The Two-Second Window
- Thursday, May 20, 2004
We are suspended in a two-second window of time regarding the radical redefinition of marriage that will alter the course of both history and family. You don’t know about the two-second window?
If you’ve ever been in a car accident, you know about the two-second window. The two-second window is that brief span of time you would give just about anything to live over. They are the two seconds you would love to re-live in order to go back and change directions ... wait before you turned left ... put on your seatbelt ... or in some cases simply wait before you got behind the wheel so you could have missed that deer in the road or that drunk driver coming home from the bar.
Two seconds. Not much, but enough to change the outcome. We are suspended in a two-second window of time right now. We have just long enough to act in a manner that will help determine the path of the future. There is a momentary pause as Congress contemplates what to do, lobbying groups craft strategy and President Bush considers his next step. This pause is not an accident; it is a gift of Providence.
The founding fathers had a much better understanding of Providence than we moderns do. John Witherspoon, president of Princeton, delivered a powerful sermon May 17, 1776 that helped prepare the nation to declare independence some seven weeks later.
“The doctrine of divine providence, “ said Witherspoon, “extends not only to things which we may think of great moment, and therefore worthy of notice, but to things the most indifferent and inconsiderable.”
The founding fathers did not expect Providence to work through bolts of lightning, peals of thunder, magic and mystery. On the contrary, the founding fathers understood Providence often worked through events that were ordinary and mundane. The believed that even circumstances which had the appearance of harm and destruction were subject to the powers of Providence.
Here is Providence in the eyes of the founders: British forces prepare for a ferocious assault, but the night before battle the commander comes down with dysentery. Supernatural? No. God working through the natural. Another example: Revolutionary troops are out-numbered and out-maneuvered by the British. Defeat seems certain when a fog unexpectedly rolls in and American troops beat a hasty retreat to safety.
Here is a recent example of Providence: Janet Jackson has a “wardrobe malfunction” during the half-time show at the Super Bowl. The incident set off a firestorm of public outrage over decency in the media. This was an issue that had been simmering on the back burner for years, but somehow was never able to make the jump to the front burner.
Within days of Jackson’s stunt, Howard Stern was off the airwaves, huge fines were being levied and shock jocks were cleaning up their material claiming they were suitable listening for soccer moms driving car pools. Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake planned to titillate the audience, but Providence had a different outcome in mind.
What will we do in the two-second pause Providence has given us now? You can look up your representatives, send letters or make phone calls asking them to support the Federal Marriage Amendment. (http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?c=CONG_DIR_LEG). You can call the White House comment line 202-456-1111. You can write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper responding to coverage or send a note to a national news magazine. You can register to vote.
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