One of my favorite quotes by Chuck Colson is one he might have spoken again after the November elections: “The kingdom of heaven will not arrive on Air Force One.”
In other words, if we want to change our culture for the better, we should not put all our eggs into a political basket. It's a lesson we Christians must remember as we begin another year.
Over the last 30 years or so, social conservatives have invested much time and effort in the world of politics. And that's a good thing. But the recent Election Day losses on the issues of same-sex “marriage,” and the legalization of marijuana are reminders of the limits of politics. As far as I’m concerned, these losses came about because we’ve not been paying enough attention to influencing our culture.
One man who knew the importance of this was Dutch statesman and theologian Abraham Kuyper, who said, “there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: 'Mine!'”
And that includes the domains that most influence modern Americans: The arenas of television, films, newspapers, novels, the theater — even the world of advertising. We've neglected bringing God into these parts of His creation, and have pretty much left them to the secularists. So we should not be surprised that most new films and TV shows tend to come from a pretty uniformly liberal, secular humanist point of view.
And these arenas deeply affect the ways Americans think. For example, how much influence do you imagine the Ellen DeGeneres show has on voters' views on same-sex “marriage”? Well, I can tell you, a lot. Why? Because it’s brought a very clever, very entertaining and likeable person who just happens to be gay, into the mainstream of American culture.
But instead of cursing the darkness of Hollywood and New York — which we do too often — we should light a candle. We who embrace a biblical worldview need to get serious about creating art and culture or supporting those who do.
Not that our works of art should be overtly Christian, complete with an altar call. Not at all. But the art we create should reflect our fundamental values. Redemptiveness and beauty and truth and goodness may not speak of Christ explicitly, but they always do so implicitly.
Think of films like “It's a Wonderful Life” or TV programs like “The Andy Griffith Show.” There's nothing overtly religious about them, but they reflect a Judeo-Christian point of view. And even when viewers don't share this point of view, they often love these types of films and TV programs — perhaps because they point them toward the One true God who is constantly seeking them.
As many BreakPoint listeners know, I've written some 30 children's books over the years, including the three in my Uncle Mugsy Series. Now these three books are certainly not overtly Christian, but they ARE beautiful — mainly because somebody else did the illustrations! They are intended to be fun and redemptive and wholesome — the sort of books I'd want my own daughter exposed to, rather than a lot of the dark or politically correct stuff that's out there. By the way, if you’re interested in checking out the Mugsy series, come to BreakPoint.org and click on this commentary.
Now, in the coming year, I hope more Christians will learn the importance of getting involved in creating culture — and helping those who create culture to do so. Again, quoting Chuck, “the problems of our society are moral and spiritual in nature. Institutions and politicians are limited in what they can do.”
And of course he's right. The stories we tell and the art we create are every bit as important — if not more important — than the laws we attempt to pass or the politicians we elect.
So as another year turns over, grab a candle — and join us!
Eric Metaxas is a co-host of BreakPoint Radio and a best-selling author whose biographies, children's books, and popular apologetics have been translated into more than a dozen languages.
BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.
Publication date: January 2, 2013