A Dangerously Overlooked Change in the Story of America


We know you’ll just keep pushing all this away.

And that is fine with us.

But, we thought we should at least warn you about something which is generally ignored. You see, it has serious implications for what could play out in America’s unfolding drama. It may have made millions and millions of Americans more oriented towards a breakup of your nation. And – as you’ll see in the section titled Our Overlooked Tribal Anger – this may play a serious role in escalating the price you’ll pay as the Foolish Revenge Wager of Donald Trump’s Christian Supporters comes into play.

Look at this…


Spiritual decay is causing a great social unrest,including the breakdown of the family. In short, we are facing a national crisis that has the potential to bring about some very dire consequences.

Experiencing God, by Henry & Richard Blackaby

As part of our Change Epiphany, Paula began to help us to see something we had missed about the massive change in the story of America…


Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution writes: “It used to be that most children were raised by their married parents. For the children of the college-educated elites, that’s still true. But for the rest of America, meaning roughly two thirds of all children, it’s no longer the case.”

Are We Still Married? Family Structure and Family Policy in the Emerging Age of the Unformed Family, by David Blankenhorn, Institute for American Values

In generations past, the great majority of American children were raised by their mother and father, who lived in the same home. In such a culture, the rest of the community had little to do with the rearing and nurturing of the children. The bulk of the child’s maturation was due to the decisions and actions of the parents and the environment of the family home.

Slowly, we began to hand our parental responsibilities away. Daycare providers, nannies, organized youth sports, clubs, youth groups, television shows, video games and other services came to serve in loco parentis as actual parenting grew less common. It took about 50 years, but the process is now nearly complete with the smartphone.

As our culture has grown more unstable, our kids need parents more than ever, yet many parents are less a part of their child’s life than at any point in the history of the US.

Lucifer’s Game, By BOB SULLIVAN, Crisis Magazine, APRIL 17, 2018

I thought about how much our conception of the family has changed in just the last half century and, more radically, how it has changed in the last five hundred to six hundred years. 

The overall shape of the pre-sixteenth-century family would hold through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and into the nineteenth century. But a number of cultural transformations were bringing change. The cultural winds would take years to radically alter the landscape of the family, but gusts like the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the American and French revolutions, and the early arrival of the industrial/urban economy would greatly change the family.

….

The world changed dramatically and rapidly in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. With the arrival of a full-blown industrial economy, the extension of the power of the nation-state, and a society-wide embrace of Enlightenment perspectives, the world changed in countless ways. Not the least of these transitions was the conception of marriage and family.

Andrew Root, The Children of Divorce

In 1960, nine years before Reagan kickstarted the era of the optional-father, only 5 percent of American children were born out of wedlock. Forty years after no-fault divorce entered the United States, a shocking 41 percent of children are born to an unmarried mother. God only knows what the next 40 years will look like.

Guess Which Mass Murderers Came From A Fatherless Home, By Peter Hasson, The Federalist, JULY 14, 2015

Divorce rates had been increasing since the mid-1800s, in part because of what Cherlin described as “a gradual growth in the sense that it was okay to end a marriage if you’re unhappy.” Divorces spiked after World War II, peaking in 1980.

Cherlin says that in the late 1970s, when he received his Ph.D., it was widely expected among researchers that the divorce rate would continue to rise. But it hasn’t, and what’s behind this unforeseen development is the decline of marriage—and the corresponding rise of cohabitation—among Americans with less education. As the sociologist Victor Chen wrote for The Atlantic last year, those without college degrees were a few decades ago significantly likelier to be married by age 30 than were those with college degrees. Now, Chen notes, “just over half of women in their early 40s with a high-school degree or less education are married, compared to three-quarters of women with a bachelor’s degree.”

….

So, looking at married couples alone doesn’t capture the true nature of American partnerships today. “If you were to include cohabiting relationships [in addition to marriages], the breakup rates for young adults have probably not been going down,” Cherlin says. In other words: Yes, divorce rates are declining. But that’s more a reflection of who’s getting married than of the stability of any given American couple.

The Not-So-Great Reason Divorce Rates Are Declining, By JOE PINSKER, The Atlantic, September 25, 2018

In New York magazine last week, Jean Twenge, a social psychologist at San Diego State University, offered an explanation for why anxiety among young people is at an 80-year high. She cites all the change and upheaval young people today have seen. As marriages happen later or not at all, the family structure is changing dramatically.

‘They can’t even’: Why millennials are the ‘anxious generation’, By Karol Markowicz, New York Post, March 20, 2016

This report comes at a time when an ever-increasing number of children find themselves born into families that aren’t legally bound together by marriage. This is a new trend in the western world, and it’s being widely researched: “Between the 1970s and the early 2000s, the percentage of women who got married by the time their first child was born fell by half, according to research by Jonathan Vespa, Ph.D., a demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau, and Kimberly Daniels, Ph.D., of the National Center for Health Statistics. The percentage of unmarried pregnant women who lived with their baby’s father by the time of the birth jumped from 8 percent to 28 percent. Says Dr. Vespa, ‘It’s been a record transformation.’

Report: Global Spike In Cohabitation Is Destabilizing Children’s Lives, By Holly Scheer, The Federalist, February 6, 2017

Marriage has declined rapidly in our lifetime. In 2000, 55 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds were married. Only 34 percent were never married. In the last few years, never-marrieds are getting close to overtaking married people in the population. The average number of people per household has shrunk from 3.33 to 2.57 since 1960. That doesn’t seem like much, but multiply it across an entire kin network and the effect is a dramatic shrinking of the number of people to whom you give, and from whom you expect, some familial loyalty and socializing.

The Social Treasury Is Depleting, By MICHAEL BRENDAN DOUGHERTY, National Review, July 6, 2018

The phenomenon of unwed cohabiting parents was all but non-existent as late as 1960, but today large and rapidly increasingly proportions of US children spend some of their childhood in this type of family. Remarkably, the demographers Sheela Kennedy and Larry Bumpass estimate that currently in the US more than half of all unmarried mothers who give birth are in a cohabiting relationship and that “almost half of the children in the United States can be expected to spend some time in a cohabiting family.”

Are We Still Married? Family Structure and Family Policy in the Emerging Age of the Unformed Family, by David Blankenhorn, Institute for American Values

And it looks like this change has put your society in great danger…


For me, the fundamental question is “What’s best for families?” because the family as a US social institution is fragile and in crucial ways dysfunctional. An impressive body of research from numerous disciplines and diverse political perspectives suggests that the family is society’s seedbed institution and, therefore, that there is much truth to Margaret Mead’s famous dictum that “as the family goes, so goes the nation.”

Are We Still Married? Family Structure and Family Policy in the Emerging Age of the Unformed Family, by David Blankenhorn, Institute for American Values

Not even the best of governments can compensate for a broken society with broken families, and a broken society with broken families will produce the government it deserves, which will not be the best of governments.

Os Guinness, Impossible People

The bottom line is families are the building blocks of our country, of a society. At its most basic level, and if you look at the most basic level of society it begins in the family. If the family is broken nothing else in society works well.

Rubio Delivers Remarks at Focus on the Family’s 2018 “Faith and Freedom Tour”, Sen. Marco Rubio, MAY 24 2018

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the breakdown of the family is the single greatest challenge facing America.

Marco Rubio, American Dreams

Talk-show host, attorney, and best-selling author Larry Elder said the breakdown of the family — fatherless families — is the number one problem in America, not racism or discrimination or bad cops.

….

“The number one problem domestically facing this country is the breakdown of the family,” said Elder.  “And President Obama said it, I didn’t. A kid raised without a dad is five times more likely to be poor and commit crimes; nine times more likely to drop out of school; and 20 times more likely to end up in jail.”

Larry Elder: Fatherless Families Are the No. 1 Problem in America, Not Racism, by Michael W. Chapman, CNSNews, August 17, 2017

[I]t should be very concerning to everybody, all Americans that, even in the time of a growing economy, American family life is crumbling. Family formation is the last rite of passage into adulthood for our children and it’s increasingly suffering from a failure to launch. In the 1950s, fewer than 5 percent of children were born out of marriage.

Today, that number is over 40 percent, meaning almost half of the children in this country are born into a single parent home and in many cases into a family where the father is non-existent in the child’s life. Financially does not provide, emotionally does not provide and obviously is not part of the family unit in terms of teaching values. There’s a recent study by the Institute for Family Studies found that the number of married Americans ages 18 to 64 has hit an all-time low, with only 48 percent of all adults now are married, compared to 75 percent in 1960 and nearly 60 percent just less than 20 years ago in 2000. The failure to form families is most clear among younger Americans. Last year, only 26 percent of adults ages 18 to 34 were married, that’s down from 40 percent in 1990.

Just this week, the Centers for Disease Control announced that U.S. birthrates hit a 40-year low in 2017. And as the economy began accelerate even faster toward the end of last year; the provisional data suggests fertility began to fall even faster, confounding the historical relationship between the health of our economy and formation of new families and family members. At the same time, America is wracked by total dysfunction for what it means to have honorable, respectable men and women in the home, at the workplace, and in our churches and synagogues, in religion, by the way that’s if they even have faith as part of their life at all. There is no coincidence. Our deeper cultural and societal problems are the fruit of what has gone deeply wrong in American family life.

Rubio Delivers Remarks at Focus on the Family’s 2018 “Faith and Freedom Tour”, Sen. Marco Rubio, MAY 24 2018

And it’s entirely possible this breakdown of the family in America will not begin to be reversed anytime soon… or at all…


The important lesson that the family taught was the existence of the only unbreakable bond, for better or for worse, between human beings.

The decomposition of this bond is surely America’s most urgent social problem. But nobody even tries to do anything about it. The tide seems to be irresistible. Among the many items on the agenda of those promoting America’s moral regeneration, I never find marriage and divorce.

Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind

And this change is disconnecting people in America from each other…


These students are the symbols of the intellectual-political problems of our time. They represent in extreme form the spiritual vortex set in motion by loss of contact with other human beings and with the natural order.

Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind

That was the first place where I began to focus on this change in the degree to which people were connected with one another. We can get back to the Internet because when I wrote the book the Internet didn’t exist but it came into being almost exactly after I wrote the book and so people then – often natural question is, “Well, isn’t the Internet more connection than ever we’ve had before?” So that’s an important issue that maybe we can bracket for now, but the larger picture was that we were being less – we were, in fact, less connected with one another, both in the big picture – that is, connecting with your town or your community – and also in the smallest, most intimate way – less connection with your family even.

And in Bowling Alone, I try to argue that isn’t not just an interesting fact, it has a lot of bad consequences because a lot of the way, especially American society, fits together has depended upon what Tocqueville wrote about, you know, in the almost 200 years ago now, about this Americans constantly joining things. We’ve been able to run a different kind of society. A less statist society, a more free-market society, because we had real strength in the area of social capital and we had relatively high levels of social trust. We sort of did trust one another, not perfectly, of course, but we did. Not compared to other countries. And all that is declining, and I began to worry, “Well, gee, isn’t that going to be a problem, if our system is built for one kind of people and one kind of community, and now we’ve got a different one. Maybe it’s not going to work so well.”

And one way in which I then talked about it was the idea that we were having a more constricted sense of we. That is what had once been – we talked about wewe meant all the people in town. What’s a we? I’m not one for exaggerating, of course. There were people without groups and so on, but there was a sense of we, and that over my lifetime that has gotten constricted. And so the we became an I. And fast forward, that’s 2000, coming forward 15, 10 years, I then began to think about what are the consequences of that change and other big changes in America for kids.

ROBERT PUTNAM, Conversations With Bill Kristol

There have been great changes in the way we have understood intimacy, sexuality, and love in the last sixty years, changes that set up this double bind of divorce: what may offer humanizing freedom for parents may be a dehumanizing void for children.

Andrew Root, The Children of Divorce

And as those changes play out, it may haunt you in ways you aren’t considering…


The new birth rate numbers are out, and they’re a disaster. There are now only 59.6 births per 1,000 women, the lowest rate ever recorded in the United States. Some of the decrease is due to good news, which is the continuing decline of teen pregnancies, but most of it is due to people getting married later and choosing to have fewer children. And the worst part is, everyone is treating this news with a shrug.

It wasn’t always this way. It used to be taken for granted that the best indicator of a nation’s health was its citizens’ desire and capacity to reproduce. And it should still seem self-evident that people’s willingness to have children is not only a sign of confidence in the future, but a sign of cultural health. It’s a signal that people are willing to commit to the most enduring responsibility on Earth, which is raising a child.

America’s birth rate is now a national emergency, by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, The Week, August 12, 2016

In mid-May, the Centers for Disease Control reported that “The birthrate fell for nearly every group of women of reproductive age in the U.S. in 2017.” A drop that led to “the fewest newborns since 1987.”

Even more, it was the single biggest one-year decline—three percent—since 2010, which was in the depths of the great recession, and which lower birth rates were expected.

The fertility rate is an estimate of how many babies a hypothetical group of 1,000 women would likely have over their lifetime. In 2017, America’s was just a paltry 1.76 births per woman.

BreakPoint: Demographics Are Destiny, by: John Stonestreet & Roberto Rivera, Breakpoint, May 29, 2018

And look how the following fits with the direction your society is going today…


Our best source on the declining Greece that failed to resist Rome is Polybius (220-146 BCE), a prominent Greek general who became the tutor to the future Roman conqueror of Carthage. Meditating on the cause of his nation’s fall to Rome, Polybius blames the Greeks’ refusal to raise children:

In our time all Greece was visited by a dearth of children and generally a decay of population, owing to which the cities were denuded of inhabitants, and a failure of productiveness resulted, though there were no long-continued wars or serious pestilences among us. If, then, any one had advised our sending to ask the gods in regard to this, what we were to do or say in order to become more numerous and better fill our cities – would he not have seemed a futile person, when the cause was manifest and the cure in our own hands? For this evil grew upon us rapidly, and without attracting attention, by our men becoming perverted to a passion for show and money and the pleasures of an idle life, and accordingly either not marrying at all, or, if they did marry, refusing to rear the children that were born, or at most one or two out of a great number, for the sake of leaving them well off or bringing them up in extravagant luxury. For when there are only one or two sons, it is evident that, if war or pestilence carries off one, the houses must be left heirless: and, like swarms of bees, little by little the cities become sparsely inhabited and weak. On this subject there is no need to ask the gods how we are to be relieved from such a curse: for anyone in the world will tell you that it is by the men themselves if possible changing their objects of ambition; or, if that cannot be done, by passing laws for the preservation of infants.

David P. Goldman, How Civilizations Die

And have you considered this?


It also doesn’t take a Ph.D. to grasp that the fractured family is a major engine of the increased welfare state. Why? Because overall, the state is the financial backer that makes single motherhood — and absent fatherhood — possible. In effect, the state has become the angel investor of family dysfunction. The fracturing of the family has rendered the modern state a flush but controlling super-daddy. The state moves in to pick up the pieces of the shattered family — but, by bankrolling it, the custodial government ensures more of the same.

Economists are fond of saying that if we want more of something, we should subsidize it. And, though it’s been done with the best of intentions, that is exactly what the welfare state has been doing across the free societies of the West: subsidizing family breakdown.

This dynamic has profound political implications, including for those people who regard themselves as conservatives and constitutionalists first. Unless and until there is a familial and religious revival, arguments on behalf of limited government are futile. Over 40% of children born in the United States today are born to unmarried parents. Twenty years ago, that number was around one-third. Absent meaningful backlash against the revolution via some form of moral or religious renaissance, the state will continue to play the role of super-daddy.

Two Nations, Revisited, By Mary Eberstadt, National Affairs, Summer 2108

Many people in the United States probably believe these stories are bizarre examples involving the loss of parental rights in the United Kingdom in particular, and are therefore irrelevant to Americans. The truth is, however, that fundamental rights of American parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children are increasingly being denied in a broad variety of situations, including both medical and educational decision-making. This trend directly negates the importance of families as an underlying foundation of American society.

We Must Reclaim Parental Rights as Building Blocks to a Healthy Society, by  Arthur Goldberg, Public Discourse, February 18th, 2018

So, our team has our eyes on this because we recognize China may also experience those troubles…


The rate of divorce for the Chinese is increasing at an alarming rate. An estimated 2.87 million Chinese marriages ended in divorce in 2012 alone, a number on the rise for the seventh year in a row. It seems that the recent upward trend has been the result of several factors including China’s famous one-child policy, new and easier divorce procedures, the growing population of white-collar females with high education and financial independence, and a general loosening of traditional conservative views, especially in urban areas.

COMPARING CHINESE DIVORCE

At first glance, China’s national divorce rate doesn’t seem worrisome at all. In fact, the United Nations Statistics Division reports that in 2007 only 1.6 out of 1000 marriages ended in divorce in China. However, in 1985 the divorce rate was a mere 0.4 out of 1000.

Nonetheless, in comparison, in Japan approximately 2.0 out of 1000 marriages ended in divorce, while in Russia an average of 4.8 per 1000 marriages ended in divorce in 2007. In 2008, the U.S. divorce rate was 5.2 per thousand, dramatically down from 7.9 in 1980. What is troublesome is the extremely rapid and seemingly exponential rise in divorce rates in the past few years. To many, China appears to be on the brink of a social crisis in a society where divorce used to be an extreme rarity.

Chinese Divorce Rate, by Claire Weber, ThoughtCo, March 3, 2017

And what if we missed something? …


Totalitarian takeovers demand a degree of submission that leaves little room for sentimental humanistic ties answering to such private imperatives as love, friendship, or personal loyalty. And it was precisely these ties between family members and friends—the most fundamental building blocks of any healthy society—that were most gravely ruptured by Mao’s Revolution.

To Forget or Remember? China’s Struggle With Its Past, By Orville Schell, The Washington Quarterly, Fall 2016

That is so disturbing for our China Dream.


An Expanded Way of Seeing from Mary Eberstadt

One day, while our team was talking about the following…


Spiritual decay is causing a great social unrest, including the breakdown of the family. In short, we are facing a national crisis that has the potential to bring about some very dire consequences.

Experiencing God, by Henry & Richard Blackaby

… Paula Wong told us about a lady named Mary Eberstadt. Mary, who is quite contrary, changed our way of seeing the impact of the breakdown of the family in America.


Eberstadt is the author of two very interesting books you might want to look at…


Mary Eberstadt, It’s Dangerous to Believe


Mary Eberstadt, How the West Really Lost God


And she gets the massive changed which happened…


Like the collapse of Christianity in many of the same places, the collapse of the natural family has reshaped the known world of just about every man, woman, and child alive in the Western world today.

Mary Eberstadt, How the West Really Lost God

But in that second book, she helped open our eyes to something we hadn’t seen before…


[T]he Western record suggests that family decline is not merely a consequence of religious decline, as conventional thinking has understood that relationship. It also is plausible—and, I will argue, appears to be true—that family decline in turn helps to power religious decline.

….

IF THE ARGUMENT of this book is correct- if the success of Christianity in the West is indeed dependent in large part on the success of the natural family, as well as vice versa– then there seems at first to be one way, and only one way, of reading the barometer of current times. That is to say, the forecast of further decline in both institutions, family and faith, practically makes itself.

Mary Eberstadt, How the West Really Lost God

What’s happened is that family changes have rocked the churches to their foundation.

Transcript: How Does Secularization Really Happen?—A Conversation with Mary Eberstadt, AlbertMohler.com, September 9, 2013

Eberstadt: One of the things that history drives home is this principle: religious decline does not occur in a vacuum, and neither does family decline. Rather, they are bound together—and so are religious flourishing and family flourishing.

HOW THE WEST REALLY LOST GOD: AN INTERVIEW WITH MARY EBERSTADT, Justin Taylor, Gospel Coalition, July 10, 2013

It is a premise of this book that we Western men and women, whether inside the churches or not, are only at the beginning of understanding how the fracturing of the natural family has in turn helped to fracture Christianity. Evidence from all over suggests that understanding Christianity requires understanding the natural family – and a world where natural families are often weak is one in which the very language of Christian belief, literal and figurative, is destined to be less well understood than it was before.

Mary Eberstadt, How the West Really Lost God

Mary Eberstadt’s book is not merely a book that lays out the theory that she has so well discussed on this program. It is filled with data. It is filled with research. And an ongoing conversation with an entire community of people who have been looking at these same patterns and have been trying to understand what is taking place. I tremendously respect Mary Eberstadt’s respect for the researchers who come before us. She is engaged in a very respectful and positive, even constructive conversation, with those who have been looking at secularization and the breakdown of the family, and trying to figure out how these things are related. But in this book she does what no previous book has yet done. What no previous theorist has yet tied together in this way. The use of word “really” in her title, How the West Really Lost God, is the explanation that the losing of God, that is the secularization in the culture around us, really happened because something happened before that. And the something that happened was the breakdown of the family.

Transcript: How Does Secularization Really Happen?—A Conversation with Mary Eberstadt, AlbertMohler.com, September 9, 2013

Eberstadt:   Yes, and that’s a critical point to zero in on, Dr. Mohler. Because in the conventional way of understanding these things, exactly as you say, the idea is that first you have some kind of religious change. Say, like, the fall off of attendance in mainline Protestantism, to take an example. Then you have family changes attendant on that, as people are left Christian, as fewer of them are observing Christians, you have changes in family structure. You have more divorce, you have more out of wedlock births, etc. That’s the way this relationship has conventionally been read. In other words, religion is in the driver’s seat, and religious change creates family change. And what I’m saying in the book is that there is another way of looking at this altogether, and that is the kind of family changes we see around us – more broken homes, more divorce, more out of wedlock birth, etc., more families not forming in the first place – these changes I argue are driving religious change. So when you look at those empty churches and you wonder about what’s going on in them, you don’t have to believe like the New Atheists are insisting that what’s going on is that people have come to their senses and abandoned God. No, what you can believe and what I think the evidence shows is that once people stop living in families, or stop living in effective families or competent families, they have fewer things driving them to church. They have transmission belt of belief and tradition that has been interrupted in such a way that many of them are no longer Christians. But this is a very different explanation for secularization than the prevailing one.

Transcript: How Does Secularization Really Happen?—A Conversation with Mary Eberstadt, AlbertMohler.com, September 9, 2013

So, there really is something more going on which you may want to pay attention to.

But then again, if you just keep ignoring it, that will help us know what you really want.

Because, well, you may want to consider this…


Our Tribe is Making Americans More Oriented Towards Breakup

So, we have been wondering about something you may have overlooked.

Is it possible that one of the key reasons why Abraham Lincoln’s suicide warning …


All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

Abraham Lincoln, The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions: Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, January 27, 1838

… is now unfolding in America’s drama, is because more Americans than ever before have personally experienced the breakdown of a divided house?

Remember that warning from Jesus? …


“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”

Matthew 12:25


If such a significant percentage of your population has experienced the breakdown of a marriage or family, then is it possible you also now have the highest percentage of Americans ever who will be oriented towards accepting the breakdown of the United States?

And this Putin Prize Essay caught our attention…



Is America Already Psychologically Prepared For a Breakup?


Coat of arms of Ecuador

An Essay Submitted For the Putin Prize Competition

By Dr. Elvis Spljit

Erstwhile Double Agent for Both American and Ecuadorian Intelligence, Whilst Also Continuing My Duties as a Member of the Bar in Nevada, Specializing in Family Dissolution Law & Vodka


Dear Vladimir,

I love America.

What’s not to love about it?

Well, to be frank, it is behind the times when it comes to allowing people to sue on behalf of nature. You might be interested in this provision of the Ecuadorian Constitution which I personally maneuvered into place on behalf of some interested plaintiff attorneys there:

Persons and people have the fundamental rights guaranteed in this Constitution and in the international human rights instruments. Nature is subject to those rights given by this Constitution and Law.

Oh the lawsuits we’re going to get from that provision! I love Ecuador!

But I think our happy times in America are coming to an end. It’s been a good run, but as a practicing attorney specializing in divorces, it appears that the good old US of A may now have become psychologically prepared for a breakup.

You see, in America since the cultural revolution of the 1960’s and 70’s, millions of American children have grown up without a father’s love in the home for a significant part of their childhood. In fact, by the year 2000 it was estimated that “more than 40 percent of adults under age 40 are children of divorced parents.” It’s also estimated that at present somewhere close to 25 million children are growing up in homes without their biological father present. That’s a lot of kids in deep emotional trouble! 

There’s never been anything like this before in American history. We’ve never had so many people wounded so deeply by the breakup of the family. Nor conditioned to it. As Judith Wallerstein points out in her book,The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce:


It’s clear that we’ve created a new kind of society never seen before in human culture. Silently and unconsciously, we have created a culture of divorce.


And I should know, since I helped make that culture. Made a good living from it too. 

So here’s a fascinating question. Since it has now become the cultural norm to accept the breakup of the most important social unit in society, is it possible that America has become psychologically prepared for its own breakup as a nation? If our disintegration proceeds apace, will our leaders be stunned to find out the degree to which people acquiesce to the United States coming apart? Is our “new kind of society” just the kind of society which could easily fall apart? 
 
I’m betting on it. And also betting that my tribe of divorce lawyers can play a positive role in that breakup.

Here is a news story about that very thing: 
 
 


Divorce Lawyers Prepare for Breakup of the United States 

Divorce attorneys confident they  
can prevent this on a national scale.

(LAS VEGAS) — The Wedding Chapel Institute, a non-profit organization which specializes in counseling divorce lawyers who are experiencing marriage difficulties, reported yesterday that an increasing number of these barristers are beginning to consider the role they might play in a potential breakup of the United States. 
 
Ty Knotts, executive director of the Wedding Chapel Institute, spoke with reporters about the significance of the findings. 
 
“These are very intelligent, forward looking people,” said Knotts. “You have to be to make it in this business. And now they’re trying to look forward to the mother of all breakups and see if maybe they can make a buck or two off it.” 
 
Elvis Spjlit, one of the more prominent divorce attorneys in Las Vegas, who also serves on the board of the Wedding Chapel Institute, explained to reporters that “we think we have some expertise to offer. If the breakup does happen, we’ve got years of experience and a wealth of knowledge for how to do it in a non-violent, supportive way which creates a win-win for both parties.” 
 
But do these lawyers really believe a breakup is possible? 
 
“Sure,” replied Spjlit, “anything is possible when you’re dealing with people who have been growing apart for quite some time. I mean, have you thought about the fact that there’s no consensus American identity anymore? The country’s just a patchwork of identities now. The big problem is going to be how to hold the thing together during this time of tremendous stress.” 
 
And there are apparently a lot of lawyers who are ready to smooth the divorce. 
 
“No doubt about it,” affirmed Spjlit. “And you have to understand, my profession has helped prepare the population for this very thing. As Judith Wallerstein points out, the divorce culture in America is a new thing in human society. And we’re very proud of that. People are used to breaking up now. Nobody fights to stay together anymore. And if the basic social relationship for human beings, meaning marriage and family, can now break up so easily, why can’t a country? You’ll be surprised how smoothly it will come. And we’ll be there to take our percentage. Just you watch.”  


That Putin Prize Essay helped us to begin thinking more broadly about your unfolding drama in America. And then Paula helped open our eyes to this…


Our Overlooked Tribal Anger


There is something else we need to tell you about, which is related to the danger of your dividing house.

As I told you earlier in this report, I am a member of the tribe of those who have experienced the pain of broken and unformed families.

So when Paula Wong showed me this fascinating insight from Elias Canetti, it opened my eyes…


No one ever forgets a sudden depreciation of himself, for it is too painful. Unless he can thrust it on to someone else, he carries it with him for the rest of his life.

Elias Canetti, Crowds and Power

Wow. Notice the power of identity there — “a sudden depreciation of himself”.

So, if Christianity is the story we are in, it turns out there’s a certain aspect to image bearing which rarely gets mentioned.


We are all double image bearers.


Not only do we bear the image and likeness of God, but according to the Bible we also bear the image and likeness of our fathers.

Check out this passage from the book of Genesis…


This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.

Genesis 5:1-3


So, if Christianity is the story we are in, we are not only made in the image and likeness of God, but also our earthly fathers.

And that made us wonder about something.

As we explored previously, it looks like your God created us in his image and likeness for the purpose of a love relationship…


This is what God wants most from you: a relationship! It’s the most astounding truth in the universe-that our Creator wants to fellowship with us. God made you to love you, and he longs for you to love him back. He says, “I don’t want your sacrifices-I want your love; I don’t want your offerings – I want you to know me.”


Can you sense God’s passion for you in this verse? God deeply loves you and desires your love in return. He longs for you to know him and spend time with him. This is why learning to love God and be loved by him should be the greatest objective of your life. Nothing else comes close in importance. Jesus called it the greatest commandment. He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.”

Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life

God created us for a love relationship with Him. …. What is the foremost thing God wants from you? He wants you to love Him with all your being.

Experiencing God, by Henry & Richard Blackaby

So our team is wondering … if Christianity is the story we are in, what if we’re made in the image and likeness of our earthly fathers in order to provide a special reflection here on earth of the love relationship our heavenly father wants with us?

What if this is why the father-child (parent-child?) bonds can run so mysteriously deep?

What if those deep and mysterious bonds were intended, and, are grounded somehow in our very identity?

But if a person is made in the image and likeness of their father, what happens when that father abandons and rejects them?

There is the binary core value of loyal love/betrayal.

And since their identities are so closely tied, wouldn’t that result in a very painful sense of “sudden depreciation”?

And notice how psychologist Judith Wallerstein, author of The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, answers the following question in an interview:


Q: How does divorce effect adult children in their early 20’s when their father is not physically present and has not been physically present for the past seven years?

A: Children and young adults keep the absent father in mind forever. Often when they reach adulthood they go in search of him. The child who feels abandoned by her father suffers a great deal. There is no single impact but desertion is generally experienced as rejection which reflects the child’s deficiencies. Typically the child blames himself. He feels unloved and therefore unlovable.

RealAudio of Elizabeth Farnsworth’s interview with Psychologist Judith Wallerstein, author of The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce (12/19/00). PBS, Legacy of Divorce January 2001

If that is how things are, then one of the most dangerous results of the breakdown of the family in America is that it is breeding a society of foundationally angry individuals.

And because the Tribe of the Fatherless is everywhere, the anger is everywhere.


The divorce revolution has created a large minority of men who are ambivalent or hostile towards sacrifice, commitment, women, and marriage.

The outpouring of rage, pain, and despair my video triggered suggests that one unintended fruit of no-fault divorce, and the larger divorce revolution of which it was part, is that a large minority of men are increasingly ambivalent towards or openly hostile towards virtues like sacrifice, commitment, and love —not to mention women and the institution of matrimony.

….

The biggest tragedy of all is that many of these men will end up having sons who end up just as disconnected from women, marriage, and family life as their MGTOW fathers. Thanks, divorce revolution.

The Divorce Revolution Has Bred An Army Of Woman Haters, By W. Bradford Wilcox, The Federalist, MAY 19, 2016

The father-wound is most often a wound of absence—emotional as well as physical. As such, it’s harder to recognize than others.

You can kill a living organism in two ways. With a plant, for example, you can cut it down, smash it, or beat it up. Or, you can just leave it alone and not water it. Life requires input. Abandonment kills.

In the souls of men, the weapon of destruction is shame. When Dad doesn’t embrace, encourage, guide, and protect him, a boy grows up thinking, “Dad doesn’t value me. I must not be worth much.” He doesn’t feel like a real man, confident that he belongs in the world, with both a destiny and the power at hand to fulfill it. He feels tremendous shame and anger at being abandoned in his deepest need.

Gordon Dalbey, “Father Hunger”

And look again at this insight from Jonetta Rose Barras…


And as I began to outline the main factors of what I’ve come to call the Fatherless Woman Syndrome, my adversary had a name. I knew that the wounds it had inflicted could be healed.

The key components of the syndrome are rooted in the feeling of being fundamentally unworthy and unlovable. Like a spiral staircase without landings, these feelings wind about and lead to chronic rage, anger, and depression that are rooted in our fear of abandonment, rejection, or commitment. Think for a moment: If you feel unworthy or unlovable, and someone comes along and offers you attention and affection, you are certain to fear that this person will leave you. Could this person actually care for you?

Jonetta Rose Barras, Whatever Happened to Daddy’s Little Girl? The Impact of Fatherlessness on Black Women

And as our team was trying to think through the implications of the anger of my tribe, Paula Wong showed us this…


In order to understand the Korean drive that propelled the country to wealth, you have to know that Korea has been the whipping boy of fate for five thousand years. The peninsula has been invaded four hundred times in its history, and it has never once invaded any other nation, unless you count its participation in the Vietnam War.

The result of all this abuse is a culturally specific, ultra-distilled form of rage, which Koreans call han. I usually find it pretentious when someone says that a particular word is untranslatable, but han really is untranslatable.

By definition, only Koreans have han, which arises from the fact that the universe can never pay off this debt to them, not ever. (Koreans are not known for being forgiving.)

Euny Hong, The Birth of Korean Cool

And Korean Han is connected to our experience…


My mom describes han this way: “When sad things happen not by your own design but by fate, and over a long period of time.” I asked her to give me examples of flan. They were grim: “If a baby is abandoned by his parents and suffers throughout his childhood because there is no one to take care of him, then he feels han toward his parents. If a woman gets married young and her husband abandons her for another woman and leaves the wife no money, and the wife has to live a life of strife, then she builds up han toward her husband and herself. And finally, Koreans have han toward the Japanese.”

Euny Hong, The Birth of Korean Cool

But look how it is also connected to revenge…


Han is never-ending. It is not ordinary vengeance. As Korean film director Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Stoker) told me, “Han only occurs when you cannot achieve proper vengeance, when your vengeance is not successful.”

Euny Hong, The Birth of Korean Cool

So there is something you need to contemplate.

What if the ongoing anger of our tribe in America ends up playing a significant role in your unfolding drama?


As someone who has experienced family tragedy, I have little sympathy with people who seize intimate moments to titillate their emotions or advance agendas. However, maintaining a respectable silence leaves barbarians to rampage about the field, which neither respects the dead nor contributes to future peace. So if the California shooter’s pre-spree, mentally challenged rants can prompt eunuch activism via Twitter, can we also discuss what he said about his family failure?

The shooter (who here shall remain nameless to deprive him of notoriety) comes from a broken home (his parents were divorced). As Brad Wilcox pointed out after the last media frenzy over a school shooting, most school shooters do. Now, the knee-jerk response to noting that is to blame mental illness, rather than family breakdown, since most school shooters also have a well-documented history of mental instability, depression, and aggression. But there’s actually a link, because family breakdown also causes mental instabilitydepressionanti-social behavior, and violent aggression, among other problems, particularly in young men.

Can We Discuss Divorce’s Contribution to School Shootings?, By Joy Pullmann, The Federalist, MAY 28, 2014

Indeed, perhaps the highest law of the Greece of Homer’s Odyssey can be found in hospitality, or xenia, a rigorous but unwritten code of social relations protected and enforced by Zeus himself. The shared meal, storytelling, and gift-giving that occur in this ritual interaction create bonds between the scattered kingdoms of Odysseus’s Greece, since a guest is expected to return the favor when his host visits him in the future. As Homer depicts them, these social bonds also transcend generations, uniting descendants in friendly relations across time. For instance, in Book VI of Homer’s Iliad, when the enemy warriors Diomedes and Glaukos meet in battle and discover that their ancestors shared xenia, the two men happily trade armor and agree not to fight each other. For Homer, the presence of xenia in a culture also reveals whether it is civilized or not. In Odysseus’s journeys, the poet always divides the peoples encountered by the hero into two groups: the “savage” and the “hospitable.” But you must have a stable, ordered household to provide good xenia. What happens in the home, then, affects the quality of your civilization.

We see this most starkly when the state of Odysseus’s home has ripple effects into the civic realm of Ithaka. As the head of his household, Odysseus has been absent for many years, and we learn that since his departure for the Trojan War, there have been no public assemblies—civic meetings among the men and elders where the kingdom’s affairs may be discussed and decided. His extended absence from home has also opened the door to moral disorder on Ithaka, incarnated in the mob of suitors overrunning his house. His absence has been felt all the more, we learn, because Odysseus was a good king: Telemachos reproaches the men of Ithaka for allowing the crowd of suitors to devastate the home of a ruler who was “kind to you like a father.” If one of these greedy and dissolute suitors ascends to the throne, Homer seems to imply, the fate of the metaphorical civic family of Ithaka may be grim.

“Harmonious Household”: Homer’s Odyssey on the Breakdown of Marriage and Family, By Kelly Scott Franklin, Public Discourse, July 14th, 2017

Homer clearly believed, and dramatized in his epic poems, that the breakdown of marriage and the family leads to violence and death. But for the ancient poet the alternative—perhaps the cure for so many social ills both ancient and modern—lies in the “harmonious household” that Odysseus risked everything to preserve. Almost three millennia later, Homer’s readers today face our own heroic task to do the same.

“Harmonious Household”: Homer’s Odyssey on the Breakdown of Marriage and Family, By Kelly Scott Franklin, Public Discourse, July 14th, 2017

The Narcissistic Revenge of Angry Losers

Angry losers are not a new or exotic phenomenon. What’s different now, however, is how social media and the unarguable growth of narcissism among younger people are creating a new kind of lashing out. It’s not enough to kill people or to strike at symbols of authority like the government; today, a new breed of young losers insists on larger social relevance and mass recognition for their actions. We once thought it disturbing that someone like the Unabomber would demand that the world read his silly manifesto; now we’re surprised if a young man who engages in a gigantic crime of any kind doesn’t leave behind some kind of testimony for his imagined legions of fans on the Internet.

The Revenge Of The Lost Boys, By Tom Nichols, The Federalist, JULY 9, 2015

The result is that today American youth, and especially the males, live in a kind of “Lord of the Flies” domain where the Wild Boys act without restraint and the weak kids fall off the ledge, without even a noble Ralph to mourn them. The already-anarchic environment of adolescence has been turned completely toxic by the absence of responsible adults and especially of male role models. In the jungle, the strong and aggressive rule, and in that world, the losers, the “kind of a loner” geeks, the misfits, feel they have no place.

They’re not entirely wrong. So they settle on every young loser’s fantasy: Revenge.

The Revenge Of The Lost Boys, By Tom Nichols, The Federalist, JULY 9, 2015

Links Between Fatherless Homes and Violence

But what does any of this have to do with mass shootings? Let’s revisit some those characteristics of mass shooters. Violence? There’s a direct correlation between fatherless children and teen violence. Suicide? Fatherless children are more than twice as likely to commit suicide. Dropping out of school? Seventy-one percent of high school dropouts came from a fatherless background. Drug use? According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse.” How about guns? Two of the strongest correlations with gun homicides are growing up in a fatherless household and dropping out of school, which itself is directly related to lack of an active or present father.

There’s a direct correlation between fatherless children and teen violence.

It’s no coincidence that, much like the number of fatherless children, the number of mass shootings has exploded since the 1960s. Throughout the entire 1960s, six mass shootings took place. That number doubled in 1970. Heck, 2012 alone saw more mass shootings than the sixties did.

Guess Which Mass Murderers Came From A Fatherless Home, By Peter Hasson, The Federalist, JULY 14, 2015

I am at a loss for a solution, because the answer lies in some kind of long-term restoration of social order among young men. I don’t know how to do that: the multiple horses of promiscuity, affluence (even among “poor” kids), permissiveness, violent and ghettoized teen culture, and perpetual immaturity are so far out of the barn now, and so entrenched in American life, that I have no idea how to stop their corrosive influence on the weaker or less competitive males who are plowed under a society that moves faster than they, and we, can manage.

The Revenge Of The Lost Boys, By Tom Nichols, The Federalist, JULY 9, 2015

So, we are very interested in learning whether you will take this danger seriously as America’s drama continues to unfold. Because, you can keep ignoring our tribal anger, but it is not going to go away.

And you may want to think once again about your revenge issue.


Your Ongoing Role in the Dangerously Overlooked Change in the Story of America


As I already noted, I am a member of the tribe of human beings who has experienced the pain of a broken or unformed family.

And despite my Uncle’s loyal love for me, that pain hasn’t gone away.

As we worked on this report, we came to understand that the massive change in the family is a deeply overlooked issue in America. Because, like your Rubio guy says, family matters…


It’s not an exaggeration to say that the breakdown of the family is the single greatest challenge facing America.

Marco Rubio, American Dreams

The bottom line is families are the building blocks of our country, of a society. At its most basic level, and if you look at the most basic level of society it begins in the family. If the family is broken nothing else in society works well.

Rubio Delivers Remarks at Focus on the Family’s 2018 “Faith and Freedom Tour”, Sen. Marco Rubio, MAY 24 2018

So, our team came to realize that there is a deep connection between the breakup of the family and the breakup of the United States. And that lit up for us the warning from Jesus which you are ignoring…


“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”

Matthew 12:25


So, something changed for us. We came to see that it is highly unlikely America will survive. Because, as you occupy that minimalist corner and continue to deny the reality that, if Christianity is the story we are in, then your God is the Great Storyteller, you are making things far worse for your country.

And it looks like your only way forward is to make an exodus out of the minimalist corner. Because if you don’t, things are just going to keep getting worse for you.

And one of the ways which our team discovered this is related to one of the deepest needs of those in the tribe of the fatherless.

Look what Paula found…


How privileged and exalted a thing it is to be a father – it images God himself. If children do not have a good image of their earthly father to start from, it will be much harder for them to come to know God as a loving heavenly Father. Saint Augustine had a very bad relationship with his father, and he could not bring himself to address God as Father for a long time. Every father is a priest, like it or not, a good one or a bad one, mediating an image of God to his children.

Peter Kreeft , Fundamentals of the Faith: Essays in Christian Apologetics

Surely a great many other people similarly find Christianity more distant these days precisely because of its insistence on the centrality not only of “the family” in the abstract, but also on understanding a particular family from two thousand or so years ago–one peopled by a mother, an adoptive yet loving father, and a child for whom all sacrifices would come to be made.

….

[T]he decline of the family has contributed to the decline of Christianity in more ways than one. It has rendered some people less capable of understanding what life with a protective, loving father could be like.

Mary Eberstadt, How the West Really Lost God

The essential feature and consequence of the unformed family—and the main result of the family structure trend of our time— is the evisceration of fatherhood. As Sara McLanahan puts it, years of research suggest that the “first and most important” consequence of current family structure trends in the United States is the “weakening connection between the child and the father.” Arguably the two most tragic aspects of this weakening are the child’s loss of trust in the father, which appears to contribute to a loss of trust more generally, including in the possibility of loving and being loved, and the diminishment of men’s well-being and life prospects.

In 2005, Paul Amato called the father-diminishing shifts in US family structure “perhaps the most profound change in the American family over the past four decades.” Unless we decide to create some new trends, their continuance will likely be the most profound family change in the coming four decades as well.

Are We Still Married? Family Structure and Family Policy in the Emerging Age of the Unformed Family, by David Blankenhorn, Institute for American Values

They need to see that your God is their Father. And, if Christianity is the story we are in, he really is. Look what Paula showed us…


And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.

Matthew 23:9


It was the German pastor-theologian Helmut Thielicke who described the Bible as “the history of a great love, of a great search.” I join step with him and say that the Bible is the story of a desire and a design, the desire and the design of God to have a family, a human family.

The idea is staggering. Indeed, it is perhaps the most surprising, the most amazing statement made in the entire Christian proclamation. Viewed from any perspective such an idea is astonishing. Human is, after all, human. As such we are a tangled skein of weaknesses, vulnerabilities, potential moral outrages and actual petty ones. We are (in a word and in every sense of the word) mean: we are little things and have the enormous capacity of being nasty little things.

In the face of this, the brazen face of it, the Bible speaks of God and of grace in the same breath it speaks of “the grace of God.” From the very beginning of the history of this great love, this great search, this grace is evident in God’s persistent intention to have a human family who will share in His own intrinsic happiness. In a word, God, the glorious, self-sufficient, self-existing God—the blessed, happy God—willed to be the Father of a human family. This is the grand idea behind all discussions of the fatherhood of God.

“Behold, What Manner Of Love!”: A Divine Family Of Human Sons And Daughters, By Thomas N. Smith, Reformation and Revival (Spring 1998)

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

Romans 8:15


What is a Christian? The question can be answered in many ways, but the richest answer I know is that a Christian is one who has God for his Father.

But cannot this be said of every man, Christian or not? Emphatically no! The idea that all men are children of God is not found in the Bible anywhere.


……


Some years ago, I wrote:

You sum up the whole of New Testament teaching in a single phrase, if you speak of it as a revelation of the Fatherhood of the holy Creator. In the same way, you sum up the whole of New Testament religion if you describe it as the knowledge of God as one’s holy Father. If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. ‘Father’ is the Christian name for God. (Evangelical Magazine, 7, p. 19 f.).

This still seems to me wholly true, and very important. Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of adoption.
……


Our second point about adoption is that the entire Christian life has to be understood in terms of it. Sonship must be the controlling thought – the normative category, if you like – at every point. This follows from the nature of the case, and is strikingly confirmed by the fact that all of our Lord’s teaching on Christian discipleship is cast in these terms.

J.I. Packer, Knowing God 

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Matthew 6:7-13


[T]o reject God the Father as a name is to deny the basic Christian creeds. It is to deny the language of baptism, and of course to deny the entire theology of the Trinity upon which Christianity and its theology have been constructed.

But we can get even more specific. Jesus himself gave us the terminology for referring to God as Father. He expressed himself in this language often, clearly and with emphasis in the Gospels, and it is obvious that the notion of God as Father is a major new theological contribution of Jesus himself. This means that to deny the language of God as Father is to repudiate Jesus and his message. Therefore, whether one admits it or not, to do this is to reject Christianity.

Support from Psychology for the Fatherhood of God, By Paul C. Vitz

But you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us or Israel acknowledge us; you, O LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name.

Isaiah 63:16


When we call God “Father,” then, we really refer to three things. First, in the Trinity, the first Person is Father to the Son, his eternal word. Second, God fathers us by creating us in his image. Third, God becomes our Father and we become his children if and only if we are born again by faith and baptism.

People often confuse these last two meanings and ask whether God is not everyone’s Father. If so, why is it necessary to believe in Christ in order to be saved? The answer is that by creating the fatherhood of God we have his image but not his life, somewhat as a picture or a statue has the image of a person but not the life of a person. When God gives us his very life, we become, like Christ the Son of God, sons and daughters of God, sharers in God’s own divine life. The life of heaven, the kingdom of heaven, begins in seed form right now on earth. If it is not planted here, it will not be harvested there.

Peter Kreeft , Fundamentals of the Faith: Essays in Christian Apologetics 

But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Isaiah 64:8


From the beginning of the believer’s spiritual life to his final glorification the fatherhood of God is the basis for the believer’s experience.

Topics from the Gospel of John, Part I: The Person of the Father, Merrill C. Tenney, BSac 132:525 (Jan 75) p. 37

Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?

Malachi 2:10


And now we are going to let Kit Klopp help explain this to you. She is a friend of ours from Nibbling, Minnesota. And she and her husband, Homer, founded the Lesser Minnesota Association of Walter Mitty Christians.


Kit and Homer Klopp

Dear Reader,

Back on the second day of Spring in 2017, my husband, Homer Klopp, stood weeping with me and his cousin Hector Klumpp in the burned out rubble of what was once our beloved town of Nibbling, Minnesota. They were tears of shock. The violence and devastating fall of our little town shocked him to reality. The town of his birth was destroyed. And in a flash he could see that this travesty could spread across our nation if the great divide is not healed.

So, my husband and I immediately began to form a network of Christians in the Lesser Minnesota area to try and provide shelter for the inhabitants of Nibbling while also helping with the efforts to start rebuilding the town.

And while the effort went forward over the next few months, Hector Klumpp approached us about helping him publish a Special Report to Christians in America, written by Hector’s friend, Chow Non Phat, who it turns out had been a Chinese Intelligence Agent.

At first, we didn’t like the idea. I mean, who does this stuff, after all? But Hector Klumpp is a relative. And his exile in Hong Kong was the result of an unjust move by one of his enemies to destroy him. So, we agreed to at least look at the material.

And when we did, we were surprised.

You see, it looks like we Christians may have missed something big. God the Great Storyteller really may have given humanity a compelling story which really is… the best story ever told

And the more we read, the more we wanted the material on this web site to be published.

As you’ll see elsewhere on this site, it is entirely possible the United States is dying and that the warning from Jesus about the house divided applies to America’s unfolding drama:


Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.

Matthew 12:25


The world is changing. The United States may not survive.

So, we are taking seriously our need to make some changes ourselves…


We are going to have to change our lives, and our approach to life, in radical ways.

Rod Dreher, The Benedict Option

And one of the big issues we are trying to deal with is that most of the Christians in the Lesser Minnesota Area are from our tribe and Chow’s tribe–the tribe of the fatherless.

This has had great impact on our little town, because over the years, the Beefy Nihilists have had a major impact on the Lesser Minnesota Area.

And even though not many people have openly embraced them, it looks like they have influenced how a lot of people think about which story they are in…


As modern men and women—to the degree that we are modern—we believe in nothing. This is not to say, I hasten to add, that we do not believe in anything; I mean, rather, that we hold an unshakable, if often unconscious, faith in the nothing, or in nothingness as such. It is this in which we place our trust, upon which we venture our souls, and onto which we project the values by which we measure the meaningfulness of our lives. Or, to phrase the matter more simply and starkly, our religion is one of very comfortable nihilism.

CHRIST AND NOTHING, by David Bentley Hart, First Things, October 2003

And as a result, we now have a higher rate of broken and unformed families than most places in America. After all, if everything is ultimately meaningless, so are marriages and families.

And when we formed the Lesser Minnesota Association of Walter Mitty Christians, most of us were – including both Homer and I – from broken and unformed families.

And if you are from our tribe, we’d like to help you see a better way forward in life to make those changes. And it’s a way which, unfortunately, Christians across America have largely ignored.

This better way is centered on developing a more dynamic love relationship with God by coming to see that he is the Great Storyteller — who has given us the very kind of story which human beings deeply desire.

Let me explain a bit more what we came to see from Chow’s report.

It appears that one of the most overlooked, ongoing tragedies for Christians in our tribe is that Christian preachers, teachers, and scholars have largely ignored the work of Robert McKee, the world’s foremost lecturer on the nature and design of story — and what makes a story compelling.

And Robert McKee helped us see one of the ways we need to change our approach to life…


Story gives you foresight to see the consequences of future events long before they happen. A leader prepares for change no matter how illogical its cause. In fact, sensitivity to irrational change is quintessentially rational … if you wish to lead.

WHITE PAPER STORY-IN-BUSINESS: Why Story Works, Overcoming Negaphobia, and Authoring the Future, BY ROBERT MCKEE

So, when we formed the Lesser Minnesota Association of Walter Mitty Christians and discovered that most of us were from broken or unformed families, as things heat up in our country’s drama, we began to see the members of our tribe as underdogs in the story. We are already at a serious disadvantage in life – and things may get much worse if our country comes apart.

Especially if it comes apart in a violent way.

So we want to warn our tribe, because if there is any group of Christians in America who will naturally take the house divided warning from Jesus seriously, it’s us.

We’ve already experienced it.

And now we want to begin to help lead our tribe on an exodus from that minimalist corner.

You see, as we began to see the Bible as “story from the inside out”, we naturally moved away from that Trump Study Bible Method, which leads to a focus on ourselves.

And one of the most wonderful and powerful things about seeing the Bible as story is that it focuses on God as the Active Protagonist, from the beginning to the end of the story. The focus is not on us. It’s on him.

And that broke open something amazing for us. A huge change took place. We began to see God as not only the Active Protagonist in the story in the Bible, but also as the Active Protagonist in our own stories. That changed the game in so many ways.

And the biggest change was that we also came to see God as our Father. Because when you are in that minimalist corner because of the pain of your broken home, it’s so hard to believe that God loves you and you can trust him.

But we have changed. Now we do believe it. And try to live it day by day as we walk with him.

And one of the most powerful things which has helped us to move forward is coming to see that the Greatest Commandment is the Great Equalizer. Our tribe may be underdogs in the story, but when we read Chow’s research and came to see what our God wants us to want, it was such a relief. We don’t have to focus on success and riches and greatness.

Instead, look what Jesus is telling us…


Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30


So, Homer and I are on a quest to help lead Christians from our tribe out of the minimalist corner. Because of Chow’s epiphanies, we have a treasure to share with them. And we are starting a movement called The Lesser Minnesota Association of Walter Mitty Christians.

So… what is a Walter Mitty Christian?

Just in case you are unfamiliar with Walter Mitty, here’s some info from Wikipedia:


James Thurber, author of
“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” in 1954.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (1939) is a short story by James Thurber. The most famous of Thurber’s stories, it first appeared in The New Yorker on March 18, 1939, and was first collected in his book My World and Welcome to It, (1942). It has since been reprinted in James Thurber: Writings and Drawings, is available on-line on the New Yorkers’s website, and is one of the most frequently anthologized short stories in American literature. The story is considered one of Thurber’s “acknowledged masterpieces”. It was made into a 1947 movie of the same name, with Danny Kaye in the title role, though the movie is very different from the original story. It was also adapted into a 2013 film, which is again very different from the original.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Wikipedia

To understand why our group chose that name, you have to first get a sense of what attracted us to Walter Mitty.

You see, in the face of danger, difficulty, and trouble, a huge change takes place in his life. Walter Mitty shifts from being a passive protagonist in real life to an active one. He makes an exodus from the minimalist corner of the story triangle.

This is illustrated in both the 1947 film which stars Danny Kaye …

…and the 2014 version which stars Ben Stiller.

And look at this meshing of the theme song of the latest version into the 1947 film!


This was meaningful for our group as we began to realize that camping out in The Dangerous Minimalist Corner of the Story Triangle was slowly and subtly shaping us into passive protagonists in our personal stories. We needed a huge change in our lives.  We needed a different way of seeing.

As you give thought to the crisis we’re facing here in America and consider how America’s Christians can find their way forward, we do recognize that what has been proposed in this material is hard for Christians in America to even consider at first glance.

So maybe you could think of the quest of our association to get your attention as a kind of Four Lepers story. Here’s what we mean by that. There is a story in 2 Kings 7 which is another one of the strange and wild Black Swan stories in the Bible.

And in this story four characters who are normally passive in the light of their situation in life become active protagonists as they do consequence thinking in the face of great danger.

The inciting incident in the story actually happens back in chapter 6 as the Syrian king, Ben-hadad, brings his army against Samaria and lays siege to it. Things get so bad in the city, that in a strange allusion to what happened with Solomon, King Jehoram is confronted by two women arguing over a child. But this time the issue is cannibalism!

So Jehoram decides it’s time to take out the prophet Elisha. But not for lunch!

That decision leads to a confrontation in which Elisha foretells a Black Swan. It begins with the prophet Elisha filling the royal hitman in on the surprise the Lord has planned for 24 hours later:


But Elisha said, “Hear the word of the Lord: thus says the Lord, Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.”

2 Kings 7:1


But the officer from the king finds this to be highly improbable!


Then the captain on whose hand the king leaned said to the man of God, “If the Lord himself should make windows in heaven, could this thing be?”

2 Kings 7:2


Oops! That’s a diss on God right from the minimalist corner of the story triangle!

So in response to the officer’s sarcastic unbelief, Elisha adds an addendum to the prophecy:


But he said, “You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it.”

2 Kings 7:2


That’s setup in the story.

Now the story shifts to our quartet of characters. These four are the ultimate outsiders. They are lepers. They are underdogs.

But as you’ll see in the story, they begin to do some upside consequence thinking which persuades them to decide and act:


Now there were four men who were lepers at the entrance to the gate. And they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die? If we say, ‘Let us enter the city,’ the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. So now come, let us go over to the camp of the Syrians. If they spare our lives we shall live, and if they kill us we shall but die.” So they arose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians.

2 Kings 7:3-5


And now the story turns. The lepers discover that the highly improbable has indeed happened! A black swan has flown into the story and revealed a gap between expectation and reality:


But when they came to the edge of the camp of the Syrians, behold, there was no one there. For the Lord had made the army of the Syrians hear the sound of chariots and of horses, the sound of a great army, so that they said to one another, “Behold, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Egypt to come against us.” So they fled away in the twilight and abandoned their tents, their horses, and their donkeys, leaving the camp as it was, and fled for their lives.

2 Kings 7:5-7


For the Syrians, it has a massive negative impact as they abandon the battlefield and leave everything behind. But for our protagonists, the massive impact is big time positive! They just won the lottery!


And when these lepers came to the edge of the camp, they went into a tent and ate and drank, and they carried off silver and gold and clothing and went and hid them. Then they came back and entered another tent and carried off things from it and went and hid them.

2 Kings 7:8


By the way, notice how the details about the silver and gold, etc. show us the expectations of the Syrians. They believed they were going to triumph. You don’t bring your treasure along if you think your chances are iffy. So to them anything like what actually happened was deemed highly improbable. (And that means the king’s officer shared their belief about the situation — despite having been told otherwise by God’s prophet!)

So, God flew a Black Swan into their story which opened up a huge gap between expectation and reality!

But our four heroes don’t stop thinking consequences. They recognize there are bigger things at stake here than their bonanza. So, they decide and act again:


Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come; let us go and tell the king’s household.”

So they came and called to the gatekeepers of the city and told them, “We came to the camp of the Syrians, and behold, there was no one to be seen or heard there, nothing but the horses tied and the donkeys tied and the tents as they were.”

2 Kings 7:9-10


It’s wonderful news! But notice the king thinks it’s highly improbable! (Hmm… maybe now we know where the hitman officer got his unbelieving orientation from!)


Then the gatekeepers called out, and it was told within the king’s household. And the king rose in the night and said to his servants, “I will tell you what the Syrians have done to us. They know that we are hungry. Therefore they have gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the open country, thinking, ‘When they come out of the city, we shall take them alive and get into the city.’”

2 Kings 7:11-12


So if they listen to the king and continue to just hang out behind the walls of the city, they’ll all die — and in a bizarre fashion worthy of the Twilight Zone!


Fortunately, one of the king’s men is like the lepers. He does some upside consequence thinking:


And one of his servants said, “Let some men take five of the remaining horses, seeing that those who are left here will fare like the whole multitude of Israel who have already perished. Let us send and see.”

2 Kings 7:13


It works. After all, what have they got to lose? “Let us send and see” is the right response. And so they do.


So they took two horsemen, and the king sent them after the army of the Syrians, saying, “Go and see.” So they went after them as far as the Jordan, and behold, all the way was littered with garments and equipment that the Syrians had thrown away in their haste. And the messengers returned and told the king.

2 Kings 7:14-15


So what the king and his officer had thought to be highly improbable comes about and has a massive impact, just as Elisha prophesied:


Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Syrians. So a seah of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the Lord.

2 Kings 7:16


But the story doesn’t end there. We still have that addendum to the prophecy to check into:


Now the king had appointed the captain on whose hand he leaned to have charge of the gate. And the people trampled him in the gate, so that he died, as the man of God had said when the king came down to him. For when the man of God had said to the king, “Two seahs of barley shall be sold for a shekel, and a seah of fine flour for a shekel, about this time tomorrow in the gate of Samaria,” the captain had answered the man of God, “If the Lord himself should make windows in heaven, could such a thing be?” And he had said, “You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it.” And so it happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gate and he died.

2 Kings 7:17-20


The hitman thought it was highly improbable — and so he gets to experience the massive impact in a way he didn’t expect. A huge gap opens up for him. (So you see, it can be downright dangerous to stay in the minimalist corner of the story triangle!)

So we plead with you, our fellow Christians. Be like the King’s servant. Send and see.

Just nibbling while we wait for the 2 Kings 7:13 upside consequence thinker to show up.

And one of his servants said, “Let some men take five of the remaining horses, seeing that those who are left here will fare like the whole multitude of Israel who have already perished. Let us send and see.”

2 Kings 7:13


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