There were some conservatives last year who jabbed the president’s supporters by asking: “How’s that hopey-changey thing workin’ out for ya?” It was good for a bitter laugh, perhaps, but Christians are all about Hope and Change. There’s nothing wrong with the message. The follow-through is what the interminable clashes in Washington are all about.

We are all too well aware of the loss of courage among some of those who claim to be leaders. Faced with the first demand that they actually stand for the things they’ve told us for twenty years they stand for, they collapse before the pink panzers of political correctness. Even conservative TV commentators bow to what they see as the inevitable end of marriage in America, and perhaps in the world.

We’ve seen such lost eras before. There was widespread disillusionment among the young following World War I. President Wilson broke his health and his heart in a quixotic quest “to make the world safe for democracy.” His failure bred a corrosive cynicism among “the lost generation.”

It was then that Irish poet William Butler Yeats penned his classic “Second Coming.”

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

If you are looking for mere anarchy, check out any report from the Middle East. It’s as if the caption Mideast Turmoil has been painted on our TV screens.

If we want to find passionate intensity, we can tune in MSNBC on almost any given night. And it’s little better to hear a conservative radio talker promise to put a boot in your ….

If you want to see the centre not holding, watch mainstream news analysts try to puzzle an answer to the questions: Well, why not polygamy? What’s wrong with children being raised by a commune of “caring” adults?

Over Christmas, I watched as our daughter and son-in-law held their two year old down and put her eye drops in. It wasn’t a serious illness, thankfully, but the child kicked and cried throughout. In a polyamorous unit, whose responsibility is it to care for that sick child?

So why be hopeful? Last year, our son took a cruise to the Caribbean. He and his girlfriend had been dating for several years. He chose this moment to give her a ring. Our friends in Annapolis, the wives of foreign naval officers, were amazed that we gave our son heirloom family jewels to fashion into a special engagement ring. We explained that we are giving something more precious than jewels, we are giving our son. On the cruise formal night, and for the benefit of the cameras, he dropped to one knee and proposed marriage. Scores of fellow passengers applauded. She said yes. There’s hope. There’s change.

On New Year’s Eve, one of my favorite former students was moved by his hope for change. Phil is now a young Army officer. He had met his lady friend only last October. They started spending time together and soon their relationship deepened. Phil asked Lynne’s dad for his daughter’s hand. He must have made a very favorable impression in that short time, because the young woman’s father gave his blessing.

After preparing a special dinner for his intended, Phil escorted her to the community pool where they had met. There he had placed a bouquet of roses in the shape of a heart. He leaped into the pool and came out to present Lynne with a ring.

All the while, Phil had been texting family and friends with updates on the great event. We laughed as Phil said the ring was burning a hole in his pocket. Don’t worry, the ladies call those diamonds “ice,” we told him. Even the forty-degree water couldn’t cool this young man’s ardor. And his enthusiasm for life and love surely will inspire others.

We got to share in this beautiful and hopeful change in their lives. Just one year ago, they did not know each other. Today, they are ready to spend their lives together.

This is how the centre will hold — one devoted couple, engaged for true marriage, at a time.