Sunday, June 14, 2009

Christian tribes

Yesterday, you got a preview of George Barna's new book, The Seven Faith Tribes: Who They Are, What They Believe, and Why They Matter.

Although I found it odd at first, I began to resonate with Barna's idea that there are two tribes of Christians. No, he didn't split them into liberal/conservative or north/south or mainline/evangelical.

Based on many surveys done by Barna's research, he divided Christians into what he labeled Casual and Captive.

Casual Christians center on comfort. They are comfortable with themselves (mostly) and believe they are making a positive difference in the world. Their personal goals revolve around keeping peace with everyone, including God.

God provides a safety net to Casual Christians, waiting in the wings to nudge them when necessary and save them when times get tough. God, for these Casuals, wants them comfortable and happy, rewarding them in the end for their good nature.

Religion is less of a belief than another goal to pursue, along with happiness, success and comfort.

Two out of every three Americans are Causal Christians and, of those Americans who call themselves Christian, 80 percent are Casual. That means about 150 million Americans are Casual Christians.

Contrast that with Captive Christians. About 16 percent of the adult population of American falls into this category. These see themselves, as Paul did, as voluntary slaves to Jesus Christ.

These Captives believe they are spiritual beings who are full-time servants of the living God. They are spiritual warriors who feel intimacy with God and believe they are directed by the Holy Spirit, which they believe literally lives within them.

Their highest priorities are faith and family. The Bible is their handbook for life and nine out of 10 believe it be accurate in all the principles it teaches. Faith is the heart of their existence and daily purpose.

Tomorrow, I want to offer some observations on these two Christian tribes.


Carmen7351 said...

It goes along with either hot or cold, or lukewarm. God can handle hot or cold, but He will spit out the lukewarm.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Kathy at Sumballo said...

You're right. What surprised me with Barna's analysis was how many were Casual Christians. It explains a lot of America's dilemma: we think we're Christians but some of us are standing on a bag of water instead of on a rock. It makes a difference.