critical moment in our town, region, nation, and world. Will we just demand our rights, our life and our happiness as defined by ourselves or will we enjoy the freedom, the joy and the security that comes when we rightly see our lives (and our rights) as gifts endowed to us by our benevolent Creator?

The same Creator God who gave you those rights, those correct impulses of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the right to pursue them, entered the chaos and He gave up His rights. And in giving up His rights He redeems anyone who calls upon His name. My hope and prayer is that we would experience massive social renewal, greater communal joy, more unity and oneness as we move from the self-deception of independence and restore our God-given rightful place as creatures made in His image. After all, we’ve been endowed by Him the gifts of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

 

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