Catalyst 2007 – unChristian

A moderated discussion with Tri Robinson, Chris Seay, Dave Kinnaman, and Gabe Lyons, on Kinnaman’s & Lyon’s new book unChristian.

  • Why does our revelation to others that we’re Christians bring such rejection?
  • unChristian set out to scientifically document perceptions of and attitudes towards Christians. Over 10,000 interviews were conducted.
    • Top perceptions: Anti-gay, Judgmental, Hypocritical, Sheltered, Too political, Proselytizers
    • NonChristians 16-29 years old are 8x less favorable about Christians than their Boomer parents
    • unChristian is not an opinion poll to see how we should act… we still have the Bible for that.
  • “We’re not hated for righteousness, but for self-righteousness.” Dave Kinnaman (DK)
  • “On ‘Oh, this is nothing but media bias…’: Research shows that 16-29 y/o’s have 5 Christian friends, 6 months experience among a church community, a majority have at least considered what it means to follow Christianity, etc. They’ve been up close and personal and have some very real things to say.” Gabe Lyons (GL)
  • “They have personal stories to back up their perceptions of Christians as hypocritical, shallow, etc.” (DK)
  • “This generation is slipping away from us. If we sit back and assume our world’s going to Hell, and just leave it alone… well, we just can’t be like that.” (GL)
  • There’s been a surge of people identifying themselves as ‘Christ-followers’ and other similar terms, instead of ‘Christian’. “We need to be redeeming the term ‘Christian’, showing all the things we’re for.” (DK)
  • If Jesus were physically among us again, “his focus would not be on morality… it would be on God and the Creator. If you focus on morality, Romans ultimately tells you you won’t get morality. unChristian is not despair of where we’re at, but hope of where we can be.” Chris Seay (CS)
  • “Before we’re gonna change our culture, we’ve gotta change our own hearts.” Tri Robinson (TR)
  • “It’s wrong to preach a message about social justice or giving water or feeding the poor without providing an outlet for people to go and put it into action. We need a path to run on and it’s the role of the church to provide that path.” (TR)
  • “Christians today are waiting for their leaders to say its ok to care for the environment.” (TR)
  • “It comes down to our character. So far, the right answers have produced the wrong character. We have to own some of that.” (CS)
  • “In those perceptions are tremendous opportunities. They [nonChristians] are smart & savvy. They do remember. They’re begging for chances and deep conversations to wrestle with their doubts. They’re absolutely waiting to be awakened to God’s purposes. They could change the world, we just have to get out of the way.” (DK)
  • “Spirituality is at an all-time high, but they’re not finding it in Christianity. It’s not just an image problem. It’s not that you have to five yup the truth. You just have to hold it in tension as you engage people that are different than us, that are anti-us.” (GL)
  • “I feel that there is a major major trend coming. Let’s talk about the things we agree on. There are so many organizations that are on the same page that don’t know each other exist. Let’s draw the gifting into one place.” (TR)
  • “They don’t recognize the ‘fruits of the Spirit’ in Christians. The generation is skeptical of us. What will we do? Will we hole up? Do we draw a line in the sand? How could we embody that grace and truth that Jesus tells us he is?” (DK)

3 responses to “Catalyst 2007 – unChristian

  1. Hey Dude,
    not sure I am sold on this one.
    Seems less concerned about wide variety of things and more concerned about a PR campaign
    Let me know what you think

  2. I haven’t read the book, but I did buy it and hope to get to it very soon.
    I can see where you’re coming from. It does seem to pretty much be an image makeover for Christianity, to be carried out at the individual level by concerned Christians. More accurately, I get the impression that the book is about how Christians can address common wall-raising perceptions to instead be wall raze-ers.
    One thing that helps me be open to the book is the group of pastors/culturists/theologians I respect that they’ve gotten to weigh in on the book. There’s a whole after-afterword filled with comments by Kimball, Haugen, McLaren, Mike Foster, John Stott, Andy Crouch, blah blah blah.
    And would a sharp guy like Chris Seay be willing to sit in on this book’s discussion if he thought it was off-track? Also, I have new respect Tri Robinson as a newcomer to the cultural engagement dialogue, and he was willing to lend his voice to the discussion. Lyons I don’t know much about but I dig his Fermi Project (even though I have to wait till I have a firstborn son so I can use him for my registration payment along with my right arm and leg). And Kinnaman comes from Camp Barna, but I’ll give him benefit of the doubt because Lyons commissioned him to do the research so they could together write the book.
    You may have red flags going up because it’s not an ecclesial book, and I know that the Church is very dear to us angli/presby/mennomergents. You and I both know the Church is the very thing against which the gates of hell won’t prevail. And that’s why we love Her, because She’s the instrument for empowering believers to go on their unique missions to take Christ to the world.
    I think unChristian, while not distinctly missional, is working towards the same end as the Church. So, it’s worth a read. (Even if it is published by the 4th member of the Trinity, the Barna Group.)
    Wow, this looks like a whole self-sufficient followup post…

  3. Jesus Creed is going to be doing a discussion series on the book. Stay tuned…

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