Sunday, March 15, 2009

Stats—A Little Dated but Still Very Pertinent

The Barna group gave what I find to be interesting statistics last year. image

When asked what they considered “major” problems facing the US those “Alvin Americans” responded:

78%- Poverty

78% –Individual American’s personal debt

76%- HIV/AIDS

Listed as “moderate” concerns were:

60%- Illegal immigration

57% –Global warming

45% TV & movie content

About 1/3 listed homosexuality as a major problem

Evangelical Christians (Calvin Christians??) had an interestingly different list:

“Major” problems:

94%- Abortion

81%- Personal indebtedness

79%- TV & movie content

75%- Homosexual activists

75%- Gay & lesbian lifestyles

Global warming was a distant 33% compared to the 57% of the general population.

(Barna Update 1/21/08)

I have only really two comments about this and I’m not sure which is correct.  Do the differences reflect a biblical prioritization of issues?  If so, I wonder why poverty does not even register at all on the list of high (or even moderate) concerns for Evangelical Christians when it was such a big issue with Jesus. It is easy to say that “our” values are more biblically based and therefore different than “the world.” I am not sure that holds up to close examination, with the absence of poverty and the poor as just the first example.

The second observation (or question) is…what difference does it make that evangelical Christians’ values are so significantly different from those of the “average” American?  Is it wrong for conservative Christians to speak to the concerns of the “average American”?  Is that pandering? Is it false to address those concerns in an effort to share Christ with those outside the Church?

I guess I have more questions than answers.

All I know is that my personal preaching schedule hasn’t reflected much preaching about (material/financial) poverty, HIV/AIDS (at least in recent years) or global warming. I have spoken SOME (OK, a little) about illegal immigration (although not in terms that many of my church members thought well of…).  Is that wrong?

Although I have tried in recent years to preach more exegetically, I don’t know that I have intentionally looked in the passages for principles that addressed these matters in the texts on which I preached.

Just kind of thinking out loud and wished I had done more to even LOOK for principles in the passages that addressed these concerns that Alvin American has.

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