On Sunday at church, a very good message about what defines and affects our personal identity was brought forth by Donovan Rowe. Many factors were identified and discussed by him with the conclusion that Jesus Christ should be the main factor to define a Christian's identity! What he meant by that is our characteristics and thinking should be like those Christ himself exhibited. If Christ is not the main influence shaping our identity, something else will step in to fill that role - be it our clothes, reputation, position, intellect, political party, or whatever else - something else will definitely influence and shape our personal identity!
As I thought about the topic of what influences our identity, my thoughts took me to meditate on what defines and influences the identity of a nation. Recent news articles and television stories have been constantly showing the rioting and violence going on in England. Images of young men and women running through the streets with hoods over their heads and masks on their faces, looting stores and homes, are images we see coming forth continually in these stories. Reports of assaults, thefts, and arson have shocked many British citizens as social commentators and politicians try to determine THE cause of such behavior. The identity a previous generation of British citizens had about themselves has been completely obliterated by the recent happenings in England. Read what a British newspaper reports about the underlying causes of the riots. I italicized keywords in the story for you to think about what is being said about the "somethings" affecting Britian's national identity.
Aug 15, 11:53 AM EDT
Cameron: Riot-hit UK must reverse `moral collapse'
David Stringer and Shawn Pogatchnik
Britain must confront a culture of laziness, irresponsibility and selfishness that fueled four days of riots which left five people dead, thousands facing criminal charges and hundreds of millions in damages, Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged Monday.
As rival political leaders staked out their response to England's unrest, Cameron pledged to deliver a raft of new policies by October aimed at reversing the "slow-motion moral collapse" which he blames for fostering the disorder.
"This has been a wake-up call for our country. Social problems that have been festering for decades have exploded in our face," Cameron told an audience at a youth center in Witney, his Parliamentary district in southern England. "Just as people last week wanted criminals robustly confronted on our street, so they want to see these social problems taken on and defeated."
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said Monday he was checking whether those involved in the riots should have their welfare payments cut, while London mayor Boris Johnson said young people convicted in the disorder would lose their right to use public transportation for free.
Cameron pledged to end a culture of timidity in discussing family breakdown or poor parenting, or in criticizing those who fail to set a good example to their children or community.
"We have been too unwilling for too long to talk about what is right and what is wrong," Cameron said. "We have too often avoided saying what needs to be said, about everything from marriage to welfare to common courtesy."
In a rival speech, main opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband criticized Cameron's response as overly simplistic, and demanded that lawmakers focus on delivering better opportunities for disaffected young people.
"The usual politicians' instinct - announce a raft of new legislation, appoint a new adviser, wheel out your old prejudices and shallow answers - will not meet the public's demand," said Miliband.
He spoke at his former high school in Camden, north London, half a block from the scene of rioting Aug. 8, when shops were trashed and police came under attack.
"Are issues like education and skills, youth services, youth unemployment important for diverting people away from gangs, criminality, the wrong path? Yes, they matter," Miliband said.
The differing approaches to Britain's most serious riots in a generation are likely to dominate the country's annual political conventions, which begin next month. Miliband has called for a full public inquiry into the roots of the riots, while Cameron insists his government is able to adequately examine the issue.
Cameron insists that racial tensions, poverty and the government's austerity program - much of which is yet to bite - were not the primary motivations for the riots across London and other major cities.
Instead, Cameron pointed to gang-related crime, and a widespread failure from Britain's leaders to address deep rooted social issues, including the country's generous welfare system.
"Children without fathers. Schools without discipline. Reward without effort. Crime without punishment. Rights without responsibilities. Communities without control. Some of the worst aspects of human nature tolerated, indulged - sometimes even incentivized - by a state and its agencies that in parts have become literally demoralized," Cameron said.
He pledged that the government would intervene to help 120,000 of the country's most troubled families before the 2015 national election.
Standing before a backdrop of graffiti, Cameron said Britain's damaged society had for too long been one which "incites laziness, that excuses bad behavior, that erodes self-discipline, that discourages hard work."
Both he and Miliband agreed that, following recklessness by bankers, the lawmakers' expense check scandal, and media phone hacking saga, all sectors of society had a share of the blame.
"Moral decline and bad behavior is not limited to a few of the poorest parts of our society. In the highest offices, the plushest boardrooms, the most influential jobs, we need to think about the example we are setting," Cameron said.
The newspaper article expresses the common excuses given by the national leaders in order to try and answer why this behavior is rampant! There is an identity crisis in England as there is in almost all countries of the world. Who are we as a people? What is our culture, history, and purpose? What are our common beliefs that will govern our society? The question of "What" or "Who" will be the "influencer" on the nation will determine what the national identity and direction will be. For England, the people have forgotten their national identity for the most part. A rejection of the one true God and his word as their identity has led the once great British Empire to become a second-rate socialist backwater in need of a quick reminder of what made it great in the first place. Psalm 33:12 proclaims, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD..."! A return to the Lord and his law is not only the answer for Britain's identity crisis, but it is also the answer for the entire world's!
The god or God we serve will determine what type of culture we will develop since ALL morality is based on some type of religious foundation. If we want to build a strong society and culture, they MUST be built upon Jesus and his word! To build upon any other foundation is to build a house destined for destruction! Or as brother Lecrae sings, "Identity is found in the God we trust. Any other identity will self destruct!" Preach it brother, preach it!
Stay holy, my friends!
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