Umpqua, Houston, and Corporate Insanity

Wallace Henley Portrait
Wallace Henley is an exclusive CP columnist. |

Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.

It's hard to nail down who said that originally, but current events reveal the truth behind the idea.

Much of corporate and institutional America appears to be certifiable. Mavens and sages of the current cultural consensus have gone wacky. They are so drunk with the passion for a human-created paradise they mistake dystopia for utopia, chaos for cosmos, cacophony for harmony, fragmentation for unity, and mobocracy for democracy.

That's just for starters.

From the White House, Congress, and Supreme Court down, the American elite has gone mad. The president of the United States seems to see Vladimir Putin cloaked in good intentions, and the Iranians as wide-eyed innocents. The Congress has succumbed to the illusion that Obama is king rather than constitutionally controlled president. The Supreme Court believes it can overrule God and Genesis.

Are these people crazy or not?

Some leaders and their followers are like wild old King Nebuchadnezzar on his all-fours in the wilderness, utterly out of touch with his true identity. Yet others are as blind as Catherine the Great on a quick and blissful ride through a Potemkin Village waving at the "happy" peasants. A few even approach the mental disconnect of King George III when, according to his court physician, the nature-loving monarch tried to sow a slab of beef in the ground so he might have a steak vine, and was caught shaking hands with a tree the King thought was Frederick the Great of Prussia.

Presently we have Dr. Riva Cavin, president of Umpqua Community College, assaulted October 1 not by a crazy man, but by an evil man.

"It is a tragedy, and it's an anomaly," she said. "We have a beautiful, warm, friendly, loving campus and we intend to keep it that way."

An "anomaly"? This comes perilously close to Jeb Bush's horrifically reductive and perhaps unintentionally insensitive statement about the atrocity, "stuff happens."

How will President Cavin keep warmth and friendliness on her campus? By hanging more "gun-free' signs around the campus? By scrawling platitudes about coexistence and harmony in all the classrooms? By making vast murals of the workers and the students marching together into a bright new future, like I saw on the walls of old Soviet-era factories and schools right after the collapse of communism? Might she also consider adding "armed security" to the coziness?

Institutional insanity — that's the only way to describe it.

Meanwhile Houston Mayor Annise Parker continues to campaign relentlessly for the right of men who feel more like females to use women's restrooms. Proposition 1 is up for votes November 3, and the mayor and her legions are trying to hold on to their hapless fellow travelers. This, by the way, is the infamous cause that prompted Mayor Parker to try to subpoena five pastors' sermons and notes to see if they had dared try to motivate their people to resist the regime's proposed restroom policies.

And here's where the corporate crazies hop on the bandwagon. Several major corporations constituting Houston's economic powers are backing Mayor Parker. One supposes that, as in other situations related to homosexual issues, dissident employees of those companies will be threatened with termination or re-education.

Crazy. Insane.

Bible-believing people are often accused of being out of touch, of not living in the "real world." Actually, the biblical worldview is stark reality because it acknowledges that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) The perpetuators of corporate and institutional insanity do all possible to deny that fact, drawing from their glossaries of madness all kinds of words and phrases to deny the fact of fallen human nature and its distortion of the image of God, as well as the repudiation of the actuality of sin itself.

The denial of original sin has driven most of history's lapses into social and cultural insanity. Eighteenth century belief in the essential goodness of human nature and the perfectibility of man contributed to the madness of the French Revolution. In 1917, after Communists came to power in Russia, they wanted to eradicate bourgeois morality but then had to face the destruction of the family and growing levels of illegitimacy, increasing numbers of orphans, and the resulting social chaos.

Cultural insanity can be healed as the church returns to the "whole counsel" of God, which includes frank teaching about Hell. Society has forgotten that sin has consequences both in the present and eternity. Surely Umpqua and all the other atrocities we have seen in just the past few months show us that.

Long ago psychotherapist Karl Menninger asked, in a profound book, "Whatever Became of Sin?" Menninger's concern was that to deny sin is to deny the potential for forgiveness and resolution. Apart from that, Menninger recognized, there can be no healing. That was also the view of noted Swiss psychologist Paul Tournier.

A loss of reverence for God combined with a loss of belief in sin and Hell is a deadly combination. Individuals, their institutions, corporations, and nations will become increasingly dystopian without a frank confrontation and acceptance of the hard and "inconvenient" facts about human nature and its need for redemption.

Wallace Henley, a former Birmingham News staff writer, was an aide in the Nixon White House, and congressional chief of staff. He is a teaching pastor at Second Baptist Church, Houston, Texas. He is a regular contributor to The Christian Post.

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