In the sermon yesterday it was stated that the Apostle Paul challenged the Philippian Christians to look at the best values of their culture, to reflect on those values, to adapt them into their lives and then to use them for God’s purposes. Is it not also appropriate for us to do the same? We’ll be looking at the list of American Values as identified by L. Robert Kohls in “The Values Americans Live By.” (Lehigh University –Career and Profession Development) Remember the invitation is “to think about these things.”
Personal Control over the Environment: Americans no longer believe in the power of Fate, and they have come to look at people who do as being backward, primitive, or hopelessly naive. To be called “fatalistic” is one of the worst criticisms one can receive in the American context; to an American, it means one is superstitious and lazy, unwilling to take any initiative in bringing about improvements. In the United States people consider it normal and right that human beings should control Nature, rather than the other way around. More Americans find it impossible to accept that there are some things which lie beyond the power of humans to achieve. And Americans have literally gone to the moon, because they refused to accept earthly limitations. Americans seem to be challenged, even compelled, to do, by one means or another (and often at great cost) what seven-eighths of the world is certain cannot be done.
Change: In the American mind, change is seen as an indisputably good condition. Change is strongly linked to development, improvement, progress, and growth. Many older, more traditional cultures consider change as a disruptive, destructive force, to be avoided if at all possible. Instead of change, such societies value stability, continuity, tradition, and a rich and ancient heritage — none of which are valued very much in the United States.
The belief that Americans can do anything and that change is good, when combined with the belief in the virtue of hard work and that each individual has a responsibility to do the best he or she can do, have helped Americans achieve great accomplishments.
Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:8
“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Do you agree that Personal Control over the Environment and Change are American Values? If so why?
How has your faith influenced understanding these values and do these values impacted your faithfulness?
What do you consider the top 3 greatest American achievements? And what are your top 3 greatest achievements?
Holy God, use me to achieve great things for you. Amen
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