I have a pastor friend, Joan, who recently posed the question: Are Christians going to become the 21st century Amish? Will they become a quaint curiosity to younger generations but totally irrelevant to the lives of real people and the culture they’re living in? Some would say that we’re practically there.
A couple of guys named Kinnaman and Lyons wrote a book called: unChristian: What a new generation really thinks about Christianity and why it matters. They conducted research with young adults, people under 30. For the most part, these aren’t people unfamiliar with church. They have been to Christian Sunday schools, and Vacation Bible Schools and camps. And what do they say about us?
+ 91% say the best word to describe Christians is “antihomosexual.” They say that Christians are known more for what they stand against than what they stand for. 91%!
+ 87% choose the word “judgmental” to describe Christians. They don’t see evidence of the love of Christ that Christians claim to have.
+ 85% say Christians are hypocritical.
They also say that Christians are all out to proselytize, to get converts. And that they are sheltered. The church is irrelevant – out of touch with reality.
This research is startling. It’s an indictment against the Christian church. We have clearly been misrepresenting Jesus to the world.
When the ELCA voted this summer to become a church that fully includes gays and lesbians in our life together, we were given an opportunity -- an opportunity to introduce people to the real Jesus. This is no time for us to be shy about it. People need to know who he really is. For too long we have allowed other Christians to speak for us in a way that has grossly misrepresented Jesus. It’s time for our voices to be heard. Let's show them who Jesus is.