3 Ways Christians Are on the Sidelines of Cultural Conversations

A QIdeas study conducted by Barna in 2014 reveals that most Americans believe "society benefits from having a diversity of opinions and viewpoints, because variety and debate lead to the best ideas and solutions for our common future." It also confirms "a healthy and vibrant democracy requires an engaged public – one that includes people of faith." As Christians we should not only celebrate the freedom of living in a pluralistic society, we should lead the conversations taking place in it.

So, why are many Christians standing on the sidelines of the cultural conversations of the day? Some will immediately protest that Christians are not on the sidelines, but loudly engaged in cultural debates in ways that certainly don't honor the Christ whose name they bear. That drives other Christians away from engagement because they don't want to be associated with a presentation of the Truth that is ugly and mean. Then there is the sideline crowd — huddled together with brows furrowed and arms crossed, scorning the very culture to which they have been sent to bear positive witness. Why? I can think of at least three reasons:

1. We fell asleep at the wheel. Sometime around 1954 many Christians in America functionally went to sleep. Christianity dominated the institutions of the day so there seemed no need for vigilance. Teachers led prayer in school and taught from a distinctively Christian worldview. So, we figured, our kids didn't need us to intentionally disciple them. The church offered Sunday School and para-church organizations offered what the church didn't. The courts based decisions about moral behavior on Biblical principles. The media reinforced traditional Judeo-Christians values in everything from the Op-Ed pages of major newspapers to the nascent television and film industry. Things appeared good on the surface. Christian vigilance flagged as many turned their focus to self-interested kingdom building.

If you've ever drifted off to sleep behind the wheel you know the terror that dominates in the moment you awake. In an instant you must assess where you are and what needs to be done to avoid imminent death. That's how Christians feel when they wake up to the cultural realities of America today. They discover schools are teaching a worldview expressly contrary to Christianity. The courts are making rulings in express opposition to the Biblical worldview. And the media is saturating every moment of American life with dehumanizing, debased, coarse, foul, pick-your-adjective words, images, and storylines.

Things have changed and it is time Christians woke up to the reality that over the past six decades our culture was taken captive while we slept.

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