Instead of trying to make society more Christian, we need to focus on making ourselves more vitally Christian in society. This is what Jesus would want.
Christians have spent an inordinate amount of time, money and effort in the last 30 years trying to make society more Christian. And to do so, we have bought heavily into politics as the way to go about changing the world. Bad move. Rather than making the world more Christian, it has ended up going the other way. The world’s influence on us has turned out to be much greater than our influence upon the world.
Jesus told his disciples to “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s” (Matthew 22:21). These are separate realms with completely different goals, purposes and agendas. You cannot mix them. You can’t use one to serve the other. You can’t use Caesar to accomplish what God is after; nor can you use God to accomplish what Caesar is after. Jesus never told us to fix Caesar, or get Caesar to sit up and fly right.
Whenever Christians start talking about worldview, they often fail to make these distinctions. Therefore Christian worldview boils down to getting Caesar to be more like God. Not going to happen. These two are at cross-purposes to each other, just as American politics are at cross purposes to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The lure of power in politics is just too hard to avoid.
Not to say there isn’t a place for politics in the life of a Christian. We all have a responsibility to be good citizens — to be informed, to study the candidates and issues and vote accordingly — but there is not a “Christian” vote, or a “Christian” agenda. Politics are all about compromise; you have to give up one thing to get another and what you choose as a priority may not be what I would choose. Vote your conscience, but don’t think the country is going to be any more or less Christian based on how you vote. Your vote is your rendering to Caesar; your worship and obedience, your love for your neighbor and care for the less privileged in society is your rendering unto God.
In Johnny’s Cafe, your seat is not in the back where the Christians have taken over the corner booth. Nor is it to find a Johnny’s Christian Cafe where the whole place is supposedly Christian. No, your seat is at the counter where there’s one seat left that no one wants to take because it means you have a stranger on either side of you. That’s your seat — rubbing shoulders with the world.
I used to think we could reach the world with a Christian coffeehouse until I realized they already have a coffeehouse up the road where everybody goes, so why don’t we just go there?