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It’s time we decide on a spiritual revival

These past few years have been challenging, hard and, with the influx of the omicron variant this Christmas season, seemingly never-ending. It’s been nearly two years since we began what was to have been a two-week pause to stop COVID-19. Since then, we’ve endured lockdowns, masking, sickness, death, fear, overwork, underwork, government stimulus, vaccine creation, the fast-tracking of new antiviral technology, work from home, school closures, supply-chain snafus, tight political elections, protests and rapidly changing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just to name a few items.

The one thing that is certain is that life’s twists and turns can’t always be predicted, and its pace is fast and getting faster. This is not going to change. Gallup poll’s annual update contained key findings.

“The percentage of Americans who reported being a member of a church, synagogue or mosque fell to a record-low 47 percent, according to a March Gallup report,” the update said (polls conducted 2018-2020, 6,117 adults, +/- 2 points). This is the “first time in Gallup’s trend since the 1930s that less than half of U.S. adults have claimed such membership.” While fewer than half of Americans said they are religious, more than half said they believe in the power of God.

As reported in September by Gallup, “Trust in the federal government’s handling of international problems has fallen nine percentage points since last year to a record-low 39%, and now matches the level of trust for its handling of domestic problems — one of only a few times that has occurred” (Sept. 1-17, 1,005 people, confidence level plus or minus 4 points). Trust in institutions has been falling for a while, but this precipitous drop seems unlikely to return to over 50% anytime soon.

Gallup reported in October that “the vast majority of Republicans (75 percent) identify as conservative; Democrats are divided, with nearly as many describing their political views as moderate (37 percent) or conservative (12 percent) as describing them as liberal (51 percent)” (Sept. 1-17, 1,005 adults, plus or minus 4 points). Republicans may be tighter ideologically but they have managed to continually put politics over policy and ego over generosity.

In doing so, they have become as mean-spirited as the Democrats in their messaging.

Gallup also reported in October that a little over a third (36%) of people “in U.S. have a ‘great deal’ or ‘fair amount’ of trust in mass media” (Sept. 1-17, 1,005 adults, plus or minus 4 points). “This includes 68% of Democrats, 31% of Independents and 11% of Republicans.” While Democrats might still overwhelmingly trust mass media, this percentage will likely fall.

What have we learned? That when we expect the worst of others, that is often what we get. If we try to pit our grievances against others, we will find ourselves in a losing battle. If we instead look for the better angels — both within ourselves and, more importantly, within others — possibly, just possibly, we will be able to see the light of God that shines in all of us and encourage it to shine even brighter.

In 2022, let’s look forward to a spiritual revival.

One in which the goal is to help our neighbor, not by helping him realize how terrible he is as a person but by helping him realize what potential he has. That everyone has value; that everyone has a calling; and that our job on this earth is to help others see the light in themselves, as well as our light in ourselves. That is something to look forward to in the new year.

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