Does this structure look like a steeple with no church?
My son thought so.
Driving to the Nation’s capital on a beautiful spring morning, I pointed it out from the distant heights across the Potomac on the George Washington Parkway. This white symbol of the Republic can be seen for miles.
The seven-year-old meant little by his statement beyond plain observation. He doesn’t attend religious services of any kind. He isn’t bogged down by heaven and hell. He has seen Christian churches around town, that is all. He saw the tall, narrow spire minus the requisite gathering place beneath.
For me the remark evoked much more. It became a symbol, emblematic of our nation’s defiled state. Raised in faith, I heard in his words reminders of prayer, of communion, of holiness, and all that goes on inside our churches. A steeple with no church reduced baptisms, weddings, funerals, other sacraments and rights of passage to mere transactions.
Not to say I believe we have become somehow Godless. What is that?
No, our problem is much worse than ‘Godlessness’.
God or no God, we have been castrated. The needle of our national compass has no grounding. Our heights are reached without foundation. We have a clarion but no intent.
The spire, which means to hold the bell that calls the faithful to reflect, is empty. The tinny sound it emits—can you hear it?—barely an echo of our great past and former moral stature.
All hat, no cattle. All steeple, no church. This is a call to action. This is a call to defend our institutions before they are reduced beyond defending.