Recently I wrote on David Wise, the husband and father who won a skiing gold medal at the Winter Olympics. NBC reported the story this way: "David Wise's alternative lifestyle leads to Olympic gold." What makes a lifestyle "alternative"? According to Wikipedia, it is "a lifestyle diverse in respect to mainstream ones, or generally perceived to be outside the cultural norm. . . . Usually, but not always, it implies an affinity or identification with some matching subculture (examples include hippies, Gypsies, goths and punks)."
So our culture has evolved (regressed?) to the place where being married with a child is as counter-cultural as being a Gypsy. Here's the sad news: when you look at the numbers, NBC is right. According to Pew Research, only 51 percent of adults in America are married, compared with 72 percent in 1960. Just 20 percent of adults ages 18 to 29 are married, compared with 59 percent in 1960. Nearly four in ten Americans say marriage is becoming obsolete; just 28 percent agreed in 1978. The number of couples cohabiting has nearly doubled since 1990.
Our definition of "family" is changing as well. Today, 80 percent of Americans say an unmarried couple living together with a child is a family; 63 percent say a gay or lesbian couple raising a child is a family.
Consider other social trends in today's news. According to Barna, only 20 percent of Americans "have a sense of what God wants them to do with their lives." It's no surprise that 75 percent are "looking for ways to live a more meaningful life." Technology has exploded (mobile phone subscribers in the U.S. grew from 97 million in 2000 to 293 million in 2010), but loneliness is more an epidemic than ever (the number of "chronically lonely" Americans over 45 has nearly doubled in the last decade).
The Denison Forum on Truth and Culture just marked our fifth anniversary. We believe our mission of engaging cultural issues with biblical truth to be more relevant than ever. Subscribers to this Cultural Commentary have grown from 5,000 to over 88,000 in 203 countries. We have more Facebook fans in Nigeria than in my home town of Houston, Texas.
I share these facts to make two observations. One: our team is truly grateful to you for using our resources and supporting our work. We view ourselves as your Kingdom partners as we "speak the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15). Two: your influence in your culture is urgently needed and eternally significant. As your friends and colleagues search for meaning, the Holy Spirit will draw them to the Christ they see in you. You are the only Bible they will read, the only sermon they will hear.
I pray every day that God will use our readers to advance his Kingdom around the world. How will he answer that prayer in your life today?