Book Review title

unChristian: What a New Generation
Really Thinks About Christianity … and Why It Matters
by David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons, Baker Books, 2007, 255 pages, $17.99
(hardcover) ISBN-13: 978-0-8010-1300-3

unChristian-cover Over the years we have frequently given data in this journal that was collected by the Barna Group. This is a research organization that does projects for churches, nonprofits, and corporations that involve population studies. The president of the Barna Group is David Kinnaman who has teamed up with Gabe Lyons, founder of the Fermi Project to research this book. The Fermi Project is a group dedicated to making positive contributions to culture.

What Kinnaman and Lyons have done is to study the perception of Christianity in 16 to 29 year olds. The data has been gathered by questionnaires. As an example, 440 outsiders and 305 churchgoers were asked, “Here are some words or phrases that people could use to describe a religious faith. Please indicate if you think each of the phrases describes present day Christianity.”

Outsiders Churchgoers
Judgmental 87 52
Hypocritical 85 47
Old Fashioned 78 38
Too Involved in Politics 75 50
Out of Touch with Reality 72 32
Insensitive to Others 70 29
Boring 67 27

Data like this can be confusing, and the book discusses why these perceptions exist and what the Church needs to do about them. The approach is cultural and denominational in nature, and the conclusions of the authors are jaded by their own denominational connections. In spite of that, the research is useful and has some valid points about how Christians are sending the wrong message to the world. Church leaders will find lots to disagree with, but lots to think about as well.

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