One of the focal points of the play “This Beautiful City” was the issue of how evangelicals used political power over the last 20-30 years. I mentioned that at the after-the-play-talk-back that we’re really on the tail end of that strategy and it’s almost a non-issue anymore. Certainly Christians should vote, run for government office, and exercise our rights just like any citizen. But the last generation of Christian leaders made a strategic error in my opinion in the thinking that they could actually change culture through the legislative process. I understand it.
After all – that generation of pastors and ministry leaders came into their roles during the 60’s, when America was hit like a thunderbolt with campus riots, free love, rampant drug use, rebellion against authority, and more. As a result, they threw up a wall and said “No!” They thought building a wall was the right approach, and they joined together to motivate Christians to use the voting booth and the democratic process to make change happen.
The problem is the perception that too many Christians spent the last 30 years pushing people around. And what did it accomplish? We really haven’t moved the dial one bit when it comes to their cornerstone cultural issues like abortion or homosexuality. They had the best of intentions and were committed leaders. They just had a flawed strategy because they didn’t understand the culture.
Now, a new generation of Christian leaders understands the power of engagement. What an earlier generation fought against out of the unknown, we’ve grown up with. As a result, we’ve been around drug use, the gay community, sexual promiscuity, public schools rejection of God, rising crime, popular atheism, and so much more. While we still understand the difference between right and wrong – those issues don’t scare this generation like they did an earlier one.
As a result, this generation isn’t afraid to cross the aisle and talk to those we disagree with. The truth is, change doesn’t happen through the majority – it happens through a committed minority. “Disproportionate influence” is what makes culture change happen.
So much of “This Beautiful City” was really about a dying issue. Evangelicals in America are finally understanding that culture change doesn’t happen through political power, but through engaging the culture.