My nephew-in-law first made me aware of this book - unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity... and Why It Matters. David Kinnamen and Gabe Lyons are the authors. The book has its own website, and received a mention in Time magazine. Publishers Weekly says the following about the book:
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, antihomosexual, hypocritical, too political and sheltered. Rather than simply try to do a PR face-lift, Kinnaman looks at ways in which churches' 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, 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.
Many people are talking about this one, including the following:
- Tom Gilson
- Dr. James E. White
- AJ Vanderhorst
- Scot McKnight has a series about the book entitled "Is Image Everything?" - parts 1, 2, 3
I haven't read the book, so I can't comment on anything the authors specifically say. That being said, however, I want to express some concerns that I have.
- The book seems to have quite a few folks from the emerging-church/religious-left/trendy-Christian perspective, like Dan Kimball, Brian McLaren, Andy Stanley, and Jim Wallis. Why are we not hearing from anyone like David Jeremiah, John MacAthur, John Piper, or Chuck Swindoll? Were any of them asked to participate (did they decline if they were?), or do Kinnaman and Lyons think they have nothing to say (or that what they say is irrelevant)?
- Who is actually guilty of creating these stereotypes? Paul & Jan and other creeps on TBN, or the Lutheran pastor down the street? Who is to blame?
- Do Kinnaman and Lyons see any "negative perceptions" as being unreversable? For example, Jesus sounded like He was making any exclusive claim by saying, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father, but by me." Do Kinnaman and Lyons think that Jesus was being exclusive, or is following Jesus just one of many paths to God?
- What do Kinnaman and Lyons think Jesus meant when He said, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand?" What should we repent of?