Sunday, April 06, 2008

UnChristian: Hypocrite

I really love this photo I found on flickr that really captures the essence of this week's message from h2o. We continued our series called UnChristian by looking at the number one word used to describe Christians by Americans age 16-29, and that word is hypocrite.

David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons in their book UnChristian state that Christianity has an image problem and suggest that there is something that can be done about it, but that it will require change. As I said last week, they work for the Barna Research Institute, and they did a survey among Christians and non-Christians about their perceptions of the church. 85% of non-Christians age 16-29 said that the word hypocrite came to their mind when they thought of Christians. 47% of Christians in the same age group had a similar association.

So what are we to do about a statistic like that. Are we to just say that it's persecution? Are we to justify ourselves with clever little slogans like "we're not perfect, just forgiven?" (Because to the world outside the church, a quote like that is heard as "we're not perfect, we're just bettter than you.") Maybe we could spend a few million on marketing so that we could show that we are not as bad as people think . . . That could be a catchy line "Christians, we're not as bad as people think." On second thought, maybe not.

Kinnaman and Lyons' answer to the problem is similar to what I've thought for a long time (so it kind of makes me feel like I'm in a league with smart researcher dudes). They said that until we are willing to be transparent with our lives, admit our faults, and work to correct them, we won't have an audience with most people.

People don't expect Christians to be perfect; they really don't expect anyone to be perfect. They want people to be real, to admit their flaws and their brokenness. And that's the last thing anybody really wants to do. We really love wearing masks. But if we are going to be different from the rest of the world, I think we're gonna have to start by taking off our masks and finding some people who will ask us the difficult questions and help us to see our blind spots.

It starts with you and me though. Gandhi, after reading Matthew 7.3-5 paraphrased it to say that "YOU must be the change you want to see in the world."

Here's to starting a day, a week, and maybe a life motivated to being a different image of what a Christian is! Will you find someone to talk to, take the mask off, and be intentional about growing to be more like Him?

1 comment:

young wife&mom said...

is this the SINGLES MINISTRY website??