Finding Community in the Christian Church

Do Christians Represent Christ?

Do Christians represent Jesus? David Kinnaman reflects on Christianity in today's culture.

Questions for Discussion and Personal Reflection

  1. Is it surprising to learn that the most common perceptions of Christians are anti-homosexual, judgmental, and hypocritical? Why or why not?
  2. How have people affected your view of Christianity when they say they're Christian but don't seem to follow Jesus's teachings?

Huge percentages of people, you know, 91 percent believe that Christians are anti-homosexual, 87 percent believe that we're hypocritical, 84 percent believe that we're judgmental... I had never written a book before, and I wrote this book— it's called "UnChristian." It's really, like, a book about all the negative perceptions that people have about Christians, and we're trying to help bring some reality, uh, a dose of reality to the Christian community to try to have this inside-outside conversation about the fact that the, the population feels this way about, about Christians, and we're, we're known to be hypocrites. I mean, there's so many things about Christianity in this country and in my church and in my life that is not very likable. It's not very, it's not very Christian. We seem to wrestle with who we are and who we're becoming. We seem to have, have some of the, the most profound moments of goodness and then the, the most depraved moments of, of darkness in our lives. That, that's just true of us. One of the huge challenges that we have as Christians is that there's so many of us that, that say we're Christian, and I, I wonder whether that's that's really the case. Like, are we just, like, socially Christian, culturally Christian, but no longer really following Jesus? And so I think this idea of, like, everyone likes God, and most people like Jesus and fewer people like the church— is the best way to put it— is that there's this like, the, the least favorable part of religion is organized religion in our country today. Maybe our whole idea of being a part of, of church, and being a part of organized religion is, is off-base— that we've made it, you know, something more like a gym to be a member of rather than a movement to be, uh, to be a part of. I also see times in, in the things that we work on with faith communities. You see people bringing some of the best things to their communities. Um, they're, they're serving the homeless or they're they're working with, uh, with at-risk teenagers or they're they're willing to do, uh, and invest in young lives in ways that are really at personal cost to themselves. And among this group of people called evangelicals— even though have a terrible reputation in many ways— they actually give something like ten times more money towards charities and towards churches than anyone else, uh, in our culture. They have a lot that they don't do right, but there's some things that are really amazing about their lives and the way they give and the way that they care for their communities, and the way that they, um, they invest in others, and I think that's an example of, of faith really working.