This is the book I should have read in 2007. This is the book we all should have read in 2007.
And, if you read it in 2007, you know what I mean.
UnChristian is a necessary wakeup call for Western Christianity, not alarmist, but providing a thorough and thoughtful review of years of research by the Barna Group into the perspectives “outsiders” have of Christians. What the research (which was conducted among those who were 16 to 29 in 2007) showed was that they were more skeptical of and resistant to Christianity than what we had seen just a decade before.
They thought of us as judgmental, hypocritical, sheltered, too political, antihomosexual, and obsessed with converting them. They weren’t put off by the Bible, or even by Jesus, but by our unchristian attitudes towards those outside of our Christian circles.
And, as I listened to the book (there is a well-done, unabridged audio version available, which I listened to in the car, and over several days doing dishes), the thing that kept coming to the forefront of my mind was that the subjects of the research—those who were 16 to 29 in 2007—aren’t kids anymore.
Now they are 24 to 37 years old. Many of them own their own homes. They have their gown-up jobs. They’re married. They have little kids. And unless we have made significant progress in how the church has related to them since 2007—and I’m afraid we haven’t—they are likely raising them outside of the church, and outside of Christianity.
It’s time, Christian friends, for change. It’s time to be known instead for our love and compassion, for our welcoming and warmth, and for our wisdom and patience. The world needs us to, and longs for us to, relate to them as Christians. Kinnaman has showed us with this provocative book what our neighbors really think of us. Now it’s our turn to do something about it.