“In studying thousands of outsiders’ impressions, it is clear that Christians are primarily perceived for what they stand against. We have become famous for what we oppose, rather than who we are for.” This was the finding of the Barna Research Group’s survey of millennials’ perceptions of Christianity recorded in unChristian in 2018.
These findings resonated with my experience as a campus minister. When I would chat with people about faith, religion, Jesus, and Christianity at Stanford University, the most common perception is that Christians were against “most stuff.” They viewed Christianity as a religious tradition negatively. But when the topic of Jesus came up, they were more positive.
One of the other findings of the Barna Research Group was that people thought that Christians were “too political.” After the Election is my wondering out-loud if the negative perception of Christianity was related to Evangelicals’ involvement in politics? And if this was the case, what was it about Jesus that people were finding interesting? So the book is the exploration of those questions.
Did we (as Christians) get something wrong (we did)? Did we get something right, but in the wrong way (we did)? Did we get something right (we did)?
I say in the “Preface” that I identify as an Evangelical; sometimes this is a hard label to carry in our culture and there have been efforts to abandon it altogether. But this is my faith home; I have a few criticisms in the book…some theological and some just common sense, but it is as an internal critique–to help shape what I think is a move toward a more faithful reflection of following Jesus in our public life.