Alone in the New America

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This article describes the working-class demographic quite literally surrounding my church (with one notable exception, a gated community on the north side). The article offers an accurate diagnosis of their woes—through terribly sad anecdotes—and then an insufficient prescription. The broken families in West Greenville (and particularly the children) would be helped by structural improvements in society, but I’ve sat on their porches and talked to them. I’ve preached to them over and over in weekly services. Despite the depths to which they’ve fallen—and I could tell you even sadder anecdotes—most won’t humble themselves and repent. It just shocks me sometimes, even after all these years, to hear people who so clearly have hit rock bottom leap to tell me how good and honest they are. I see myself in their responses. They need the gospel and the grace of God, the things we all need.

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

2 thoughts on “Alone in the New America”

  1. This couple write articles and books but, does this accomplish anything for these alienated young people? Having detailed knowledge of the situation does not alter or help things for them.
    I see the same things happening in our country and at an even faster rate of decay in many ways. The employers here have broken down the cohesiveness of the work force with individual contracts (let alone paying a living wage) to such a degree that workers no longer socialise or even ‘party’ together. Even though working in the same workplace they no longer feel that they have anything in common with others who work there, when though essentially doing the same work, their working conditions can be quite different.
    Turning things around for these (mostly) younger people is difficult when a society becomes so secularised that no one still believes when ” the Scripture says … again, The laborer is worthy of his hire.” (1 Timothy 5:18)
    The Gospel is the only answer to these problems and maybe we should be starting with the employers in order to bring them some reward in the end also.

  2. Yes, God’s grace in gospel is the only solution, ultimately speaking. But I wouldn’t rule out the value of writing articles and books. Reading sociologist Charles Murray’s Coming Apart really helped me get a grasp on what I was seeing in the neighborhoods around my church. Check out C.S. Lewis’ essay “Learning in Wartime,” among many other things I could point to, for a defense of maintaining cultural and academic pursuits “in view of the present distress.”

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