Overview of Belief
|To the ones with the right spiritual values ultimately goes the victory. It is not country, race, tribe or type of politics practiced but the spiritual values held and practiced, however imperfectly, that will ultimately decide the situation the world including all nations are in. Now these spiritual values will not be held or practiced perfectly because of basic human nature, but they will prove to be an improving force, and the most important force, in determining the future of our nation and the world.
America has long departed from the right spiritual values and is in a period of moral decadence and decline spiritually, morally, economically and in many other ways. The country today is a VALUES DISASTER (a social disaster caused by the absence of the right values.) This country and much of the world is a disaster of materialism, personal morality, crime, anti-spirituality, and family irresponsibility to name a few examples.
This spiritual decline and moral decadence around us is also reflected in the declining of America’s economic place in the world. Recently an economic bubble has burst because of materialistic greed on every level. It includes the idea that a really successful economy can exist without being accompanied by honesty and widespread spiritual and moral limits self-imposed on the selfishness and cupidity of both customers and capitalists. Instead what has happened? A massive decline of the work ethic along with unrealistic personal and social expectations. A formula for tragedy.
This had to happen because spiritual common sense and a sacramental approach to living with dignity and in social harmony has largely been laid aside in this country and the world. What is going on is an unbalanced view of life: that mankind can exist with materialism on the one end of the see-saw but having no spiritual awareness on the other end of the see-saw that is daily life to balance mad materialism, greed and the excesses of human nature.
We in this country as well as the rest of the world have fallen from classical balanced spiritual thinking. That is our tragedy. We have departed from that classical thinking and balanced view of things, which the peoples of all times have been capable of and expressed in different spiritual views. (Now these spiritual views may have differed in some ways, but the spiritual outlook served to keep mankind from walking out on a plank of materialism, amorality and non-balanced excesses that lead to self-destruction. For this is what we are doing in America, and in places all over the world today. We need to consider today if we are spiritually unbalanced in our lives and thinking. Are we making in our personal lives and in our nations many one sided, unbalanced and warped decisions?)
We need to reemphasize a balanced, eternally and spiritually “classical thinking,” which is thinking in a world view that includes the spiritual balance to the mad materialism of our times. It also curbs the selfish and too-individualistic dark side of human nature that needs to be curbed for the sake of a harmonious society. This balanced view of including spiritual thinking was given to us by Nature’s God as a gift of grace for our survival. Belief in God is natural to people. It comes instinctively, and was given out of the kindness of God, who is real, as an aid to our survival. Instead of arguing over if there is a God, we should accept belief as natural and a gift from God. We know through the gift of belief God is real. For He blessed us with it. It is good for us, though some may misuse it; it still redeems us from ourselves. Those who live in grace know grace to be good.
But why are we so cut off from eternal classical thinking? Why are we so unaware of the duality of the universal picture that when clearly seen makes man balanced, healthy and whole?
One reason is we have been taught to deny our natural belief rather than to accept it and use it. The denial of our belief that nature puts in us is a serious thing for nature cannot be denied. She may be suppressed, but she cannot be denied. Instead the impulses of nature should be refined, sublimated, channeled and polished. But they should not be denied, because that tends to give an unnecessary and unmeant misery to existence. One tends to doubt the sanity of those who give themselves unnecessary misery and mental flagellation. Jesus suffered to redeem the world, but suffering without a redemptive purpose seems strange, modern, and miserable. It is unnatural.
We are also cut off from a sense of the presence of God in this era because we are cut off from awareness of the elemental features in life that reflect Him and His grace. We are cut off from contact with nature in our glass mall society. As the Roman Catholic priest, Gerard Hopkins writes, “the foot being shod no longer feels.” Mankind out of touch with nature and the earth no longer feels the grace that reflects God’s presence. A presence imbedded in the earth that shows forth God’s grace in life through the beauty and love (as in family) that shines through nature as in a mother or father with their babies.
Some of the natural elemental rhythms in life that reflect the grace of God in nature are not only things to be experienced but elemental universal rhythms to be seen: Universal Human Values that show up in all people at all times like immortality, honesty, truth, loyalty, intuitive truths and religious commitments, earth roots and patriotism which is love of area and earth. People in touch with these elemental rhythms feel reaffirmations of God’s presence and grace.
It is important that we remember the grace, the unmerited favor of God that gave us Christ, can also be seen at times in nature through a glass darkly but there in the gift of babies, the mother and the child, the father and the sons, the farmer growing his crops, all these are elemental rhythms that help establish universal values and natural laws.
Therefore be aware of the blessed elemental rhythms of life, the reoccurring grace in life that we may see and cherish through the generations. For as life continues, the signs of God’s grace go on; and we see His presence daily and indirectly. So there is preached to you the appreciation of the elemental rhythms of grace that reflect God. The appreciation of these may seem provincial, but they are actually the ultimate in sophistication.
Yet we are placed in this most decadent, immoral, materialistic, money crazed, amoral, addict ridden, society where divorce is so common that it is rare for a father to rear his own son. We are called upon to live and witness for Christianity in a painful and confusing time. It is a painful time.
Generally what we see on television is an open sewer of desensitizing violence and false values running through the mind of the country like a constant smut stream of debasing and insensitive values: murder upon murder, brutality and more brutality, rape upon rape, and advertising hype never ending. The people of America have turned over the minds of their children and future citizens to a brutal commercial television run solely for profit. Such a massive suicide in values in a society is almost unbelievable, but the decadence of America remains amazing.. fashionable amorality sells.
This unfortunate situation is completely supported and somewhat caused by a class of non-spiritually aware people that seem to dominates the thinking of the country. We have politically dominant groups that are totally unaware of any balanced classical thinking, the dual physical and spiritual nature of reality. We have many, many people completely spiritually unaware, even denying the existence of God. Such shallow thinking also seems to be marked by endless financial irresponsibility. Over schooled and over drugged, we have a domineering too liberal class that seems to have been schooled into moral nothingness.
America gives the impression of having bad values, almost no moral sense, and very little common sense. Certainly it is also seriously lacking in spiritual awareness, which could furnish some balance and moral thinking about its materialism. America has high expectations, which it expects to materialize magically out of spiritual poverty; moral degeneracy, bad values, and a serious shortage of financial common sense. Many people expect politics to solve all problems. The problems of today are spiritual as well as political and include spiritual and value problems that mere politics cannot solve.
Yet it is in this time and such an era that Providence has called upon us as members of churches and believers in God to witness for Him. That is no small challenge to have placed before us as believers in God and members of churches in this self-destructive age. We recall to your attention Revelations 3:22; “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” (KJV)
Our argument concludes by saying that a spiritual rebirth in the nation is needed. It must come from the people and begin in the people. You may see around you the failure of what has come to us from the top down. If this country is to have a spiritual rebirth, it must come from the good people at the bottom, not the ones lacking good values and moral common sense at the top.
How can this spiritual rebirth of America be accomplished? Yes, it needs prayer, yes, it needs support of conservative and Biblical churches, yes, it needs revival, yes, it needs the grace of God. When I doubt I always go the New Testament. And there I find as the basic unit of the New Testament mentioned in First Corinthians 16:19 the “house churches.”
The house churches are small gatherings of believers, usually less than 20 or 25, who come together to grow in grace and share the experience of Christ and the application of Christian living. These are not meant to replace the Sunday Service with another but to supplement, strengthen and bring spiritual growth and resolution to the churches. (You should read in the Book “Reasoning Together” on this website the writings on ‘House Churches.” It was through the house churches that the New Testament Church was established. It was predominantly to house churches the Apostle Paul preached (sustaining himself as a tent maker) as he traveled.
We are not denomination or faith that requires a priest to have true worship in neighborhood spiritual gatherings. But it is my suggestion that in this corrupt Age, the basic unit of the New Testament, the house churches of believers growing together in grace and Christ, should be used.
Our Age is a corrupt age very much like the deeply corrupt Roman Age. I suggest that what served then will not be found to be outdated now, but, just as then, small groups can be a great means of spiritual growth as churches spread Christ and His Affectionate Concern for All in neighborhoods and families.
This is a broad general overview of Dr. MacLeod’s religious thought. We invite you to read his religious and educational books and writings on this website. He views America as fallen far from the Covenant of Grace and the contracts of decency upon which America was originally founded long ago by religious people and obviously since departed.
We at the website also warn you that if you are not ready, do not read. We suggest Dr. MacLeod is very much worth reading, but he follows the advice of St. Paul, “if the trumpet give an uncertain sound,” (I Corinthians 14:8) who shall get ready for battle?
We suggest in reading Dr. MacLeod, you may have an opportunity to consider if he is, as we think, a preacher and a prophet in our time that is if judged by the enduring values and views of preacher and prophets.
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.