I’m reading a pretty interesting book right now titled “UnChristian” by David Kinnaman and David Lyons. The book is a summary of a large public opinion survey conducted amongst Gen Xers Gen Y and Baby Boomers and their thoughts about Christianity. The survey hits both believers and “Outsiders” alike, and questions people about their opinions of Christians, belief systems, the church , religion and society. Some of the book is really difficult to read, as outsiders to the Faith describe their candid opinions of religious people and what Christianity is to them. Words like “Hypocrite, self-centered, anti-homosexual, and self-righteous” top the list.

I think this book is really hard for me to read because of the deep appreciation I feel inside for the gift I have been given. It hurts to hear the masses of unbelievers miss the point altogether because of actions the church itself has taken to ‘show their faith’.

I have gravitated to similar readings as they reflect my feelings toward organized religion and where it has missed the mark. As evangelical leaders measure their success by the numbers of people at an alter call, the world is judging our success by the love (or lack of) we spread in this world. This does not mean we need to relax our moral standard, but it does mean we need to stop cramming it at all costs down other people’s throats. God works through us to bring purity to our lives. He does not work through us to force purity on other people’s lives.

Are we living the example and acting out in love— or are we living a false reality and preaching hate to those who do not share our point of view? What did Jesus do during his time on earth?

I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who is totally turned off to religion. She went on about the street corner preachers, political activists, and those who shunned ‘unholy’ people. I told her I totally agree with her. I said that the irony of it all is that the word “Christian” means “Christ-like”. I challenged her to read the gospel of John and really examine Jesus’ life and actions. What did he preach? Who did he hang out with? How did he act and relate to the world around him? Judge for herself as to the validity of the gospel. What should it mean to be a Christian?

I really hope that there is a new generation of believers that can share the real message of hope and love to the world. Go ahead and hang out with a sinner. It’s not going to kill you. Hold on to your morals but don’t shove them down your neighbor’s throat in judgment. Be transparent with your faults, and let Christ’s love shine through in action.

With our world losing faith in religion, let’s show them Christ. He hated religion too.