The Apostolate of the Laity

Waxing philosophical in communion with one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

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Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I am just a sinner who holds fast to the notion that every human being on the planet is the result of a thought of God.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

A Walk in Integrity

As these United States celebrate being two hundred and thirty three years young, today, Psalm 26 seems most appropriate to reflect upon.

Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering. Prove me, O LORD, and try me; test my heart and my mind. For thy steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in faithfulness to thee. I do not sit with false men, nor do I consort with dissemblers; I hate the company of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked. I wash my hands in innocence, and go about thy altar, O LORD, singing aloud a song of thanksgiving, and telling all thy wondrous deeds. O LORD, I love the habitation of thy house, and the place where thy glory dwells. Sweep me not away with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men, men in whose hands are evil devices, and whose right hands are full of bribes. But as for me, I walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me. My foot stands on level ground; in the great congregation I will bless the LORD.

Imagine a painting of Uncle Sam kneeling before a cross and praying the above prayer. Set aside for a moment that politically correct police who would castigate anyone who would dare link America with God, and imagine in principle, a nation committed to the entreaties of the psalmist. It would be a nation that recognized that indeed it is one nation under God. It would be a nation whose leaders recognized their culpability not to just the electorate; not just to the Constitution; but most of all to the Almighty, and they would govern accordingly.

A theocracy is not what is being desired here. They rarely work as man's propensity for a lust for power tends to pervert the original design on which a theocratic government might be established. Just take a look at Afghanistan before the Taliban were thrown out of power. Instead, what if the government was conceived on a foundation of justice, true justice as in the cardinal virtue, for all? Oh, that's right, it was.

Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity...

Indeed, integrity seems like such a rare commodity in American politics and leadership these days. The firm adherence to any position, especially a moral code, proves difficult when constituents demand governance by popularity versus prudence. And having demoted God to the realm of possibility versus absolute truth, the politician soon finds no integral ground in which to plant his flag. The shifting sands of relativism form an ever shifting, tenuous base.

How interesting that while America celebrates her Independence from England on July 4th, that word, independence, finds no home in sacred scripture. Not once in the Old or New Testament does the word appear. Yet integrity is found over twenty times.

A cursory reading of the Declaration of Independence reveals a document so full of integral proclamations that it very easily could have been called the Declaration of Integrity. It speaks of self evident truths and unalienable rights. God, the One God, figures prominently as the one who bestowed these gifts. In point of fact, He is mentioned in the first two sentences, and there is zero mention of a separation of Church and state.

Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity...

Today, a kind of thinking espoused by Oprah Winfrey has gained some popularity. It's called by many names, but basically it is a perverted form of Sufism, the Islamic mystical practice of drawing close to the Divine in order to purify oneself. Oprah and her cadre of New Age gurus she promotes takes it a step further and dismisses God as a being. Instead all are God and the struggle to discover one's self is far more important than the worship of a single entity.

Under Oprah, when one is with a Muslim, one becomes a Muslim. When one is with a Buddhist, one becomes a Buddhist. When one is with a Hindu, one becomes a Hindu. And when one is with a Christian, well, out of charity for the poor soul stuck in naivete, one becomes an evangelist for enlightened self-interest.

This is germane to this look at integrity as it highlights the challenge the country faces. Bereft of a core set of values given by a just God, on what ground does this nation stand? Without God as the light, the walk in the clearly defined path of integrity turns into a wandering in the wilderness.

God bless America. Please, God, bless America.


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