This photo says a lot to me about this New Year of 2018.
It says “OPPORTUNITY!” To unlock hidden treasures. To break free from whatever is holding me (and others) back. As a person. As a Christian. As someone I haven’t met yet, who may not know the Lord who loves them…
What does it say to you?
Maybe it’s an image of the rise of religious persecution in America. A seemingly closed and locked door that, in reality, can become an opportunity to reach people for Christ like never before.
Persecution is “hostility or ill treatment because of religious beliefs.” What people think about a particular religion is key to how acceptable or persecution-worthy they deem it to be.
Barna Research Group, famous for researching what people think, published a year-end review listing their ten most-read articles of 2017. I discovered something very interesting.
The #1 most-read article published by Barna in 2017 was entitled: “The Ten Most Post-Christian Cities in America.” https://www.barna.com/research/post-christian-cities-america-2017/
For decades, Barna has measured indicators reflecting the waning influence of Christianity in the U.S. Rates of church attendance, religious affiliation, belief in God, prayer and Bible-reading… all of which have been dropping. The net effect, Barna asserts, is that the Christian church no longer functions with the cultural authority it once held.
To measure the changing religious landscape, Barna developed a “post-Christian” metric and then interviewed nationwide random samples of more than 76,000 adults.
Check out the findings!
The article lists the top 100 post-Christian cities. Eight of the top ten are in New England and the Northeast. Numbers 8 and 9 are two big West Coast hubs — San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA and Seattle-Tacoma, WA.
Is your city in the top 100? https://www.barna.com/research/post-christian-cities-america-2017/
What does this mean? In the case of Seattle-Tacoma — the place I just visited over Christmas — 50% of the population is “post-Christian” (according to Barna’s metric). !!!
To qualify as “post-Christian,” individuals had to meet nine or more of 16 factors that sought to get more to the core of what people believe and how they behave as a result of their belief.
See the link for the entire list of factors, but it includes such things as… do not believe in God… identify as atheist or agnostic… disagree that faith is important in their lives… disagree that the Bible is accurate… agree that Jesus committed sins… do not feel a responsibility to “share their faith.” Other factors have to do with how recently people prayed to God, read the Bible, attended or donated to a church, etc.
The world is changing… the call on our lives is not. We are to “go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19-20)… to “be very careful how we live — not as unwise but as wise — making the most of every opportunity…” (Ephesians 5:15-16)
What do you think…
… about Barna’s post-Christian metric?
… about the findings?
Please post your comments below.
And resolve to, with God’s help, unlock some hidden treasures and break people free in 2018! 🙂
Diana Furr, a.k.a. Abba’s Girl
This blog may have raised questions for you. If you’d like to connect, engage, or get further help from me, you can… EMAIL me at firstname.lastname@example.org; CALL me at 863-446-1660; or request a complimentary initial CONSULT with me at http://tinyurl.com/DianaFurr.