The day after the 2012 election was heavy. We were gut punched. Shocking almost every conservative and evangelical Christian, Barack Obama was re-elected president. Easily. It left that telltale sick feeling deep in the stomach for many. How could we have all been so wrong? Not pollsters. Polls are just a manifestation of impatience. No, conservative, evangelical Christians (for lack of better terms) were uniformly wrong about the outcome because we thought we knew our fellow Americans.
And I realized that if we can come to grips with the fact that many Americans — probably the majority — see the world and this country in dramatically different fashion from us evangelicals, then we have a start.
In fact, among all the questions drifting from the debris of Tuesday’s wreck, it’s the one stark answer we have. We weren’t wrong on the issues, or campaign strategies or candidates or ground games. We were wrong about who we are as a country. We can no longer assume that the majority of Americans think the Founding Fathers were some of the wisest and best men in all of history, that America is the world’s last best hope, that we are, as Reagan put it in biblical terms, “A shining city on a hill.”
A majority, albeit a slight majority, of our American neighbors just do not see us that way.
In part, this has come about via the domination of the institutions that move and shape public thought — schools, Hollywood and music, academia and the media. We need to retake those institutions that govern public opinion and shape worldviews. This is critical; either re-take them or neutralize their impact. Those will all come in future posts.
But none of them are the actual heart of the matter. We were outmaneuvered for the past century in all of those institutions, but the strategy would have failed — or never started — if not for the biggest failure of all. That biggest failure softened the ground nicely for the planting of the poisonous roots that bore such shocking fruit Tuesday.
The biggest failure?
This is on the church, not politicians or politics. Tuesday’s loss is the result of a declining Christian church in this country. I point no fingers. I am part of this church. I follow Christ and represent Him here on earth. It is on me. If you are a Christian, it is on you.
Charles de Montesquieu said, “The deterioration of a government begins almost always by the decay of its principles.” In a democracy, those principles derive from the morals of the people. In a Christian nation, that would be great. But does it need to be said? We are not a Christian nation. We once were. We no longer are. Whose fault is that? Not the politicians.
Serious Christians need to reengage the culture. I do not mean a reenactment of the culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s, not abortion and gay marriage, not economics and taxes and immigration and gun rights and school prayer — although all of those need illumination. No, we need to reengage the culture with the truth of Christ. It is past time to take Jesus with us when we leave our comfortable pews where we enjoy great worship and preaching and coffee afterwards and take Him into the streets, into the offices, into the schools, into the hospitals and nursing homes, into the neighborhoods and the restaurants and bars, into the grocery stores and auto shops, into the prisons — everywhere there are people.
We need to stop hiding, coasting, shrinking back, being fat and lazy and compromising, parked in front of American Idol or listening to Beyonce or Eminem, or going after the biggest house or biggest church building or whatever it is that we have been doing, and start being what we are called to be: Light. A light needs to be turned on and shined to be of any value. We better know what we believe and be able and willing to defend it. Anywhere. Anytime. Because the opponents of Christianity certainly are.
The hour is later than we thought as a nation. But it is never too late for the author of true hope.
Our job: Stop all the junk and start living like Christ-followers. One by one, we start winning souls. When we win souls to the Christ of eternity, we have won all. But in the process, we will win hearts and minds, and the blinders of deception will begin to fall from our fellow Americans. It will be a long process, but the opponents of Christianity have been at it a very long time. They will not go quietly into the night.
This is a battle — a battle for the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans. A battle for souls for eternity. This goes far beyond the United States of America, but America’s future as a shining light or a backwater has-been will be determined in it.
It goes ill for the entire world if we lose. And we will lose, if we do not engage.