Matt Archbold graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in 1995. He is a former journalist who left the newspaper business to raise his five children. He writes for the Creative Minority Report.
There’s a lot of anger against Christians right now. I don’t know if you noticed but the media isn’t really a big fan of Christianity. Either are politicians. Or academics. Or Hollywood. Let’s just say we’re not very popular right now.
Just look at any random television show. As soon as a Christian shows up they are one of two things, a punchline or a murder suspect. You're a rube or evil, that's it.
In total, we are either mocked in the culture or ignored. Look, Super Bowl LI, was watched by 111 million viewers and that’s considered the biggest event of the year. The media makes it the center of the universe. They say “America loooooooooves football.” Everyone’s talking about it. Do you know on Easter Sunday more Americans report that they attend Sunday services? But it’s virtually ignored. No stories that “America looooooooves Jesus.” Our culture doesn’t reflect that in any way at all.
A dozen football players kneel and it’s a national story. 120 million kneel for Christ and it’s ignored.
Every year my family attends the March for Life but I and my 100,000 closest friends are completely ignored. We're like pro-life ninjas? Nobody ever saw us. We are the invisibles.
When was the last time you saw a family on television getting ready for Mass? When was the last time you saw one of the many charitable acts of the Knights of Columbus featured on the news? Seriously, if you were to get all your information about the U.S. from watching television shows and news you'd think that 20 percent of Americans were LGBT, about twenty percent were straight up Nazis, and there's a few Christians somewhere deep in the south who have somehow accrued power and oppress everyone else.
And when we're not ignored, we're often attacked with the rules like the HHS Mandate or overzealous human rights commissions forcing Christians out of business. Tolerance is sometimes called the oil of civilization because it reduces friction. But oil is flammable and can be weaponized which is exactly what has happened to the term "tolerance." Many who march under the banners of "tolerance" and "inclusivity" use it as an excuse to silence others, to bully others, and even commit violence. You see, personal morality is subservient to the morality of the cause. One does not need to look far into history to see where that kind of thinking gets us.
But I'm not here to chair the pity party. I’m not here to say woe is us. Let’s ask ourselves the difficult questions. How did we get here? Maybe it’s partially our fault.
The rights of Christians are being stripped but isn’t it partly because we’re not doing enough to defend them? Aren't we sometimes more worried about being “nice” than about standing up for our faith? How many times have we hesitated to share our faith in person or online for fear of offending or being unfriended or we just didn't want to deal with the combox crazies? We fear offending others by sharing our faith but we forget that others might need to hear an inspiring word or be reminded that God loves them. When we are silent we don't offend but we don't help either. And we haven't been called not to offend. We have been called to actively love and serve our neighbors.
Christians abroad are tortured and killed while many Christians in the wealthiest most powerful country in the world say and do little or nothing.
Our stories are not being told accurately in the media but isn’t it also true that we’re not telling our stories; instead we prefer to boast and pat ourselves on the back for not forcing our faith on others? I heard one person say that he’s a Christian but you wouldn’t know it by anything he says. He was proud of that. But is that really the goal?
America is failing Christians. But isn’t also true that Christians are failing America? Have we ceased being a strong prophetic voice championing liberty and love?
Aren’t we too obsessed with showing that Christians are just like other people, instead of showing why we’re not?
Christians today are faced with a choice. Surrender or stand? That’s it. It really is that simple.
Just the act of being a Christian can impact the world. We don’t all need to wear rags and sandals and preach out in the desert. One of the greatest acts of evangelization is simply going to Mass. Others see where you’re going. They know. They see the girls all dressed up. The boy with his hair matted down and looking uncomfortable in long pants, matching for the first time all week. Maybe post on Facebook that you're getting ready for Mass. Share. Let's stop hiding our light under a bushel. I know a family that doesn't pray before meals if they go out to dinner. They don't want to offend.
The greatest story of all happened 2,000 years ago. And it started so improbably.
Mary said yes. When the angel came to her, Mary had every reason in the world not to, but she said yes. But here’s the amazing news. It’s still happening today. There are people with every reason not to, saying yes to God’s will. The world is aligned against them. Their governments. The media. Academics. The rule-makers. But people are still saying yes.
In the end, that’s what the world cries out for.
Yes, we have a political problems. Sure we have a culture problem. But at the heart of this country’s problems is a spiritual problem. We need more “yesses.” And when someone does something amazing in the name of God we need to share that story. Share it with your friends. Share it because we all need to draw strength from each other. Say “yes.”
And as this country grows increasingly dark, pray for the strength to say “yes.” Because saying yes to God’s will is saying yes to love. And love changes lives and only love can save the world. And it’s time we got loud about love again.