Everyone has heard some variation of the saying, “If it plays in Peoria, it will play anywhere.”
It’s an old maxim that suggests whatever might be popular in the middle of the road, middle of Illinois will be popular anywhere else in the United States.
A recent American religious indentification survey shows declining church attendance and a fall in the number of Americans identifying themselves as Christians. It also shows demographic shifts of population, for example a decrease of Catholics in the Northeast and a rise in the Catholic population in the South as retirees and well-established families migrate.
In other words, what plays in Peoria might not play in Atlanta, Hartford, or Seattle.
It is inescapable that our culture continues to grow more diverse and, I would argue, that our diversity remains one of our nation’s greatest strengths. The challenge then becomes how do we “sell” Christianity to others?
There is no single answer, but a significant part of the equation has to be ourselves individually, mirroring the love of Christ in our own words and deeds.
Authenticity in behavior and approach can lead to what an older, spiritually mature gentleman explained to me as the “a-ha” moment when someone asks you, “Why are you the way you are? What you have is something I’m missing and something I want.”
I’ve also heard it referred to as an “attitude of gratitude.”
Whatever you want to call it, that personal touch is likely to play pretty much anywhere.