I just picked up a copy of "unChristian," a somewhat startling book by Dave Kinnaman. Dave is the president of The Barna Group, a research organization that specializes in providing resources "that facilitate spiritual transformation in people's lives." The information in his new book came out of a research project that revealed "the increasingly negative reputation of Christians, especially among young Americans." The results aren't good. According to Kinnaman, most people looking at Christianity from the outside think it no longer represents "what Jesus had in mind." For many people, the Christian faith "looks weary and threadbare."
While I don't think Christians should make it a goal to win popularity contests, we should be concerned if people perceive that we no longer represent the substance of our name. It's one thing for people to criticize Christianity for being out of touch with culture. That's not always a bad things. But when they conclude that we no longer follow Christ--whether that's true or not--that's a really bad thing.
I'm going to take some time to read Dave's book. Evidently I'm not alone. More than 4,000 copies of "unChristian" were sold at a recent Catalyst conference, where church leaders gathered to hear speakers like Dave and a bunch of other respected Christian leaders--such as Gabe Lyons, Andy Crouch, Louis Giglio, and Brian McLaren--whose comments and insights are also included in the book.