(Is America becoming an oxymoron?)
An oxymoron is where incongruous or contradictory terms are combined, as in a deafening silence and bittersweet.  America is fast
becoming a secularized culture that has its roots planted in biblically based absolutes.  Question is how long those roots will anchor
their moral imperatives and Judeo-Christian values, before unabashed attempts come to literally uproot them all.  
                                          Secular relativism + Christian absolutes = Civic Religion [Oxymoron]
America is arduously attempting to navigate down a broad thoroughfare strewn with debris from struggles between
religious and secular strongholds of influence.  Biblical text forewarns such a grappling travail would dominate the
endtimes, just prior to the 2nd Advent of Christ.  America is living in a postmodern progressive religious society, as is
much of present-day industrialized civilization.  The Jewish and Christian religions are irrefutably under egregious
attack and subterfuge from all secular corners as well as various non-Christian religious enclaves (read here, viz.
radicalized Islam).  The founding fathers of America left no doubt in their establishment documents the new Republic
was to be predicated on Christian values and not secular relativism, universal ecumenism or a State controlled Church.
A recent quip by a 2008 presidential candidate branding secularism as a "religion", is surely a sign-of-the-times ...
everybody needs a recognizable label.  In America "Religion" is well on its way to becoming a byword for a host of
cultural/civic activities, temporal belief constructs and/or theological doctrines.  "The future ain't what it used to
[Y. Berra]

The birth and maturation of American Democracy was/is truly a one-of-a-kind form of Federalism, in contemporary
governance terms.  From an international perspective, America appears to be losing its place of undeniable
preeminence and power in world affairs.  A realignment of global territorial imperatives (e.g., Russian expansionism),
mutually self-regulating government consortiums (e.g.,
EU Super State) and emerging mass-market nations (China
and soon India) are beginning to make their presence loudly known.  At the beginning of the 21st C. America is still
king-of-the-international-hill, but the wannabes are compassing the camp, while we preoccupy ourselves with
polarizing domestic issues, partisan political infighting and a blind pursuit of 'things as they have always been'.  
Scripture reveals in the last days,
evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.  
Contemporary motivational speakers, most secular and some religious, are telling their audiences "things" can only get
"better" and anyone can overcome any obstacle hindering their pathway to total "happiness and prosperity", by
following your dream ... another apparent contradiction to prophetic scripture, clearly evidencing a different mindset
in forecasting near endtime days to come.

America has entered a new era, and there seems to be an almost nebulous consensus as to what this time/season is
becoming or has the potential to become.  One thing for certain, as America progressively gives up its embrace of
Judeo-Christian values and absolutes, the fickle finger of fate will have its way with our nation's future and beyond.  
We continue to live in a paradoxical contradiction of demanding to keep America a status quo nation while
simultaneously attempting to manage, if not greatly influence, the affairs of several other nation-states.  We seem to
expect the 21st C. to acquiesce to our decades of dominance as we cavalierly place our Judeo-Christian underpinnings
in the back-office for safekeeping.  The back-office opens onto a row of dumpsters into which those things we
believe we no longer need or infrequently use finally reside. "We live in the best and worst of times"
[C. Dickens] is a
nebulous contradiction within itself.

Do we know the tail from the head, and the end from the beginning?
              "Why does a dog wag its tail? Because a dog is smarter than its tail. If the tail was smarter, the tail would
                       wag the  dog."  Moreover, the expression "the tail wagging the dog" refers to any case where something
                       of greater significance is driven by something lesser.[Wiki]
We might say we now are experiencing a "radicalized Islamic tail attempting to wag the Western dog".  There are
other ways and means for dealing with radicalized terror than America is employing today, but the U.S. is not ready to
enter those waters, yet the time and circumstances are coming which will utterly test our mettle and resolve.  "The
four horsemen will ride ..."
[Rev. 6-] probably sooner than most imagine.

Other characterizations of tail wagging are termed: diversionary tactics, deflecting blame and damage control through
displacement.  Refocusing the national attention away from a political sinkhole was apparent in the Clinton
administration i.e., MonicaGate, and is in some respects evident in this administration's deflection from the
Iraq/Afghanistan quagmire onto the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.  The Congressional tail continues, as in its recent
attempts, to wag the White House dog, while the Dems and GOP incessantly argue over who has the biggest tail.  
This nation not only is dividing on several critical mass political issues, but it continues to grapple with moral
imperatives, Constitutional Rights, civil equalities & privileges.  An emerging progressive moral relativism has begun
directly confronting fundamental Judeo-Christian tenets, even in cases brought before the highest court in the land.  
Many are saying, America is loosing its moral compass and beginning to buckle under to mankind's bridleless
carnality. God finished the end before He began the beginning and mankind desperately needs to understand that
Divine paradigm. Without such Divine awareness, there can be no real confidence that He is in control and all things
are held together by the Word of His Power.
[Heb. 1:3]

Do we know who the real enemy is which threatens global civilization?
What is the driving force behind radical Islam, moral degeneration, hatred for Israel, religious intolerance, genocide,
wars-upon-wars, coming plagues etc. etc? The polarities of 'good' and 'evil' are approaching their biblical point of
prophetic endtime confrontation.  In order for this ultimate antagonism to manifest itself to the fullest, the polarities of
"light" and "darkness" must clash in one last great conflagration.  What we are witnessing today, in this dispensational
age, is the run-through on the way to the run-up of God's judgment among the nations and on mankind.  Evil knows it
has only a short time in which to make an all-out assault on The Kingdom of Heaven on earth, and will spare no
effort, means nor resource in its quest to accomplish that end.  The greater the opposition of a secular belief system is
against the Word of God, the greater will be the conflict and need for reconciliation.  We read in scripture that in the
last days, without God's direct intervention in the affairs of mankind, there would not be any flesh left alive.  Are we
there yet? Apparently not quite.  However, some believe they can see and smell fallout from yellowcake dust, just over
the not-too-distant horizon.  Now would be a good time to get oneself right with God.  This is not fear mongering,
rather direct encouragement for a reasoned mind that understands there is more to life than mankind can
conceptualize on its own.  The galactic universe did not just expand from a speck of cosmic dust and neither did man
spontaneously evolve from a salamander, contrary to some popular imaginations.

How many tines are there on a fork in the road?
One of today's contemporary preoccupations is the pronounced warming of earth's atmosphere.  No contest the
temperature has risen 0.3°± since the early 1900's ... be it from sunspots, greenhouse gases, carbon emissions or all
three.  We ought to be equally, if not overly, concerned about a possible nuclear winter, as well as a speculated
coming decade of increased global warming.  A nuclear winter would checkmate any further global warming
concerns, be they man made or weather-cyclic.  Again, the tail of public interest continues in its attempts to wag the
Nation's dog and distract persons and governments from seriously attending to potential critical-mass situations,
lurking just beyond our immediate awareness.  America has recently become so politically polarized with partisan
rancor that stymied Congressional legislation, Executive Branch reliance on veto-power, and contentious
political-party obstructionism have become the order-of-the-day.  The age-old axiom "a divided nation can not
continue to stand" is a strong admonition for the United States to understand.  America did not see "Pearl" coming or
"9-11"; will we see the next one?  For there surely will be a next one, if not sooner.  Gnarly social issues,
environmental variances, and "Rights" entitlements preoccupy a significant amount of America"s public/political think
time, while the destiny of mankind seems easily left by so many to chance, fate or someone else"s feigned judgment.

A familiar quote reads, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it".
[Berra]   America presently is, as are many
other states/nations, at that proverbial fork.  Yet, we as a nation seem to ignore the obvious and prefer to 'go-it our
own way', while casting God's scriptural road map aside.  America, like all other historic examples of civilizations that
attain superior militarily power and unmatched economic prosperity, is facing such a tipping point.  Careening off the
centerline and taking the wrong fork has most always involved a decline in moral standards, de-emphasis and/or
dismissal of religious practices, over self-indulgence, and a propensity to import more than they export while
consuming more than they produce.  Saudi Arabia's arrogant rhetoric at Annapolis(11/'07) is a preview of things to
come.   One might say here, "when they have you by the barrel, hearts and minds easily follow", so to speak.  
America in a nutshell i.e., excessive energy reliance on and consumption of imported petrochemicals.

As a nation, we think we know the answers, but have we asked the seminal questions?
It actually is not a question of America attempting to "rescue itself" from the eschatological (endtime) prophetic events
to come, but rather can it bring itself back under God's Kingdom precepts, commandments and decrees in order to
persevere during those times?  This great nation does not have to become an oxymoron of diametrically opposed and
contradictory mores, values, priorities, or social/cultural practices.  If America does not turn back to its
Judeo-Christian roots it will continue to fall away from the foundational principles and constructs upon which this
nation was established.  As we fall away, by definition, we are falling towards something else and that surely appears
to be postmodern social progressivism, moral relativism, and a newage-type religious ecumenism.  Whomever
America places in the White House (2008-09) will in all likelihood signify and evidence our national standing in the
Kingdom  of God, from a titular position.  We read in scripture, God places kings on the throne and dethrones them
as well.  Look beyond the inflated political rhetoric leading up to the coming election for POTUS.  On the one hand,
size you candidate on his/her known character.  On the other hand, measure your candidate against the indomitable
demands and polarized contradictions he/she will have to face from the first day in office, and every day until the end
of their term in office.  Our electoral choices seem to be morphing day by day.  Consider, along with their positions
on domestic issues, who will be able to best stand up to Putin, Ahmadinejad, Hu Jintao, Ban Ki-Moon, Kim
Jong,Chávez, King Al Saud and a slate of other powerful international players!  America is parsing domestic issues
almost to death, while destiny lingers in the shadows of endtime events and happenings barely discussed in the
2007-08 presidential debates.

This is not a political commentary, rather a plea in part to understand the Question(s), e.g., " ... when the Son of Man
comes, will He find faith on the earth" or will He find supposedly politically correct answers?  The Word of God is
not contradictory nor does it leave one in an oppositional stance to God's Truth.  An increasing percent of 21st C.
mankind is making a yeomen effort to navigate its way through a labyrinth of endtime happenings while denying the
relevance or authenticity of scripture, which holds God's revelation of coming events.  Often one can hear American
military leadership, when asked, say biblical references made to Ezekiel 38 & 39, and other endtime prophetic
scripture, are "off the table" in national defense considerations and issues.  When pressed further, regarding Israel and
its more recent catapult to headline prominence and international angst, the response is the same, if not more pointed.  
Is it that we believe man alone in his great wisdoms, has the salient answers to resolve contemporary problems that
seem so irresolvable?

Do we know the pivotal questions facing this nation in these latter days?  In many high-level decision making settings,
involving cross-platform government deliberations, it would appear 'group consensus' and favored institutional/policy
touchstones trump delineating most questions beyond their immediate relevance ... Congress is the "gold standard"
here.  Further, it appears America seeks to have answers and game plans for most all imagined situations, yet we
seem to have a most stubborn resistance towards asking questions that reach much ahead of our temporal
understandings.  More every day, God looks to be a postmodern polarity from which an increasing amount of
modern-mankind is zealous to be detached.  Separation here seems to imply that God sets limits on man's uncontrolled
self-indulgences, disdains situational morality, has written down His endtime Plan (Eph. 1:10), expects obedience and
requires submission to a higher authority.

What time is it? ... It is not too late, yet!
We are admonished in scripture to beware of that time when mankind will worship the creation more than the Creator
... the Pot over The Potter Himself ... today, so many are already there in their personal choices, trust and reliance.  
America is facing a spate of moral, religious, governance, and societal perplexities many of which are polarizing the
populous of this great nation, its electoral processes, political strongholds and religious institutions. History records
those nations unwilling or unable to resolve their internal contradictions.  History also records the consequences that
visited those nations by way of external forces that, and in turn, coerced resolutions by one means or another.  
America experienced a dastardly coercion on 9/11, yet we razed the rubble, erected a memorial, motored off to
Mesopotamia and returned to a status quo-type "life".   America seems befogged about much of the present and the
not too far distant future.  Such a perplexing condition does not mean we as individuals should allow ourselves to
become hamstrung about the present and near-future, as well.  God gave His written precepts, commandments, and
decrees as irrefutable guideposts for individuals and for the nations. Let us fiercely resist and defy being pulled down
into the undertow of contemporary secular progressivism and passively ignore its attempts to dismantle God's Truth.  
God's Truth has been since the beginning, will be until the end, and beyond ... it is even undeniably present during
these in-between times.  If there is no divine oversight of mankind's earthly journey, then we are truly like a ship
without a rudder heading straight into a series of tumultuous endtime storms and capsizing seas.  It does
not have to
be that way! God has given us the choice and means not to be consumed by the endtimes and their tragedies.  That
choice and means is Jesus Christ and He alone!

Jon D. Hannum, Ph.D.
Amen Ministries of Austin
Are we there yet?