Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Young People: Christianity Not Like Jesus

According to Barna Research, Christianity has a huge black eye.

Among non-Christian young people aged 16-29:

91% say Christianity is Anti-Gay
87% say Christianity is judgmental
85% say Christianity is hypocritical

And among Christians aged 16-29:

80% say Christianity is Anti-Gay
52% say Christianity is judgmental
47% say Christianity is hypocritical

And 25% of non-Christians perceive Christianity as unlike Jesus.

In response, Andy Stanley, son of Charles Stanley, dares to speak against a sacred cow among evangelical Christians.

Andy Stanley, senior pastor of North Point Ministries in Atlanta, suggested that churches should not focus solely on converting people, as has been the emphasis for generations.

"If we were able to rewrite the script for the reputation of Christianity, I think we would put the emphasis on developing relationships with non-believers, serving them, loving them, and making them feel accepted," he wrote.

"Only then would we earn the right to share the gospel."

To which some of us who are former campus ministers would say, "Duh!"

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Thou Shalt Kill ... in Church

From the New York Times comes a deadly story: some churches are so desperate to reach young people that they are holding Halo 3 parties.

Halo 3 is a wildly popular, and very bloody, video game in which the goal is to kill as many of your enemies as possible. Some churches seem convinced that they can reach young people for Jesus by sanctioning video game violence. So much for all the previous Christian resistance to violent video games.

The American Psychological Association, in a review of studies on the effects of violent video games, concluded that such games result in aggressive, hostile and violent behavior in young people. However, fundamentalist evangelicals ignored that finding in embracing the Left Behind video game, in which killing is glorified as the will of God in an apocalyptic world. So perhaps it is no surprise that some Christians, now hip on video violence, are turning sanctuaries into virtual killing fields, all for the glory of God.