LIHUE — As a professor of politics and an ordained minister, Dale Kuehne is an anomaly. In fact, there may not be anyone with the same combination of credentials in America.
“If there’s another one in the U.S., I haven’t met them yet,” he said.
It’s that unusual set of skills that led to his book, “Sex and the iWorld: Rethinking Relationships Beyond an Age of Individualism.” Kuehne, to put it simply, believes the country is in a bit of trouble with the decline of the family.
He said this is a culture in which 45 percent of children are born outside of marriage, where the majority of Americans will never marry, and where there is at the same time a growing group in favor of same-sex marriage, and yet more are losing faith in marriage altogether.
“It’s a world of individualism,” he said.
And there is a cost of that individualism, said Kuehne, a professor of St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., who will be speaking at Kauai Christian Fellowship this weekend. It is not, he said, a sustainable culture, economically.
“This world, this direction we’re going in, it’s not sustainable for many reasons, but the most obvious is economic,” he said.
Governments around the world, U.S., Europe, Australia, are designed around the family, Kuehne said. Without strong families, medical costs will climb.
“Family is the best bargain government has, not just for rearing children, but taking care of the elderly,” the 56-year-old said.
“Governments are recognizing they can’t afford a world without family,” Kuehne said.
But it has become a world of individualism and a turning from family, he said. There is a prevailing attitude that people can find happiness however and in whatever ways they want. It’s a world where the Ten Commandments don’t matter to most people.
“In my lifetime, we’ve flipped to a world, which is called the i World,” he said.
But there is a solution, and it’s the thesis of his book. It’s a matter of reconnecting with family and friends and strangers, too.
“What we’re going to have to do, we’re going to have to rediscover relationships,” Kuehne said. “We’re going to have to rediscover each other.”
Kuehne, founding director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics and an ordained minister of the Evangelical Convenant Church of America, said his research focuses on the relationship between Christianity, politics, and human sexuality.
Kuehne will speak at two morning services and at 7 p.m. Sunday at KCF.
Rick Bundschuh, KCF pastor, said it is the church’s “aim to help illuminate the road less traveled and we are excited that Professor Kuehne is partnering with us in that goal.”
“As a community of faith, we are deeply committed to values which advance the common good,” Bundschuh said. “The clarity and undeniable logic in the way Dale presents both the crisis facing modern culture and the hope available for those who are willing to embrace it seemed like an important message for our people to understand and act upon.”