The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons
Gabe Lyons is one of the co-authors of the bestselling book UnChristian and in the introduction to The Next Christians explains his hope is that The Next Christians can be seen as a follow up piece of work. UnChristian shows how Christians have not been acting very Christian-like. The Next Christians attempts to show ways that Christians are reacting to this negative image, and how this can be a good reaction.
The main focus then, is that of restoration. This is more than just restoring our image, for that should not be our goal. Rather, the focus is on restoring what it means to be a follower of Christ and what it means to be a Christian in this world.
One of the chapters which really stuck me was “Provoked, Not Offended.” On page 81, Gabe writes, “Provoked Christians resist judging non-Christians. Anecdotal research suggests that offended Christians have held those who never claimed to follow Jesus to a standard they haven’t signed up for. They expect non-Christians to conform to the same moral code as a Christ follower. But does that set a realistic expectation?” How many times I have seen Christians hold others to standards they don’t want to be held to? How often have I done that? This truly does not seem like a good way to bring people to Christianity.
The path that Gabe suggests is quite a different trail than what other Christian’s seem to propose. Instead of boycotting those we disagree with we should try to create something which is good. Gabe, while analyzing thoughts by Andy Crouch, writes, “Cultures aren’t changed by being condemned, critiqued, or copied. [Andy] concludes, ‘The only way to change a culture is to create more of it.’” In creating we can create what it should be, instead of what it is.
Over and over again, Gabe pulls up images from the real world of Christians engaging with culture. Sometimes they are successful, as is the case with the now hugely popular movement To Write Love on Her Arms. Other times there are failures.
This is a book I would highly recommend, especially if you are considering a career, or are in a career, where cultural engagement is common. I think it will make me more aware of how I proceed in my future career, especially since I want to be a writer, and I want to be able to write honestly and truthfully to a fallen world.
This is also a book I could see being used in a Bible Study. There is an overall theme to the book, but chapter holds unified ideas that could lead to great discussions.
I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
Juvenile Fiction - Religious - Christian - Fantasy
Fiction - Christian - General