What do you think of when you hear the word “Christian”?

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At the end of the yesterday’s sermon at church the speaker made reference to this article (quoted in part below). The survey is a year old, so I imagine were it to be taken again the numbers would be even higher in part due to the presidential campaign this past year.

“The Barna Group, a respected Christian survey organization, recently asked young people to identify which perceptions they most strongly associate with Christianity. The three most commonly agreed-upon were: anti-homosexual, judgmental, and hypocritical.

Barna president David Kinnaman and co-author Gabe Lyons conclude in UnChristian (Baker, 2007) that Christians “have become famous for what we oppose, rather than who we are for.”

One can’t dismiss these findings as the result of biased media or ignorant respondents. Most of those polled report knowing Christians personally, and a considerable percentage have spent significant time in churches themselves. What’s more, large portions of young Christians agree, and worry, explain the authors, “that the unChristian message has become one of self-preservation rather than one of world restoration.”

I don’t know how other Christians feel about this, but it broke my heart.  Whatever happened to “They’ll know we are Christians by our love”???  I’ve thought about it and wonder if perhaps part of the reason this is happening may be because Christianity is increasingly coming under attack and many Christians are very defensive (to the point of being offensive).  I’m not advocating that Christians sit on their butts while their personal liberties are taken away, far from it.  But neither is it right to attack others.

Yeah, I know.  One of these days I’ll get back to writing about poetry….  :)

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