UnChristian (by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons) is a compilation and analysis of a research study on the perspective outsiders (the term they use in this study for people looking at the Christian faith from outside) and insiders have of Christianity and the church. The general categories they assign to their findings about Christians are hypocritical, only care about getting people saved, antihomosexual, sheltered, too political, and judgmental. They do a good job of explaining their findings and challenging Christians to think through why people have these perceptions.
Here are some interesting quotations from the book:
- “We discovered that outsiders express the most opposition toward evangelicals. Among those aware of the term ‘evangelical,’ the views are extraordinarily negative (49 percent [negative] to 3 percent [positive]).”
- “born again believers were just as likely to bet or gamble, to visit a pornographic website, to take something that did not belong to them, to consult a medium or psychic, to physically fight or abuse someone, to have consumed enough alcohol to be considered legally drunk, to have used an illegal, nonprescription drug, to have said something to someone who is not true, to have gotten back at someone for something he or she did, and to have said mean things behind another person’s back. No difference.”
- “We are learning that one of the primary reasons that ministry to teenagers fails to produce a lasting faith is because they are not being taught to think.”
- “Being salt and light demands two things: we practice purity in the midst of a fallen world and yet we live in proximity to this fallen world.”
- “Arrogance is perhaps the most socially acceptable form of sin in the church today.”
- “To outsiders the word Christian has more in common with a brand than a faith.”
My greatest challenge from the book was to realize that to some extent perception is reality. I can get mad about what people think of me and my faith. I can list all the reasons they’re wrong, but all that will do is show that some of those perceptions are right. I need to change those perceptions through my actions–all of us do.