Gary Kinnaman, a pastor from Phoenix, Arizona, is a good friend of mine who recently ministered at our church in Melbourne. His son, David Kinnaman, is the President of the Barna Group, a ministry which provides research and resources that facilitate spiritual transformation in people's lives.
David's latest book, co-authored with Gabe Lyons, is called UnChristian. It's basic message is that Christianity has an image problem. Here is the description of the book from the back cover ...
"Christians are supposed to represent Christ to the world. But according to the latest report card, something has gone terribly wrong. Using descriptions like 'hypocritical', 'insensitive', and 'judgmental', young Americans share an impression of Christians that's nothing short of ... unChristian."
The book goes on to detail the negative perceptions that exist, especially amongst the younger generation, then goes on to give some insights as to how these perceptions can be reversed in a Christlike manner, including practical examples of how Christians can positively contribute to culture.
I wonder what the perceptions of a 'Christian' are in Australia today? Could it be much the same? This is a challenging clarion call to the church. After all, the apostle Paul told the first-century Christians that they were like a letter, known and read by everyone around them. I wonder what people read when they see our life and whether it says what Jesus would want it to say. That's a challenge for all of us.