- “We are not responsible for outsiders’ decisions, but we are accountable when our actions and attitudes–misrepresenting a holy, just and loving God–have pushed outsiders away.” ~Page 14
This book is a research-based analysis of the 16 to 29 year-old generation’s perception of Christianity, and how the church ought to respond. I agree with the quote above, but my suspicion is that this book will do little to point us to the heart of the Gospel of grace as the solution to our perception. Much of our “cultural exegesis” in pop-Christianity seems so narcissistic with respect to the church, devoid of any true interaction with a deep and rich Gospel of Christ. It will be interesting to see how this book compares with David Wells’ Above All Earthly Powr’s, which was one of my favorite books of the last year, and a fantastic study on the actual worldview of whom this book labels “outsiders”, and an appropriate Gospel response to that worldview.
- I often wonder about the usefulness of large scale research in American Evangelicalism, and if it isn’t really a cop-out to actually engaging the real people around you. Although these kinds of books are helpful at diagnosing broad, generational opinions, are they really that effective for shaping ministry? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to shape ministry around a more specific calling to minister to those whom God has placed you among?
- “Perhaps as you read this book, you will discover a more complete picture of Jesus, a transcendent, yet personal God who loves and accepts you perfectly, who wants to shape you and give your life deep meaning and purpose.” ~Page 20
This statement echoes the Purpose-driven, seeker-sensitive sentimentality and strategy of ministry, which would make sense considering the two authors’ roots. My initial impression of this book (which is based on no evidence whatsoever) is that it is simply the research methods of the seeker movement applied to a new generation. I’ll keep reading to see if my presupposition holds true.
Hopefully blogging through this book will help me to process what I am reading, and be useful to anyone who might be considering reading it.