A Civilization Gone with The Wind

By Tom Wacaster
It has been slightly more than four years since she sat across from me, both of us with our Bibles opened. After a number of previous studies, she had obeyed the gospel, and she was still hungering and thirsting for knowledge of God’s word. It was almost as if she could not get enough. Her capacity to learn was outpaced only by her desire to learn, and so whenever she had the opportunity, she would stop by the office and we would study the only thing that could satisfy that spiritual hunger in her soul.
On this particular occasion our conversation turned to the moral depravity that seems to characterize our nation more and more with each passing day. At some point in that conversation, I reflected upon what society was like a mere 60 years ago. I told her I could remember when it we could leave the house unlocked and have no fear of someone burglarizing your home while you were away. Her reply manifested her utter amazement: “Really?!” Yes, “really!”
I can remember when it was safe to walk the streets, at night, without fear of being mugged or assaulted. How many of you can remember when a “Club” was something you carried with you when you went walking to beat off the dogs? Can you remember when families usually remained together for more than just a few years, when divorce was shameful, and single parent families were almost unheard of? Can you recall when “gay” meant happy, and “rap” was something someone did on your front door when they came calling? Or can you remember when the problems we faced in schools were chewing gum, getting out of line, or skipping classes? If you do, then likely you can also remember when each schoolday was begun with a devotional and prayer, piped into each class room via the intercom; when neighbors talked to each other over the fence; when two week gospel meetings were common and cottage classes were conducted on a regular basis; when church attendance on Sunday morning, Sunday evening AND Wednesday evening were the norm; when we discussed religion with our neighbors, and encouraged an open examination of one’s belief in the light of the Bible; when mission work was increasing each year; when preachers gave a “thus saith the Lord” for all that we do in religion; and when the majority of the churches of Christ were united, standing upon the Bible, and preaching and teaching the same. 
Alas,I fear that the words in the opening scene of the movie, “Gone With The Wind”
are an appropriate description of our changing times:
There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton fields called the Old South. Here in this pretty world Gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave. Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered. A civilization gone with the wind.
When that movie was made in the late 30’s there may have been a few still living who could remember the simpler times of the Old South, and the moral fiber of a nation that seemed to rule the land and its people. If a generation is calculated to be 40 years, then four generations have come and gone since those dark and dreadful days of the mid 1800’s. 
My father was born in 1927. He passed away last year at the age of 91. He was less than two generations removed from that war that almost destroyed our nation from within. In his lifetime he witnessed the passing of his generation often called, “the greatest generation.” His generation consisted of men and women who loved this nation, loved the Bible, practiced their faith, and were willing to make great sacrifices for the preservation the same. Yet, somewhere along the pathway to the present generation the moral restraints have been cast off, the Bible rejected, and Christianity relegated to the status of “just another religion.” I have fond memories of the 60’s and 70’s; a period much unlike the world in which we now live. I will confess that if I could recapture the innocence of those former days, I would not hesitate to do so. So far as that past generation of a bygone era is concerned, it can also be said, “Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered. A civilization gone with the wind!”
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