One weekend in Orlando, Florida, 450 Christians — pastors and laymen alike — gathered for an event sponsored by the American Renewal Project, led by David Lane.

They ate meals, sang hymns and patriotic songs, and held times of prayer together. They prayed for each other, the churches they represent, their hometowns, the nation, and the world.

The chief common bond was their Christian faith. But also, they came together in order to gain information and inspiration for how to play a more active role in the public square. For many, that means they will be moving into campaign mode in order to try and win a seat on their local school board, city council or state legislative body.

Now, the news stories that are written about these events usually make “the angle” to be that “Right-wing Christians are hoppin’ mad about culture … and they’re trying to resurrect the Moral Majority.” Even the fairest reporting — like NPR’s Tom Gjelten — gives that impression. And to be fair, that does seem to be the “news” of the event — that evangelical Christians might play a greater factor in the next election cycle. That’s the story for the newspapers.

But for those in attendance, the main takeaway was Christian worship, not culture war. The heartbeat of the messages, combined with the fervency of the prayer, would rightly lead you to describe these meetings as a call for spiritual awakening — personal repentance and revival….

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