Monday, March 31, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
3. Jesus confronts the world we live in today.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
What a new Generation Really Thinks About Christianity...and Why it Matters.
As outsiders (non-Christians) were asked to define Christianity, the top three responses were antihomosexual (91%), judgmental (87%), and hypocritical (85%). One thing stands out immediately from these overwhelming responses: CHRISTIANS ARE MORE KNOWN FOR WHAT WE ARE AGAINST THAN WHAT WE ARE FOR!!! We are quick to voice our opinions against things like homosexuality, and at the same time slow to voice our opinions about (and show by the way we live) key truths like the love of Christ. This is depressing on two fronts: First, it just flat out stinks that this is the way Christianity is perceived by those outside of the faith. Second, and probably more importantly, this perception is depressing because I actually agree with it! I mean, if I were an outsider looking into the Church today, I would probably have these same opinions. As one who has grown up on the inside, I want to believe that people can change, and I want to believe that things are better than they are, but this book was like a swift dropkick in the face that said, "We've got BIG PROBLEMS in the Church today!"
Just in case you were wondering, after the "big three" perceptions of Christianity, these top off the list: old-fashioned (78%), too involved in politics (75%), out of touch with reality (72%), insensitive to others (70%), boring (68%), not accepting of other faiths (64%), and confusing (61%). Yikes...
Of these, the one that really stuck out to me was out of touch with reality. As Christians, we have gotten really good at taking the complexities that life throws our way and boiling them down into simple Christian cliches like "Let Go, Let God!" and "Just Believe!" Like I've said before, life is messy, and sometimes our bumper sticker theologies just don't quite cut it in answering the deeper questions of life. Outsiders can see right through our cheesy cliches, and quite frankly they make us seem highly nonintellectual because they refuse to address the depth of life.
Ok, so back to the book...
The first two chapters set up this pandemic problem facing the Church in America (and presumably other places in the world as well). Chapters 3-8, then address some of these issues in depth. At the end of each chapter, some major leaders in the Church today weigh in on the issues presented. This was a nice addition to the book and certainly provided some insightful teaching from people who have been in the trenches of ministry for quite some time.
Chapter 4 entitled "Get Saved!" addresses the feeling outsiders have that Christians do not desire real and meaningful relationships with them, but rather view them as "projects" that need to be "worked on" until they accept the Christian's dogmatic faith. That just sucks...but again...is it really that far from the truth?
Like I said, the book was semi-depressing. I didn't really enjoy reading it in the moment, but in the end I was glad I read it. Chapter 9 entitled "From unChristian to Christian" approached some solutions to this obvious problem facing the Church's relevance, voice, and future in the world today, the most notable solution being, in essence: MAYBE IT"S TIME THAT WE START LIVING AND TREATING PEOPLE THE WAY CHRIST DID!!! Brilliant. The book concludes with some encouraging words from today's Church leaders about their vision and hope for the future of the Church in America.
Overall, I thought Kinnaman and Lyons did an exceptional job with their research, and it was clear that their hearts were to help, encourage and improve the Church, rather than to tear it down.
I give the book a B+, merely because it hurt to read at times and failed to give me any warm fuzzies at any point in my reading (highly subjectional and ridiculous, I know!!!).
Monday, March 17, 2008
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
That's right, I leave tomorrow morning for the (not so) peaceful nation of Israel. I'll try to keep this baby updated with some pics and stories from the trip, depending on what kind of internet access I have over there. I'd appreciate your prayers while I'm gone.
More to come...