Undoubtedly, happiness is an essential part of life and it should be pursued, but not at the expense of fulfilling our responsibilities to God and to our society. Countless people have demonstrated that ignoring one’s responsibilities and pursuing happiness at all costs ends in failure and disappointment. We, the people of the United States, have done this as a nation. We have taken the positive concept of individualism to such an extreme that we have created a culture marked by irresponsible individualism, that ...
Undoubtedly, happiness is an essential part of life and it should be pursued, but not at the expense of fulfilling our responsibilities to God and to our society. Countless people have demonstrated that ignoring one’s responsibilities and pursuing happiness at all costs ends in failure and disappointment. We, the people of the United States, have done this as a nation. We have taken the positive concept of individualism to such an extreme that we have created a culture marked by irresponsible individualism, that is, we are quick to make God and society responsible for the happiness of the individual, but we are reluctant to make the individual responsible to God and society. This is the reason we are frustrated and failing as a nation. Part of our problem is that we arrogantly reject common sense and traditional values, but solving our crisis is not as simple as going back to what we were at any given time in our past. It makes little sense to try and return to what we were. What we were got us where we are. Indeed, it was only a matter of time before our irresponsible emphasis on individual rights and happiness would manifest itself through social and political dysfunction. That time has come.
We need a new direction. To find that new direction, we have to be humble enough to admit that we have failed to fulfill our responsibilities to our families, our society, our environment, and our God. Thus, the only thing that will change our nation is the willingness of our people to assume those responsibilities once again. Change will not come through a particular political party or religious denomination. Change will not come through the empty words of political leaders and presidents. It will not come through the voting procedures of a new Congress. Change will only come through the actions of the people. We, the people of the United States, need to change. The only question is: “Are we willing to change?” We have become so irresponsible and self-absorbed that the changes necessary to turn our nation around will not come easily. Yet, as hard as those changes may be, they are easier than the hardships that will follow if we refuse to change. Change is what this book is all about.
This book is designed to foster reflection and discussion both of which are essential for change. The tone of this work is conversational not academic. Hence, there are no footnotes or bibliographies. This book is divided into four chapters with five essays in each chapter. After reading a chapter, you should visit the companion website, RinR.org, for a more interactive experience. With respect to the book’s format, the reader is encouraged to go through one essay each day of the work week. Each day you read an essay, share your reflections about the essay with others. it serves no purpose to discuss problems without presenting possible solutions. For that reason, the last essay will present a series of concepts and challenges that have the potential to bring about positive and lasting change, but that change will not come without a reformation in the hearts and minds of the people of the United States that leads to a Reformation in Responsibility.
Rit Varriale is originally from Schenectady, New York. His early religious influence was in the Roman Catholic, Dutch Reformed, and Calvary Chapel traditions. He became involved in the Baptist tradition while attending The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina. During his senior year at the Citadel, he served as the Regimental Commander for the Corps of Cadets. Upon graduation from The Citadel in 1992, Rit was commissioned as an officer in the United States Army and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division from 1992-1996 serving as a platoon leader and company executive officer. During that time, he received the Officer Leadership Award for U.S. Army Ranger Class 2-93, the Senior Parachutist Badge, and the Pathfinder Badge. In 1996, Rit entered the ministry and began his theological training receiving a M.Div. (Campbell University Divinity School) a Th.M. (Duke University Divinity School) and a D.Min. (Princeton Theological Seminary). From 1996-present he has served three congregations in North Carolina. Currently, Rit resides in Shelby, NC with his wife Shannon.