Hypocritical, anti-homosexual and judgemental. That is how Christians are described in the book UnChristian, by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons.
Kinnaman is a professional Christian researcher whose company embarked on an extensive three year research to find out just what people think about Christians and Christianity in America. The result, as detailed in UnChristian, is not a pretty one.
Not only are Christians perceived to be hypocritical, anti-homosexual and judgemental, many also believe that we have a hidden agenda of wanting to convert them when we befriend them. We are seen as irrelevant and lacking authenticity and sincerity.
“So many Christians are caught up in the Christian sub-culture and are completely closed off from the world. We got to church on Wednesdays, Sundays and sometimes on Saturdays. We attend small group on Tuesday night and serve on the Sunday school advisory board, the financial committee, and the welcoming committee. We go to barbeques with our Christian friends and plan group outings. We are closed off from the world. Even if we wanted to reach out to nonChristians, we don’t have time and we don’t know how. The only way we know how to reach out is to invite people to join in our Christian social circle.” (Page 130).
The data in UnChristian may be based in America, and Americans may relate more to the content than others, but the core material is still highly relevant. UnChristian is a book that every Christian should read. For those who shy away from statistics, UnChristian is not simply a book that provides data. Kinnaman analyses the information and gives Christians strategies on how to solve the problems in a Biblical, Christ-centred way.
It is a book that provides the harsh reality and makes no attempt to gloss things over. And yet it provides a saving grace, bringing the readers back to the Bible and revealing how Jesus would have solved the problems. Also included are success stories and thoughts from those who have managed to connect with the community around them in a convincing and helpful way.
“In our efforts to point out sin, we often fail to do anything for the people who are affected by sin. Think of it this way. The perception is that Christians are known more for talking about these issues than doing anything about them. Based on our survey, a majority of outsiders say Christians are quick to find fault with others.” (Page 184).
UnChristian is not simply a wake-up call to Christians, it spurs you into action. The heart of its message is about grace – remembering the grace we received from God, and extending it to others unreservedly.