Life in the Negative World
From a peak in church attendance in the mid-20th century, Christianity has been on a trajectory of decline in the United States. In the first phase of this decline, society was still largely positive toward Christianity and Christian moral teachings. Toward the mid-90s, cultural shifts led many to adopt a more neutral tone toward the Christian faith, seeing it as one option among many in a pluralistic public square. Today, however, Christianity is viewed negatively, and being known as a Christian means a lower social status in elite society. Christian morality is repudiated and viewed as a threat to the new moral order.
In Life in the Negative World, author Aaron Renn looks at the lessons from Christian cultural engagement over the past 70 years and suggests specific strategies for churches, institutions, and individuals to live faithfully in the "negative" world--a culture opposed to Christian values and teachings. Many of the strategies Christians found useful to engage the positive and neutral worlds no longer work today. The negative world will require a diversity of strategies and there is no one size fits all solution.
Today, Christians must begin thinking like a "moral minority." Learning how to live in the negative world will require experimentation, trial and error, and adaptation over time, but there are ways to live with integrity and follow Christ today, even in a negative world.
About the Author
Aaron M. Renn is consultant and writer in Indianapolis. He is a Senior Fellow at American Reformer, a former Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Public Research and former partner at Accenture. He has written extensively on cities, culture, the future of the evangelical church, and men's issues.