I’ve spent a lot of time this week following the news from the US and am moved and excited by the election of Barack Obama with his message of hope, inclusion and change. It has been fascinating to watch over the last year as he has energised young people, signing them up and involving them in his campaign. Watching his rallies I’ve also noted how he has managed to enthuse many people that the church struggles to connect with.
Clearly encouraging people to respond to Jesus call to ‘follow me’ is not the same as a presidential campaign however it is instructive to note how people have responded to his vision of a better America. The transition from the poetry of campaigning to the prose of governing will inevitably leave some disappointed I wish him every success; he has what one commentator described as the ‘In tray from hell’.
But I also wonder what his election says about cultural change. This is an inspiring time to be a Christian as old certainties are questioned and church structures reformed: new opportunities to live out the faith in ways that are attractive, genuine and God focused. Yet I fear that many Christians will prefer to retreat to an illusionary golden age rather than look to be engaged in a constantly changing world.