I don’t like pointing out problems to which I can offer no solution. I just suspect that what we’re doing doesn’t work. I get frequent requests because of my association with the Republican Party to help out with campaigns or efforts to get out the vote. I certainly want to do that in many cases. My problem is that I don’t want to engage in activity to which I don’t like being subjected.
Maybe I’m just antisocial, but I don’t think I’m alone. You want me to knock on doors, but I don’t answer my door. The world has changed. Now partly it’s because I can’t tell who is on the other side of the door and visitors I want usually let me know they are coming, but it seems to me that most of us don’t really want to deal with strangers at our doors anymore. I think most people consider it an intrusion.
You want me to call people. Why would I do that? I don’t answer unknown numbers on my cell phone. I still pay for daytime minutes and that is not uncommon. I don’t have a home phone, and when I did the only people who used it were people like you, who I don’t really want to talk to. Why do you think the anti-telemarketer legislation was such a big hit even among those of us who generally do not like government regulation? Nobody wants unsolicited phone calls interrupting their dinner or at any other time for that matter. It’s rude and inconsiderate.
So what’s left? Junk mail? That’s what it is, you know. It goes straight from the mailbox to the trash can. Is anyone reading it? I suppose if I had eyes that worked right the occasional piece might catch my attention, but if it’s obviously promotional material I don’t even try to read it. At least now it can go into the recycling program.
Maybe I’m atypical. Maybe these things work better than I think they do. I have to think with all the sharp people we have on the job that surely methods that are totally ineffective would be scrapped, but I wonder. And as I’ve said, I don’t have a good alternative. TV advertising is expensive and I suspect is tuned out just about as easily. Advertising on web sites and social media might yield some profit. It doesn’t reach me well, but that’s because of the way I access content. Most ads escape my notice.
I do have one idea, incompletely formed though it may be. It’s not new, but I’ve never seen it applied in the political arena. That isn’t saying much since I haven’t been involved at any level until the past few years. In a word, relationship. Churches have caught onto this to some degree. They’ve tried to create environments where relationships can be built with the goal of sharing Jesus’ message with those who do not believe minus the hard sell. While good people may disagree on the appropriateness of that approach for a church, there’s no denying that we are more likely to be heard by people with whom we have established some level of relationship.
How can we do that? Maybe we could sponsor social gatherings in neighborhoods where we hope to have influence. Maybe we could involve ourselves in local activities by other groups so that people know who we are. Maybe there is even room for some kind of beneficial or charitable activity for a community. Of this I am certain. We can’t win by sheer force of propaganda. We’re going to have to be smarter than that. We can’t win by throwing money at the problem. We criticize government for that and then exhibit the same mentality. Yes, it takes money to do things, but it also takes planning and commitment. Enough of the latter can overcome the lack of the former.
Now that I’ve said all of that, I have to step back and say that if we’re not applying that same level of commitment to spreading the Gospel, we are wasting our time on anything else. What we need in this country is not primarily a shift in party, but a shift in heart. We can have legitimate disagreements about how things should be done, but if we are not in agreement about why they should be done, we all lose. I’m writing now not as a Republican, but as a Christian. They are far from the same thing, though I will not shrink from saying that the Republican party platform comes far closer to Biblical principles than does that of the Democrats. If we do not repent as a nation of the evil we are doing, we will face judgment. Party affiliation won’t matter much when that happens.