Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Broken Culture Needs More Than Cicero

I read a piece this morning written by Carla Harper at the Washington Times called The Culture of Brokeness. It is worth the read. Harper points to the fact that Cicero, a statesman, philosopher, lawyer, etc. in Ancient Rome was a constitutionalist. As a matter of fact, those men who wrote the Constitution of the United States of America would have known the Roman consul's name and referenced his writings as they were mandatory study back in the day. Cicero would have been a frame of reference for sure.

In building her case for what is missing in our current culture, I thought Harper drew an interesting parallel between what is happening in our culture and the decline and ultimately the fall of Rome. She looks to similarities such as "moral bankruptcy and fanaticism" that are suffocating our nation. Harper suggests as a remedy that America could use a Cicero -- a man of great culture and learning, especially in Greek philosophy, to rectify the cultural brokeness. (Let us remember that Cicero was assassinated and considered an enemy of the state because of his desire to return to a traditional republican government. That's a lot to ask of any politician.)

While I do agree, we need someone who is grounded and has a good moral compass, one needs to recall that Cicero, in kind with the Greek philosophers, could only come close to truth in their philosophizing. They were emergent, on the precipice, so to speak, in their understanding of what it truly meant to be human (Cicero is touted as being a staunch humanist).

This reality became clear not in Cicero's time, but later at the birth of Christ. While Cicero offers a structure that is solid as far as Constitutional government is concerned, what the framers of the Constitution understood was that it is in God that our hope lies. Our nation can develop a constitution that is used as a guide, the construct that supplies the foundation for living in a civil society. The people are then tasked with living up to certain standards, obeying the essential principles, trusting and acting in a manner that will be pleasing to God.


What this country needs is a leader humble enough, courageous enough, virtuous enough to see that God leads through him. The cynic in me sees a long line of political facades. Something can look bright and shiny on the surface, like a ripe apple hanging on a branch in the orchard, but look inside and one can be quite surprised that under all that shine and appeal is the substance that is rotten to the core.

It is not enough to be a man of great thought, even education. It is more important to be a man of those qualities who is also formed in the idea that God reigns in his heart. Then, that same man must have the moral fortitude to live it in a way that encourages others to do the same. We could use that type of man in government today -- the philosophy and zeal of Cicero with obedience to Jesus.

I am hopeful in that I see several of these men emerging from the rank and file. When you recognize one in your district, pray for them and support them with your time, talent and treasure.

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