The headline on the cover of this book reads “Extensive new research…” They weren’t kidding.
This book is PACKED with statistics, studies, facts, and general information stuff concerning behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs of the American people.
And it’s about as interesting as a book full of statistics. Oh wait. It IS a book full of statistics. That would explain why it took me six months to finish it. It’s not exactly what you would call “easy reading”.
That being said, George Barna did do a remarkable job of making some dry reading into something meaningful. He tied the statistics to real-life relevancy quite frequently and inserted enough of his own personality to keep the reader turning the pages (even if it was slowly).
There were a few things I found especially insightful, like this discussion about Heroes and Celebrities:
“Heroes are ordinary people who rise to the occasion, displaying courage, integrity, and humility in performing acts that leave a positive mark on society. Celebrities are people who perform acts of clever marketing to arrest the public’s attention and promote themselves. A society built on its attentiveness to heroes will have heart and hope. A society devoted to celebrities will debase itself through an obsession withi fame, frivolity, superficiality, and gossip.”
My Favorite Quotes and Insights from the Book
- The combination of all the attitudes and values we posses is the substance of our worldview, which enables us to live in a manner that makes us comfortable with ourselves.
- The expansion of our screen addiction reflects the inescapable interconnectedness of modern life — for better or for worse!
- Two out of ten Catholics today self-proclaimed charismatic(surprising!)
- One of the benefits of small groups appears to be the ability to get men involved.
- Many Christians fail to help out because they feel they have nothing special to offer the cause.
- We don’t shape an entire culture in one fell swoop; we influence one life at a time, and through the cumulative impact of that influence, we begin to alter society.
- Don’t mistake activity for significance; don’t misconstrue big numbers to imply success; and don’t expect perfection when progress is the best we can hope for.
- One of the fastest-growing models is the house church, also commonly called organic church or simple church.
Cool Kidmin Toy?
Barna mentioned a cool device called a Pico Projecter. He says, “These pocket-size, rechareable projectors give the user the ability to flash 6 foot high images on any available surface — walls, whiteboards, etc.” I did a quick Amazon search and found these little gadgets run between $100 and $400 dollars — not totally out of the question, and great for those who only occasionally use video clips.
This book can be helpful in getting a grasp of what the population is looking for when it comes to organized religion. The book was well written and full of helpful insights. Just don’t expect to finish it off in one or two sittings!