It's been pretty fascinating to read all of the Monday Morning Quarterbacking that has taken place following last week's election win by President Obama and the Democratic Party. Everyone, on both sides of the political spectrum, as well as those who hold positions in the middle, seem to have an idea/reason as to why the Republican candidate for president (and many Republican congressional candidates) "lost" the election. Since I have no desire for this to be a political post, please don't read it as such. But I do wonder if there aren't some parallels between some of the things being mentioned, and the Church in today's world and society.
In a few places, again from both the right and left side of the spectrum, I have seen written and heard said the idea that the Republican Party "lost" the election because it stood as the party that was "against" certain things, rather than the party that was "for" certain things (again...not a political post so no need to get riled up in agreement or disagreement...). In this train of reasoning, the Republicans came across to many independent and moderate voters as the anti-women, anti-minority, anti-immigration, anti-homosexual, anti-poor political party, rather than a political party that stood "for" something. Pundits now are discussing how the Republicans move forward from this election and rebrand themselves as "pro" rather than "anti". If they are unable to do so, some feel that the Republican Party will not recover and become irrelevant in the political process.
I couldn't help but see parallels between that discussion and the insightful and deeply frightening research that has taken place over the last few years by the Barna Group's David Kinneman, author David Olson, and others. Their powerful research reveals that the Christian Church is no longer thought of (by non-church goers and non-Christians) by what it stands for...grace, love, mercy, hope, justice, compassion...but rather by what it stands against...homosexuality, tolerance, the political left, science. As Church attendance spirals downward, and at a quickening pace, many wonder if the Church will recover.
Has the Church become better at proclaiming what we are "against" rather than what we are for"?
And more importantly, has the Church become better at proclaiming what we are "against" at the expense of "who" we are for?