Two new must-read books about Christians â€“ evangelicals in particular â€“ are on the market and offer food for thought about how we should be â€œliving Christianlyâ€ to be salt and light and to influence culture.
Full disclosure notice: Because I have interacted in the fishbowl that is American evangelicalism for decades, I am acquainted with both Gabe and Michael. Hmmm . . . maybe we should start an evangelical parallel universe version of "6 degrees of Kevin Bacon" and call it "6 degrees of Chuck Colson!"
unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity . . . and Why it Matters, by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, is based on a three-year Barna Group study of 16- to 29-year-olds and their views on Christians. It ainâ€™t pretty. And it isnâ€™t based on media portrayals, but on their own relationships and interactions with real-life Christians. In fact, the study found that Christian young people had almost the same views about themselves as the â€œoutsidersâ€ (non-Christians) had. But â€“ the good news is that the book offers ideas for how we can change both the perception and the reality of how we relate to others and can be more conformed to Christâ€™s image.
Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite, by D. Michael Lindsay, is based on interviews conducted with over 360 evangelical leaders and explores the influence evangelicals have (or havenâ€™t yet) achieved in the arts, media, business world, and academia â€“ for better or worse â€“ and why people of faith should engage in these cultural arenas. Again â€“ there are some difficult-to-face truths, and examples of what some of our brethren have said and done that arenâ€™t pretty (after all â€“ we may be saved but we are still sinners), but overall itâ€™s a positive view of how evangelicals have made great strides in influencing culture in the past few decades, and ideas for how we can bring our faith to bear in ways that transform society.