Thom Rainer explains some the perceptions that non-Chrisitans have about us.
One of my greatest joys in research is talking to and listening to those who clearly identify themselves as non-Christians. Don't get me wrong. I'm not celebrating their absence of faith in Christ. My joy comes from listening to those who don't believe as I do, so that I might be better equipped to witness to them.
Over the past several years, my research teams and I have interviewed thousands of unchurched non-Christians. Among the more interesting insights I gleaned were those where the interviewees shared with me their perspectives of Christians.
In this article, I group the seven most common types of comments in order of frequency. I then follow that representative statement with a direct quote from a non-Christian. Read these comments and see if you learn some of the lessons I learned.
- Christians are against more things than they are for. "It just seems to me that Christians are mad at the world and mad at each other. They are so negative that they seem unhappy. I have no desire to be like them and stay upset all the time."
- I would like to develop a friendship with a Christian. "I'm really interested in what they believe and how they carry out their beliefs. I wish I could find a Christian that would be willing to spend some time with me."
- I would like to learn about the Bible from a Christian. "The Bible really fascinates me, but I don't want to go to a stuffy and legalistic church to learn about it. I would be nice if a Christian invited me to study the Bible in his home or at a place like Starbucks."
- I don't see much difference in the way Christians live compared to others. "I really can't tell what a Christian believes because he doesn't seem much different than other people I know. The only exception would be Mormons. They really seem to take their beliefs seriously."
- I wish I could learn to be a better husband, wife, dad, mom, etc., from a Christian. "My wife is threatening to divorce me, and I think she means it this time. My neighbor is a Christian, and he seems to have it together. I am swallowing my pride and asking him to help me."
- Some Christians try to act like they have no problems. "Harriett works in my department. She is one of those Christians who seem to have a mask on. I would respect her more if she didn't put on such an act. I know better."
- I wish a Christian would take me to his or her church. "I really would like to visit a church, but I'm not particularly comfortable going by myself. What is weird is that I am 32-years old, and I've never had a Christian invite me to church in my entire life."
Poverty should matter to Christians-- a lot. These answers will help you see how each presidential candidate views poverty.
Christian leaders asked, and the presidential nominees answered. The poverty rate in America is still at a staggering 15 percent and 46.2 million Americans remain in poverty -- what is your plan to address the problem?
The Circle of Protection, composed of Christian leaders from across the religious spectrum, released President Barack Obama's and GOP nominee Mitt Romney's video responses today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
"For years Christians have been separated by elections, but finally, we have a common ground moral issue: poverty," said Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners. "... It's because of this unprecedented unity around those whom Jesus called 'the least of these' that the Presidential candidates felt they had to respond."
Jonathan Merritt explains that Romney may not have an evangelical problem after all.
We've been told that evangelicals were so skeptical of Romney's Mormon faith they might not be able to pull the lever for him in the voting booth. But according to Jones' research, as more white evangelical voters have realized that he is Mormon, his favorability among them has actually risen.
The rift seems to be not among evangelical voters but among some old guard evangelical leaders. Who can forget Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress' comments that Romney was a part of a "theological cult" at the 2011 Values Voter Summit? And then there was the January summit of more than 150 high-powered evangelical leaders in Texas to determine which candidate should receive their collective blessing.
They endorsed Rick Santorum on the third ballot, but in the South Carolina primaries a week later, Newt Gingrich and Romney took two-thirds of the state's evangelical votes. In many of the primaries that followed, evangelicals continued to vote for Romney in significant numbers until he became the presumptive nominee. Contrary to the popular media narrative, polls conducted during both the 2008 and 2012 elections showed only a minority of evangelicals said they would not vote for a Mormon.
Nonetheless, the Romney campaign has been concerned about whether the former Massachusetts governor can capture the hearts and minds of American evangelicals. They know he can't win without them because they are a big part of the Republican base. Actually, they're almost all of it.
In order to capture these critical voters, Romney enlisted evangelical public relations guru Mark DeMoss to be a senior adviser to the campaign. He's been called "Romney's evangelical ambassador" and was tasked with communicating the candidate's message to conservative Christians. But DeMoss failed to sway evangelical leaders at that secret Texas meeting. Romney did not advance beyond the first ballot, falling far behind Gingrich, Santorum, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
An update from The Exchange.
From a recent episode of The Exchange, Philip Nation, Trevin Wax, and Michael Kelley examine if churches are overcomplicating small groups. You can see the full episode here.
Be sure to watch The Exchange every Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. CDT, right here at EdStetzer.com.