Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Being Negative Is Attractive

I was reading an insightful article in Christianity Today by Collin Hansen who noted that great movements are often founded on negative campaigns. Negative people attract a following. Hansen points out that it's easier to identify the problem than it is to offer a solution.
A quick survey of movement building reveals that many groups struggle to shift from destruction to construction. The Tea Party movement hates taxes and wants to defeat President Obama. But what's their shared vision for governance? Who knows. The Democratic Party built large congressional majorities and recaptured the White House behind unified opposition to President Bush. But less than two years later, polls indicate widespread voter dissatisfaction with Democratic policies amid intraparty squabbling. Strategists now suggest that Democrats—who control two of three government branches—should blame the minority Republicans rather than try to campaign on their own accomplishments.
Yet, who wants to be known as "negative"? We nearly always denounce politicians when they are negative- but notice what we generally do in response to negative people? "Denounce" is negative. But it almost sounds "positive" to denounce negativity. Indeed this psuedo-postive strategy worked for one of our State Political Parties during our last election. He denounced the other two major parties for being "negative". People were attracted to this negativity- just ask Brett.

But why do we all default to the negative? Why are we drawn to those who find fault? Whatever the reason, Gossip magazines don't care. They thrive on this attraction to the negative.
Collin Hansen wonders whether any movement can successfully transition from being built fundamentally upon negative ideals, to being a movement promoting a positive agenda? But I wonder if you can even do one without doing the other? That is, if a movement is positive, it must also be negative. The moment a movement identifies what it is for it automatically declares what it is not for. In fact, the more positive a movement becomes the more negative it has to be. This is unavoidable because the clearer a movement's direction is, the clearer and more obvious it becomes where it is not going.
For the Christian and the movement he belongs to, the Church, there is certainly a lot to be negative about. But this negativity is entirely because we are for something else. We are against sexual immorality because we are for marriage-for-life because marriage between a man and a woman reflects the Holy Community of the Trinity from which life springs. We are against the taking of innocent human life, despite its size, age, condition, parents, or location, because we are for the dignity of life because all human life is created in the image of God and has instrinsic value. We are against man-made-religion because we are for God's offer of salvation and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
As a Church, we at Legana will be necessarily negative - and we should not be daunted by pseudo-positive denouncements for being so - because we are just as positive about our mission to proclaim the life-saving, life-changing message of God's love and grace through Christ and summon people to repent, flee the wrath to come, and become a part of the New Covenant Community Christ is gathering.
Ephesians 4:13-15 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
Someone has put it this way- Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.
Father, help us to be courageous and bold for you. Help us to be positivelyfor the things and issues You want us to be for. May we love our spouse selflessly. May we parent our children with intense care. May we get involved in their lives so that we live the extra-mile to those who should matter most to us. As a church, may we be strongly united and committed to our mission of preparing/praying/proclaiming the eternal need to accept Christ as Saviour. Father, we thank You for saving and continuing to change us into the image and likeness of Jesus. Give us a heart to grow and to reach out beyond our comfort zone so that those who have not yet received Christ, will. In Jesus' Name,

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