Why do we Christians love bad news about…ourselves? A couple of years ago a book came out called, “unchristian.” It was supposed to be research from the guru of statistics for Christendom, the Barna Group. Many of us have read everything George has published over the years hoping to get a pulse on the state of the church, as well as those we try to reach with the gospel. I noticed a change in personality a year or so ago, and I didn’t like what I read. Barna and his ilk seemed to be turning bitter, and dare I say it, very judgmental toward the organized church. If you believed the BS (Barna Stats), we sucked. The church as we know it had not only failed to be a good representation of Christ, but people were running from this burning building about as fast as Lady Gaga was from good taste. What were we to do?
The answer was, of course…what the authors wrote we should in their highly critical discourse on all-things church-failure. We are some gullible people. Maybe, we’re innocent, I don’t know. Why do we have such a depressive, fatalistic approach to who we are? Sure, I’ve had conversations with a few people who think the church is dead and gone, and anyone of any spiritual integrity will be doing house church in the future. But that is only a few…and most of them have read the books that declare the church DOA! Come on, friends! People are not leaving the church in droves.
Here’s a challenge: Do not read a critical book without also reading an encouraging book. Sure, go ahead and read “unchristian.” There’s some good stuff in there, and it’s full of BS…Barna Statistics. But also read Dr. Bradley Wright’s book, “Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites…and Other Lies You’ve Been Told,” as well.
Jesus loves his church. Yes, even the organized church; the one that has done missions and work among the poor for over 2,000 years now. Does it have its warts? Indeed. But it continues to try and be a good representative of Christ’s grace and mercy to a world that is suffering. Don’t sell yourself short, or the church you belong to – God isn’t through with you, or it yet.