I am reading a book called UnChristian which is basically a statistical study on younger generations not being in church or caring about Jesus. It's forward warns me that I might be offended by what some of the "outsiders" have to say. Outsiders is the word that was settled on in the book to talk about people who aren't in the church. Although the author still hopes it is the least offensive term and that some of them might even read the book. It rang true I did find myself offended, but it wasn't by the "outsiders" it was by the author. I made it two chapters before I found comments on homosexuality that were for me a little too conservative and unacceptable. Especially given the context. The whole idea of the book is this is how Mosaics and Busters view us as Christians if they themselves are not Christians.
I am reading along and I have made it to the introduction of the idea that people think Christians are antihomosexual. How we need to change our image problem but don't deny homosexuality is sinful and wrong, we can be nice then help people change their lifestyle. Really really did I just read that (it is a paraphrasing of course)? Anyhow, all I could think was well if someone picked up the book because of the title, made it past the "outsiders" term and made it to this page they might get angry because this is exactly the thing that makes "us" so unappealing.
I am wrapped up in this book. I like the statistics but I really don't care for the personal commentary on what it means to be Christian. While I feel that the author is getting the idea that younger generations are looking for us to essentially practice what we preach. Yet he keeps preaching the message that is driving people away. If Jesus is love, I believe that is true, then we need to just LOVE PEOPLE and be in relationship with them. It isn't up to us to change a lifestyle or create a biblical world view for someone else. Let's worry about our own and live life accordingly and I bet that will change hearts!
Biblical world view and depth of faith are what really got me this morning. According to the definitions presented I do not have either. Yet I would disagree I think I have a very strong biblical world view. However it isn't based on rules, it is based on love. It is a way of life based in the love of our fellow human beings. It isn't moral superiority. I am broken and need grace too. Moral superiority is pointless. Depth of faith isn't about moral commitments either. I don't know how I would define it, but it isn't the right answers or the right point of view or even the right actions (we screw up).
One of the other points I find interesting is that the study shows most insiders share many of the views of the outsiders... yep that's me!
I think this is an important book that people should read but I wish is was presented a little better. He does say my generation is skeptical and layered with cynicism. I guess he got that right. The other thing that is right, he writes about how older generations are waiting for us to grow up and become like them and it isn't going to happen. We have redefined what it means to grow up. I never thought about that before but it is true. We don't value the same things so of course grown up will look different.
All that being said, what then becomes of the baptism families? Lately in our church we have been trying to bring together the families of baby's baptized because they come and then disappear until they have another child. We tried everything and then still have no response. So one puts forth the effort to have their child baptized and join the church and then disappears. What is that about? Why have your child baptized if you don't mean any of it. Why answer the question will you be a faithful member of this congregation, yes? So where is that in these statistics?