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Are we too Big?

Are we too big?

 

A few days ago, I was watching a behind the scenes featurette about season six of NCIS.  “Heartland” is an episode where we visit the hometown of Leroy Jethro Gibbs and learn about his family, and how he met his first wife.   Gibbs is a small town boy with small town values. Those phrases got me thinking about the values and morals of today’s America, and how they have changed.  The announcement that Jason Collins,  a professional basketball player, was gay, and the resultant forcing of Miami Dolphin player Mike Wallace to apologize for a tweet he posted questioning homosexuality just fed my thoughts.  Then the Dolphins, and just about every other professional team, including my beloved Yankees, issued a politically correct statement about inclusion.  Where are those vaunted “small town values?”  Are they to be found anywhere?

          It was not too long ago, small town values were found even in big cities, because big cities were structured around a small town idea.  Just think about it…Harlem, Greenwich Village, Tribecca, Bedsty, Washington Heights, Glendale, Little Italy, Chinatown, Arthur Avenue, …yes, even “The Hollow”.  At one time they were all ethnic ghettos built around a culture, and a church.  It was a place where kids could play outside all day without worries…where everyone watched out for everyone else…where everyone lived by the morals and values taught by the church, and codified in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.  As people moved out of those ethnic ghettos, what is morally acceptable has changed. Beginning with the free love era of the 60s, the popularity of television, and then the advent of the internet, the size of the town has increased.  Today, with the availability of 1,000 cable channels, the anything goes attitude of the movie producers, political correctness and the internet bombarding us with ideas that go against our own personal values,  tolerance has become intolerant, and small towns have disappeared into the large, gentrified mega communities.  The “small town values” even in the small town are unrecognizable.  We have become too big. 

          But have we?  Those “small town values,” based upon the Word of God in the scriptures, are still alive in us, as Christians. We need to remember that while we are to love our neighbors, loving someone does not mean unconditional acceptance.  We love our children, but punish them when they do wrong, we love our spouses but don’t agree with everything they do.  Admonition and discipline along with love and care is what makes true love.  Being called to imitate Christ, we are to love our neighbors as God loves us.