The Image of Evangelicals in America: What Can We Learn?

To say the least, evangelicals have a bad image in America. Some of it is the tremendous backlash against the evangelical right. This has manifested itself in numerous books on the NY Times Bestseller’s list. Then comes David Kinnaman’s UnChristian which reports findings on how the current generation views Christians (see this review, Scot McKnight’s review). I have been working on a book project entitled These Kinds of People: Evangelical Fundamentalism and the Moral Life. The subtitle I’ve been including in the proposal is – How We Got to Be These Kind of People and Where We must Go From Here. It’s too long of a title (but titles always change anyway before the book is published). From the title, you can see that I am aiming the book squarely at asking what we evangelicals have become in the eyes of American culture and then asking, is there any reason to believe that indeed our belief and practice produces these kind of people (we are accused of being). The book combines a broad analysis of culture with theological methods informed by the theology of character and virtue (as developed by Hauerwas and friends). The book aims to push evangelicals towards reform in becoming a people worthy of the label “disciples of Christ.”I’ve thrown a little piece out about the book over at Church and pomo blog. I outline what I’m trying to with Zizek’s Symptom as one of cultural analysis tools for deciphering what we evangelicals have become as a people in the eyes of American culture. If it interests you, take a look here.