John Stonestreet is President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and radio host of BreakPoint, a daily national radio program providing thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of BCNN1.
In his book “When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi,” David Maraniss tells a story about how the legendary coach opened the Green Bay Packers’ 1961 summer training camp. The year before, the favored Packers had surrendered a fourth-quarter lead to the Philadelphia Eagles to lose the championship, but rather than focus in on what had gone wrong then, Lombardi took his team back to the basics. “‘Gentlemen,’ Lombardi said, holding a pigskin in his right hand, ‘this is a football.'”
I was reminded of this Lombardi story recently after a discussion at one of our regional Colson Fellow gatherings. The conversation was trying to get at the root of why younger Americans are increasingly attracted to socialism. One of the Colson Fellows, a member of the millennial generation, offered two reasons I found particularly insightful.
First, the church has largely avoided a whole host of controversial issues, fearful of telling people what to think, but in the process failing to help them think through them at all. The vacuum has been filled by many other voices, including from media and education, telling them what to think.
Second, the historical memory of millennials doesn’t reach back to the Cold War and the existential struggle against Communism. They came of age just before 2008 and the Great Recession. In their earliest economic and political memories, the bad guy was what was then called capitalism.
Add to those two realities that the emerging generation was never taught history or civics or economics, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that socialism has re-emerged as a live option for younger Americans.
Our best response to this, for all of the issues that lie at the intersection of faith and public life, will have to be Lombardi-like. When it comes to politics, to what it means to be a citizen shaped by Christian faith, to those issues that matter most right now, it’s time to go back to the basics.
This will include reflecting on what God intended for human governance, what we can and should expect from those who lead us, and what the limits of government should be. We’ll need to relearn the pitfalls of what Jacque Ellul called “the political illusion,” the belief that all problems are political and therefore require only political solutions.
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Source: Christian Headlines