For several years now, there has been no shortage of data, surveys, polls, and statistics that could leave a bad taste or impression of the American Evangelical Church in one’s mouth. Often, and for good reason, I would wonder about the motives of such findings. Not to imply they lack credibility or some level of concern. Rather, it just seemed that nothing positive was being reported – which would bring me back to motive and purpose. I would ask: What is this data, or survey, or poll trying to say? What is the intent? Is it accurate? Is it reliable?
Remember now, there are only a few outfits that are Christian based. The overwhelming number of “Stat Houses” are purely secular, and more often than not, they wear their impression of the American Evangelical Church on their sleeve. In observing a dozen or so major surveys in the past 5-6 years, I can tell you that some lack absolutely nothing in how they purposefully phrase questions to steer and manipulate results.
But new light has been reported in the August 2011 issue of Christianity Today. An associate professor of sociology at UCONN, a state-supported institution with certainly no affiliation to any Christian church or outfit, cites some findings that may fly in the face of some American evangelicals. Dr. Bradley Wright reports that somewhere along the line, evangelical Christians have “gotten into our heads that our neighbors, peers, and most Americans don’t like us, and that they like us less every year.” He goes on, “I’ve heard this idea stated in sermons and everyday conversations; I’ve read it in books and articles.” With this established, he goes on: “There’s a problem though. It doesn’t appear to be true.”
I encourage you to pick up a copy of this issue, or, visit Christianity Today online @ www.ChristianityToday.com, and be encouraged. I am sure at one point or another, somewhere in the past, we too have probably been too quick to be cynical or a bit negative. I think to some extent, the data has influenced us. For me, this article (titled: “They Like You”) just proves we sometimes fall into traps to easily, and to haphazardly believe everything being reported and said. This being the case even when we don’t know the motives and purposes of those conducting and executing the surveys. I am reminded that God is still on the Throne and is utilizing His Church to accomplish His will, and I am refreshed in knowing that I want in on it!
Blessings to you! Be encouraged!