Dave Kinnaman, president of Barna, wrote a book, "UnChristian" which details how outsiders view us:
"From Publishers Weekly
Kinnaman, president of the Barna Institute, was inspired to write this book when Lyons (of the Fermi Project) commissioned him to do extensive research on what young Americans think about Christianity. Lyons had a gut-level sense that something was desperately wrong, and three years of research paints exactly that picture. Mosaics and Busters (the generations that include late teens to early 30-somethings) believe Christians are judgmental, antihomosexual, hypocritical, too political and sheltered. Rather than simply try to do a PR face-lift, Kinnaman looks at ways in which churches' activities actually may have been unchristian and encourages a return to a more biblical Christianity, a faith that not only focuses on holiness but also loves, accepts and works to understand the world around it. It would be possible to get lost in the numbers, but the authors use numerous illustrations from their research and life experiences and include insights at the end of every chapter from Christian leaders like Charles Colson, John Stott, Brian McLaren and Jim Wallis. This is a wonderful, thoughtful book that conveys difficult truths in a spirit of humility. Every Christian should read this, and it will likely influence churches for years to come". (Oct.)
i prayerfully and humbly implore you all to read this, it's a nail to the heart. it doesnt matter whether outsiders are "right", what matters is what some outsiders percieve us to be, because we are tasked, required to pluck some from the flames.
its not compromise.....no. the onus behind this book relates to Paul's exhortation...."when I am among the Jews....".
of course you can attribute the testimonies within this tome, as just the sinful rantings of the lost, but just consider what they say, because i believe the most loving gift we can give anyone is listen to them...and THEN walk the talk.
After all, Jesus did sup with some of the worst sinners of the day, so why cant we, His Body, reflect that Powerful, yet Winsome Love of Messiah?
i also realize that by posting this, on this forum, i might kicking against the goads, and inviting pushback, but it don't matter to me now, i'm just trying to do God's Will, and to apprehend Jesus Messiah as He was, as He is, and as He is yet to come...and my conviction is, to do That, is to make an unflinching, sometimes painful self and corporate examination of our Faith walk.
you might not like what you hear, but the sooner we cut ALL ties with rome, which is babylon, the sooner we embrace servanthood, doulos with Jesus, to be His servants.
the heart of the matter is unscathingly illustrated by the prayer of the pharisee in contrast to the prayer of the burdened tax collector, who couldnt even look Heavenward.
take me out now Lord, should i ever pray like that pharisee did.
rather than do our by the numbers "rome-lite" gatherings, might i suggest we use Antioch as the model Church...thats my prayer.....and maybe that might take God squashing America for a spell. Tragic as that may be, but God willing, some new "Nehemiah's" partner up with Jesus to rebuild the Church....because right now, we, i, you are failing God miserably, or as the LORD led Malachi to prophesy:
"And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the LORD of hosts. Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the LORD of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand."
| 2011/5/29 7:25|
| Re: "unChristian"|
Please do not take this question that I pose as an attack for posting this thread because its not. I rather am trying to understand one line in what you shared.
encourages a return to a more biblical Christianity, a faith that not only focuses on holiness but also loves, accepts and works to understand the world around it.
The part that I am struggling with brother is "but also loves, accepts, and works to understand the world around it." Not sure I see in the WORD where JESUS accepted or tried to understand the world? I know HE loved us all so much so that HE died for us but accept? trying to understand? these words to me seem to imply something other then what JESUS spoke of?
In a world where there is already so much compromise on sin, I really struggle with that one line. As for being to politico, in some cases I can agree with that. Hypocritical, well the (institutional) church because of compromise has come across that way. Judgmental all I can say is the WORD is the standard not me or you. JESUS is clear about sin. I will also add that as a believer in JESUS I have no problem saying that I am antihomosexual, I certain couldn't be following the LORD and be "prohomosexual" but then I am anti-fornication, anti-lying, anti-adulatory, antiabortion, anti-swearing, anti-cheating, anti-hating, anti-jealousy,anti-taking God's name in vain (I think you understand what I am saying :) I love my enemies,(those in rebellion to GOD) but I am anti sin as I know you are.
Just like you shared brother I am looking for ways to be a servant, to lay down my life for others, to share the love and light of JESUS with those around me but this just implies compromise to me. Is it possible, can you see where this could be used to cause compromise amongst believers, if we get caught up in human sympathy? (not talking about institution/structured church buildings but rather the body who are the church)
Thank you brother for taking the time read through this reply. I look forward to what further the LORD might be putting on your heart to share.
| 2011/5/29 8:08||Profile|
| Re: |
I know of Barna but have never heard of this book. It must be striking a chord (good or bad) with someone because there are 127 reviews on Amazon. You may want to check out Amazon if you are looking for opinions on what people think.
Here is one such opinion from an unsaved person who read it. (Astounding).
Frustrating Analysis and Conclusions, October 14, 2010
By Heather (Tampa, FL) - See all my reviewsThis review is for: unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity... and Why It Matters (Hardcover)
David Kinnaman relates an anecdote during the introduction that demonstrates my frustrations with this book. He is talking to someone who is making a career decision that David does not agree with. Even though the person who he is talking to has already said that he has carefully considered the decision, David insists on explaining why its a bad decision and presses him to change his mind. The other person doesn't immediately reply to David's arguments, so David feels happy that his comments had made an impact and that the decision will be changed, but when the other person starts talking, he is actually frustrated that David wasn't listening and that he actually did carefully and prayerfully consider the decision and that this other person will be making that career change. David doesn't consciously accept this other person's decision, so during the rest of the conversation he keeps talking about possible decision or still considering the decision, although it's been made clear to him that the decision has been made.
That kind of blithe arrogance David displayed during that interaction runs through his analysis throughout his book. He is so convinced he is right that while the research has a great deal to say to everyone, his conclusions are filtered through his narrow focus.
As a young Gen-X "outsider", I would fit into his survey research, but I am not the audience for this book. His intended audience is Protestant Christians, and if you are one you may get something out of this. Don't worry, he will not challenge your beliefs; he will go out of his way to reassure you that you have chosen correctly. But he does address issues of presentation during your proselytizing and things to consider during your ministry (because, yes, you still need to minister to me, regardless of how little I want you to).
He discusses the view of Christianity as being antihomosexual. David Kinnaman says the increasingly favorable view that the younger generations have towards homosexuality is due to loyalty to friends who are homosexual. (Other research agrees with him - younger generations are far more likely to have a close friend or relative identify as gay.) He doesn't consider that this loyalty may be born out of a sense of morality, that the younger generations, as products of divorces and broken homes, may see the long-term relationships of their gay relatives and friends and think that to deny them some basic protections is a form of bigotry and/or discrimination. No, because the Bible teaches against homosexuality he doesn't consider that morality could play a part in an opposing view. He considers it simply a matter of loyalty. In fact, he considers it a loyalty born out of immorality by directly comparing the younger generations' loyalty to a gay friend to the illegal downloading of music ("sharing") and stealing from an employee in order to "hook up" a friend with free stuff. To say that's an insulting view is an understatement.
He repeatedly says that most "outsiders" have knowledge of and experience with Christianity, that many attended church as a child and a teenager, but he makes the conclusion that it was Christians being rude and not being open that made them leave. I grant you that I'm sure that's the case in some circumstances, but not in all. He doesn't ever come to the realization that there could be a theological or spiritual reason for someone to leave. David talks about how many people research Christianity, and that half of those researching come away with a great deal of knowledge of Christianity (perhaps "too much", he says), but he follows that with anecdotes of people who didn't really know much about Christianity who wandered into a church and were treated rudely and so left. He references the internet briefly, but talks about its impact causing limited attention. True, but he doesn't talk about the fact that the internet has also eliminated the spiritual monopoly that Christianity has had in most of the US. If the younger generations don't feel comfortable with Christianity, they can now research another spiritual path that speaks to them, whereas 25 years ago they were stuck with either Christianity or nothing.
If you are a Protestant Christian you will probably come away with a notion to not be rude or to be less abrasive, in which case, yay! There should be more nicer and more polite people in the world. But if you come away with the idea that all those young people are "outsiders" simply because Christianity wasn't presented in the proper way or because someone was rude to them, you may be in for an unpleasant shock.
| 2011/5/29 8:58|