If you're discouraged or think the world is upside down, I have something for you.
Guess what, regardless of who won the election, today we still have millions of babies being aborted every year. We still have 50% of marriages ending in divorce. We still have a supposedly Christian culture that has separated sex from marriage from procreation. We still have many Americans who are more likely to vote based upon peer pressure, or how nice somebody is, or their own self-interest, or by what the media told them, or by what's socially easy than they are to vote based on their own moral or religious convictions (or any economic sense). We still have lonely and suffering people in our communities who need to be loved.
Whether marriage is redefined now or later, whether our religious freedom is trampled now or in 10 years, these are not at risk because politicians are getting bolder, they are at risk because our convictions are getting colder.
And if you're waiting for a politician to fix that, you're wasting your time. Sadly, most politicians are not leaders. And that's because politics has become less about leadership than it is about marketing.
Politicians are not in the business anymore of changing people's minds (leadership). That's too hard. They are in the business of marketing. They look at the cultural map of the day and then create a platform and a message that tickles enough ears to win them an election. And that's not all bad when you consider that they are our servants, sent on our behalf to accomplish our agenda. We get the politicians we deserve, as the saying goes.
But the lesson is this: Elections are not the leading edge of change. Elections are the lagging indicators of what's already changed. They tell us where we already are. So stop waiting around for politics to change this country back or to move it forward. That's not what politics does.
And if you find yourself talking about whether Romney (or any politician) lost because he was too conservative, or not conservative enough, or he should have talked about social issues more, or the party needs a "bigger tent" - just stop. Those are political games focused on trying to mirror the culture rather than change it. It may lead to political victory, but it changes little. Culture warriors have chased such illusions for too long.
What we need is to impact the culture by changing hearts and minds. We have to shift the entire conversation and cultural values, not just gerrymander the platform. We don't need a bigger "tent." We need to make a more convincing case. That's what brings about real change. That's leadership. That's evangelization. And it rarely comes from a politician.
Does that mean elections don't matter? Of course not. They matter a lot. But if you want to change their results, the mechanism is not a political one. It's cultural. And politics rarely drives culture, it's almost always the other way around.
So stop worrying about how to change the politics and go sit down and figure out the next big way that you are going to change our culture for the better. How are you going to lead?
Figure that out and the elections will take care of themselves.
The world is surely upside down. Mother Teresa agreed. She said, “I think the world today is upside down. Everybody seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater development and greater riches and so on. There is much suffering because there is so very little love in homes and in family life. We have no time for our children, we have no time for each other; there is no time to enjoy each other. In the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world.”
Real change starts in the home. Not in the White House. In *your* home and the homes around this great nation. That's where it begins. It ends in the election booth. If we're only showing up to fight in the election booth, we've already missed the battle.
And if you are discouraged after the election, Mother Teresa has something to say to you about that, too:
“If you are discouraged it is a sign of pride because it shows you trust in your own power. Your self-sufficiency, your selfishness and your intellectual pride will inhibit His coming to live in your heart because God cannot fill what is already full. It is as simple as that.”
It's as simple as that, folks. Transform discouragement into the motivation that moves you to change things. (And for more inspiration from Mother Teresa, read her 7 steps to a holier life.)
What we need right now is leadership. And if you're waiting for a politician, you're going to be waiting a long time. We need leadership 1) in your home and 2) in the culture. We need cultural leaders. We need individuals and organizations to rise up and provide inspiring, convincing leadership that will lead to conversions of mind and heart.
That's the surest way to change the politics. That's where real change will come from. And we already know where our hope comes from (and it ain't from a politician).
Start with the culture. Start with your home. Start with yourself.
Matthew Warner is the founder and CEO of Flocknote.com, an innovative communication tool helping thousands of churches and dioceses better connect with their flocks. He also blogs (MatthewWarner.me), is one of the founders and speakers of the Digital Church Conference, and is author of the book Messy and Foolish: How to Make a Mess, Be a Fool and Evangelize the World (messyandfoolish.com).
Matt has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M and an M.B.A. in Entrepreneurship. He, his wife and his five children hang their hats in Texas.