Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sheltering Salt and Light? (from "unChristian")

ConsideringUnchristian: What A New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity ...An Why It MattersGroundbreaking research from the Barna Group by Dave Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons

The book of James tells us that true religion, pure and undefiled before the Father, includes two primary characteristics:

  • Visiting (helping to support and provide for) the widows and the fatherless as they face their unique and difficult struggles as they live life without a provider

  • Keeping oneself unspotted or uncorrupted by the world
These are very serious concerns and activities that all Christians must count as serious goals that their lives exemplify. Concerning patriocentricity, the earnest and concerned parents that get culled into the movement and the mentality become completely focused on avoiding corruption, but the often messy process of providing for widows and the fatherless so often falls to the wayside. I learned this virtue of caring for widows and fatherless when I was a child by participating with the less fortunate through my local church. Our (gender specific) youth programs for boys and girls were both home and foreign missions focused but also stressed personal responsibility and Christ-like conduct. I believe that it is possible to train children to do both in today's world, but I fear that many Family Integrated Churches are so self and survival oriented, that their children will never observe and be able to emulate the stewardship of their churches because the ministry opportunities just aren't there to emulate.

And according to “unChristian,” those who are unprepared to engage the culture and the very messy problems of our world will prove Christianity to be culturally irrelevant, something that the generations that follow us do not respect or tolerate.

From pages 121 – 130:

Christians enjoy being in their own community. The more they seclude themselves, the less they can function in the real world. So many Christians are caught in the Christian 'bubble.'” Jonathan, 22

Outsiders describe Christians as living in their own world... Nearly one-quarter describe Christians as using special words and phrases no one else can understand. And half of all young outsiders said that Christianity seems like a club only certain people can join...

Young people's perspectives about the world are not neat and tidy. They find themselves brushing aside those unwilling to explore life's intricacy and irony and idiocy, as they would say. A faith that does not effectively address convoluted and thorny issues seems out of tune with a generation asking big questions and expressing candid doubts. Spirituality that is merely focused on “dos and don'ts" rings hollow.
From “unChristian"
by Dave Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons
Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2007