Item description for Unchristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity...and Why It Matters by David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons...
Overview Based on research conducted on 16- to 29-year-old non-believers, and featuring responses from a vast array of Christian leaders, shows how modern society perceives Christians and explores what can be done to reverse those negative perceptions.
Publishers Description Ground-breaking research presented in the bestselling book, unChristian, reveals that 16-29 year olds perceive Christianity to be anti-homosexual, judgmental, hypocritical, too political, sheltered, and proselytizing. This DVD curriculum kit developed by the Fermi Project moves the conversation forward by providing key insight into how Christians can change these perceptions when we become more like Jesus. Including insights from Gabe Lyons, David Kinnaman, Shane Claiborne, and Rick McKinley, this innovative study will move participants to not only be more aware, but to actively engage with their community. Includes DVD, leader's guide, and interactive website access.
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, anti-homosexual, hypocritical, too political, and sheltered. Rather than simply try to do a PR face-lift, Kinnaman looks at ways in which the church's 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 here, 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 the church for years to come. (Oct.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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Studio: Baker Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.79" Width: 5.83" Height: 0.91" Weight: 0.92 lbs.
Release Date Oct 1, 2007
Publisher Baker Publishing Group
ISBN 0801013003 ISBN13 9780801013003
Availability 0 units.
More About David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons
David Kinnaman is the coauthor of the bestselling unChristian and is the president of The Barna Group, which provides research and resources that facilitate spiritual transformation in people's lives. Since joining Barna in 1995, David has designed and analyzed nearly five hundred studies for a variety of churches, nonprofits, and corporations. He and George Barna write a free research report published online at www.barna.org. David and his wife, Jill, have three children and live in California.
David Kinnaman currently resides in Ventura. David Kinnaman was born in 1973.
Reviews - What do customers think about Unchristian?
Only half the story Apr 4, 2010
Yes and no is how I respond to this book. Yes, we all have failed to properly represent Christ to a watching world. Yes we have been ungracious, hypocritical, uncharitable, and many other things at times, thereby unnecessarily turning some people off to the gospel.
But no, that is not the whole story. Imagine if one could be free of all these negative traits, and present the good news of God in a totally loving and gracious manner. Would that mean everyone would flock to Christianity?
Well, we don't have to imagine very hard - it has already happened. Jesus came and lived among us, representing God perfectly, full of grace, love and beauty. And guess what? While many people flocked to Christ, many people rejected Christ. The most perfect example of Christlike behaviour was met with mixed results.
That message almost never comes through in this book. It is all about how we fail to measure up in the eyes of non-Christians. Indeed, the book begins with these words: "Christianity has an image problem". Is that it?
It may be part of it, but it surely is not all of it. Jesus said, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first" (John 15:18). In one sense, no matter how loving, gracious, tactful and diplomatic we might be, we have no promise that this will result in the successful reception of our message.
In this book six reasons are offered as to why people reject Christianity. The two highest ranking ones were "Antihomosexual" and "Judgmental". Have some believers been un-Christlike and unloving in their dealings with homosexuals? Yes. But again, that is not the end the story. While many of us can and should lift our game here, there is more to it than just that.
At the moment one of the major assaults on faith and family is the militant homosexual lobby. While we need to seek to lovingly reach individual homosexuals with the gospel, we also must deal with the public policy side of things as well.
That is, there is a very real place for standing up for the God-given institution of heterosexual marriage, and resist the demands for same-sex marriage and homosexual adoption rights. And to affirm the Biblical mandate that human sexuality is only permissible within the confines of heterosexual marriage is something we must strongly affirm.
Love and truth must go hand in hand. We can seek to lead all people, including homosexuals, into the kingdom, while taking a stand for biblical truth, which includes the core belief that we are all sinner in need of a saviour.
But to speak the truth about a holy, just and righteous God who demands repentance and a changed life (with the help of Christ) will always cause an image problem, and will always lead many to want nothing to do with biblical Christianity.
I find the chapter on judgmentalism to also be problematic. Consider how the term is defined: "To be judgmental is to point out something that is wrong in someone else's life, making the person feel put down, excluded, and marginalized".
Is that bad? Is it unbiblical? To be honest, it seems to be a perfect description of just what we find in Scripture. Consider the story of Jesus and the rich man as found in Matt. 19:16-30. This seems to portray the very thing that Kinnaman is condemning.
In this pericope Jesus pointed "out something that is wrong in someone else's life" (the rich man), and what was the result? The rich man went away sad we are told, because Jesus was judging his love of riches. That sounds a lot like making the rich man "feel put down, excluded, and marginalized".
The truth is, whenever we proclaim that a person is alienated from God because of his sin and selfishness, and that he needs to repent and ask for forgiveness, that is going to result in such feelings. It cuts right across human pride to point out such things, and the first reaction many will have is, "you are being so judgmental; you are putting me down!"
Sure, by all means let us seek to be as Christlike, as winsome, and as tactful as possible. But rejection, anger or indifference will nonetheless still be the reaction of many.
Perhaps I can tie these two chapters on homosexuality and judging together with a story of a former homosexual who came to Christ. The first half of his story as a homosexual and his dislike of Christianity would have nicely fit in a book like this. But the second half of his story would probably not. His story is entitled: "Thank You For Offending Me". Here is an abbreviated version of his story:
"Let me just say a hearty `THANK YOU' to my wife, and my parents and family, and my friends, who cared enough about me to offend me! I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I consider the ramifications in my life had the people in my world bought into the lie that to love me was to affirm my homosexuality...
"I wonder where I would be if my friends had encouraged me to divorce Stephanie and had rallied around me in my homosexuality. I wonder where I would be if my pastors and spiritual shepherds had encouraged me to accept the very thing I needed to lay before the cross of Christ. I shudder at the thought. I know it must have killed them to think of losing me, but they loved me enough to take that risk. THANK YOU, dear friends, for your offense to me. At the time, the Truth you shared was the aroma of death to me (II Cor. 2:15) but today it is the sweet fragrance of LIFE."
His story offers the full picture, the proper biblical balance, which seems to be lacking in this book.
Important work: hard to read Feb 15, 2010
I had a hard time with this one. I would read it awhile, then go read a novel, then come back to it again, then go read something else. I finally finished it with new resolve on a trip to Haiti with a couple of loooong airplane rides and waits in airports.
It wasn't the content that kept pushing me away; it was the writing (I think).
The book is based on research by George Barna's outfit ([...])that interviewed and surveyed young people (16-21) about their attitudes toward the church, then split the data between those who said they were Christians and those who said they were not. They found first that Christian young people and non-christian young people see the church very much alike. Then they grouped the negative views of the church into six categories: Hypocritical, Get Saved!,Antihomosexual, Sheltered, Too Political, and Judgemental. Before you react too negatively to the book on the basis of these titles, you might should take a look at it. These are not how the author characterizes the church; they are how he found the young people of this nation view the church. He goes on to suggest what we might do about each of these without compromising our basic beliefs.
In all, it is an important work. For more of my thoughts on it check the blog at "Dead to my flesh."A Call to Arms! Out of the Pews and Into the Streets
Good Medicine Feb 14, 2010
This book is a MUST read for evangelical christians. You won't like it - it is bitter medicine. But believe me - you need it - just as I do.
UnChristian...tells it like a real Christian Jan 10, 2010
unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity... and Why It Matters
Some useful information set in a limited attitude Dec 17, 2009
Our small discipleship group (Lutheran/Minnesota) read this book and discussed it. Individual members of the group had very different reactions (warning: we're all Boomers): -- J stated, "I almost put it down when I saw the contributors on the back cover were all Evangelicals. I escaped from that community and I don't want to go back to it." Group pointed out only two "contributing" authors were women -- John Stott not an Evangelical -- but the narrowness of the selection of "Christian leaders" reveals the author's clear bias toward an interpretation of Christianity as meaning only the born-again/Evangelical version most often found in the southern US. -- S noted that the "Barna biblical worldview" used to assess the depth of a person's faith is sadly lacking in WORLD view -- see p. 75 -- nothing there about social justice, ecology (stewardship of God's earth), concern for understanding the world and the Christian mission through the eyes of other races and nations -- -- H noted ironically that "As Christians we shouldn't judge others, but the people that I judge are the religious right." --P liked the book -- felt it's thesis about how people outside Christian denominations view Christians in U.S. culture was largely true and formed a challenge to those of us who try to follow Jesus' example -- M was "really glad" we had chosen this book. She hadn't heard of it and found it very helpful in thinking about her ministry -- Most members of the group were very disturbed by the authors treatment of homosexuality. It isn't possible to "hate the sin and love the sinner" because you keep the view of the other person as "sinner" foremost in your mind. We are called more simply to love our neighbor.
Having discussed our frustrations with the book, the group then turned to the challenge raised -- How do we demonstrate Christ's radical love here, in our own community? Responses: --Praying and studying the Bible, so that prayer and Scripture infuse our thinking and everything we do --Reach out and minister to the poor and those on the margins of society --Reflect Christ in our vocations -- Martin Luther said: "Why do we do good works? Because our neighbor needs them." i.e. -- it's not for marketing purposes -- Within our congregation, nurture the high profile and accomplished people in town by allowing them to be members and pressuring them or expecting them to take leadership roles -- also without calling attention to their presence. -- Attention and honors are given to those who serve. --Encourage members of the congregation to actively support community organizations that serve the poor and those in need through time and money, rather than wasting resources through inventing our own missions just to claim the work as "ours."
The ELCA is currently facing a huge public relations problem. We need to highlight those aspects of the ELCA that truly reflect Christ's call to ministry -- like the work of Lutheran Social Services and the commitment of the ELCA to maintaining the Christian mission in its colleges and seminaries.
This author wishes that Kinneman would have included scholarly definitions of Mosaics, Busters, and Boomers. Since much of the text contrasts the views of Mosaics and Busters with some other group to which the reader is assumed to belong, it would be helpful to have Kinneman reveal something of what this group believes.