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In this special Thanksgiving episode, Ross encourages you to find what you are thankful for and the importance of maintaining a spirit of service.
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Unity -- Or Lack Thereof
Unity is defined as “the state of being united or joined as a whole.” Unity is also a position of being together as one with someone. It is the opposite of being divided. Unity is a word for togetherness or oneness.
With these definitions to bring clarity, I write today about my perceptions and observations about unity—or lack thereof in our society. This writing will bring to awareness the trends that I have observed in my seven decades of life. Some of my thoughts are the result of reflections back to my childhood, and some within the past year. Most are “trends” that I have noticed over time, and quite typically, trends lead to new realities, positive or negative.
First, we have evolved to become a seven day a week commerce country. As a child growing up, Sunday was for going to church in most of America and Sunday was a family day. Five percent of people worked on Sunday—restaurants, gas stations, and health care facilities. How does this relate to unity? With the move towards seven days a week of retail, there is a much larger percentage of people working, family days have switched to other days or have disappeared entirely. Thus, there is less unity in a faith based society and lesser amount of family togetherness. Unity has decreased in our honoring of the Sabbath and honoring family time. Consumerism has increased, resulting in dividing the attention of people.
Second, loyalty to family, team, or community has decreased. As a young man the culture I grew up was of intense loyalty. We were taught that loyalty to family, team, and community was a fundamental expectation. Loyalty brought unity to family, team, and community. Again, this was the expected norm—being together, supporting one another, and loving on one another—loyal to the end.
Marriage, once thought to be sacred, meant that wedding vows were forever. Marriages weren’t perfect, but marriage meant commitment and family meant together. Divorce was a rarely spoken word. Seldom did a child have no father or a stepfather. Family was the fundamental example of unity in our society. The expectation was that Mr. and Mrs. were united in marriage, and they raised their family as husband and wife. Today, almost 50% of marriages result in divorce or separation. The family is no longer the example of unity. Instead we have raised up generations of broken home children, with many having no evidence of a father and mother in the same home. The American family is now much more of a divided unit.
The United States of America was created with a vision from our forefathers that this country was to be one of unity. Unity of thought, unity of commitment, unity of process, and unity in governing. The root word in “united” is unity. Ask yourself, is our country more unified in 2021 or are we more divided than in any time in our country’s history. I would argue that we are moving more towards being the “divided” states of America. Our political variances have resulted in very wide chasms that preclude coming together for the right reason. The only time our political parties come together is with the right amount of “pork” thrown in that either party can gain. Pork means taxpayer money is spent on things that don’t benefit the majority of the people. Pork serves the divided interests. The era of statesmanship and compromise for the greater good of America has given way to polarization of party politics and to blaming the opposing viewpoint. Unity is losing ground and division is increasing in our culture.
Lastly, being together is possible because of high regard for another person and respect for people. In my opinion, we are more divided than ever, in part, because of our lack of care and respect for others. This has brought us an increase in crime, lawlessness, and disregard for human life. Murder rates continue to escalate year over year, and our prisons are overflowing. Hereto, a genuine lack of concern for human life means increased division.
I will not be guilty of writing these trends without solution. My thoughts are that we must slow the pace of life, focus on family values, teach respect and regard for all people, and “see the greater good for the greatest number” as the path for politics. We need leadership in this country that will extol the virtues of unity and being together. Unity leads to a positive path moving forward.
The word “united” is the key word in United States of America! I invite you to join me in prayer for unity.
God’s very best,