Although America has long been divided on social issues, the nation has been traditionally fairly united in optimism about the future.

But no longer, according to a special survey commissioned for The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute and headlined in an article Americans Are No Longer Optimists:

  • Nearly two-thirds of Americans—65 percent—question whether America will be on the right track in 10 years.
  • Most doubt whether American will be a “land of opportunity” in 10 years (33 percent say yes, 42 percent say no, and 24 percent say they don’t know).
  • The American Dream seems to be fading with seven in ten Americans cynical about whether working hard and playing by the rules will bring success in the future.
  • While 56 percent of parents believe college will be increasingly important in the coming years, less than one third—29 percent—believe they will be able to afford to pay for their children to go.
  • Only three in 10 Americans now believe our global standing will be rising in 10 years; 43 percent think it will be declining.
  • 64 percent of parents believe it will be difficult for their children to find good jobs in 10 years.
  • Only African Americans and Hispanics believe America is on the right track and will remain a land of opportunity.
  • Women are even more pessimistic than men.

Those who commissioned the poll conclude: “All we can say, then, is that Americans are full of uncertainty and pessimism about the next 10 years.”

Gospel Potential
How do you react when you read such statistics? Do you think “We’re doomed, we’re doomed, we’re all doomed!”

Or do you think, “What an opportunity for the church of Christ and the Gospel of grace!”

I hope the latter. There’s such an opening here for the good news, so wide that it’s just about an open goal without a goalkeeper. It’s like a 21st century version of Ecclesiastes.

If there’s any group of people that can offer a wonderful counter-cultural message surely it’s Christians who can passionately and compassionately communicate the Gospel of grace in all its fullness. Let’s stop moaning and groaning with the rest of the culture, and tell our despairing world about all that Jesus offers:

  • Truth in a world full of lies
  • Peace in a world full of war
  • Love in a world full of hate
  • Life in a world full of death
  • Forgiveness in a world full of vengeance
  • Power in a world full of weakness
  • Certainty in a world full of confusion
  • Purpose in a world full of pointlessness
  • Beauty in a world full of ugliness
  • Hope in a world full of despair
  • Family in a world full of loneliness
  • Guidance in a world full of mazes
  • Goodness in a world full of badness
  • Relationship in a world full of alientation
  • God in a world full of the Devil
  • Salvation in a world full of sin
  • An unshakeable Kingdom in a world of crumbling empires
  • A perfect leader in a world full of failed leadership
  • And, yes, optimism in a world full of pessimism.