Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Civics: a lost art

You shall not see your brother's ox or his sheep going astray and ignore them. You shall take them back to your brother.
Deuteronomy 22:1

Being a good neighbor was a part of personal responsibility and expected, even mandated, behavior in the Old Testament Law. And this is a good thing. I want to live in a society where people watch out for one another. It is a sign that they care about more than selfish matters.

Of course the 1970's gave us the ultimate antithesis of this concept with the pathetic call to be "Looking out for #1". And I don't think that we have fully recovered from that selfishness. We have absorbed it as part of the cultural matrix. Even community service now has selfish motivation. Most public high schools require hours of some form of community service for graduation. And when it is necessary for personal achievement, it becomes less about service and more about achievement. I am no longer looking out for you because you are worthy. I am looking out for you because I am getting something.

God did not make this commandment anything other than a part of personal responsibility that should stem from character. It is part of good character to care about my neighbor and his property. It don't do it so my property values can go up. I do it because I would not want to lose something to carelessness or an accident. I care about others because caring is the right way to be. That's it. No other personal investment is necessary than this.

So real neighbors care for each other. They help one another out. They prevent loss when they can. They do not ignore each other. That is what makes a civil society in God's eyes.

- Posted with my iPad. The Apple Kool-Aide tastes fine.

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