This is a tremendous work for anyone who wants to know what "outsiders" think. It caused me to look much closer at my life and how my faith is lived out publicly; how I can more distinctly reflect Christ to the unchurched and best represent the essence of the Gospel message. I used 'UnChristian" in small group discussion and we have had several engaging, thought-provoking conversations around the themes in this book. Highly recommended!
The "unChristian" book was published after three years of research by the Barna group on non-Christian (and Christian) perspectives on modern day American Christianity. Barna is a pretty unique group, in that they do market research on all things related to Christianity, so that the American Church can better function.
Far too many Christians are playing the martyr card and highlighting examples of what happens in a world of extreme tolerance and pluralism. Many Christians are fearful of their rights being taken away or their voice no longer being heard. While I understand those concerns, Barna's research should help open up the eyes of the average believe - that more and more young people are genuinely disillusioned by all things related to Christianity. The six main perceptions about Christians uncovered in their research - Christianity is hypocritical, judgmental, too political, isn't genuine, anti-homosexual and sheltered. They explain their research methodology, break down each of these negative perceptions and also include some other closing thoughts. Each chapter has feedback from well-known pastors/theologians with their own insights into each of these perceptions.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was fairly convicted throughout. The point of the text is not that Christians should be popular, but that when non-believers look in at us, they increasingly see nothing that looks like Jesus. This desperately needs to change and being aware of these perceptions is certainly a good starting place. Rather than take a "Well I believe in the Bible, therefore I am always right" approach, it's good to be aware of flaws and good to be aware of what simply does not work. Grace and humility are traits that many churches need to reclaim.
I used this book in a recent sermon series, dedicating six weeks to the six negative perceptions. It was challenging to talk about some of these ideas and it certainly was challenging to own up to our faults, but I think it was worth it in the end.