The Problem is It's Working - by David Kinnaman
The Problem is "it's Working!" - by David Kinnaman
Since joining Barna in 1995, David has designed and analyzed nearly 500 projects for a variety of clients, including Columbia House, Compassion, Easter Seals, Habitat for Humanity, Integrity Media, InterVarsity, NBC-Universal, the Salvation Army, Sony, Thomas Nelson, Time-Life, Prison Fellowship, World Vision, Zondervan and many others.
As a spokesperson for the firm’s research, he is frequently quoted in major media outlets (such as USA Today, Fox News, Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Dallas Morning News, and The Wall Street Journal). He is also in demand as a speaker about trends, teenagers, vocation and calling, young leaders, and generational changes.
Here's what we asked David:
You (David Kinnaman) have written: “To rebuild our lives and restore our nation, we have to recover love and concern for others.” P. 219. One arena where “outsiders” develop opinions and images of Christianity and Christians is by observing the nature and character of our conduct on-line.
Question – with the anonymity/”cover,” social distance provided by the internet (the impact of caffeine and other energy drinks, succumbing to the need to be cool by cruel, and rationalizing the irrational behind the veil of smug self-righteousness), what sort of viral movement, accompanied by a “symbol” of some sort that people can display prominently on their blogs, social networking sites, websites etc. can be initiated to create a broad coalition of users who come together to make it known that they are proponents of a better way --- those dedicated to dignity, in the diversity of viewpoints shared via digital discourse. --- “5D”
Here's David's response:
The Internet has morphed to take on many roles in contemporary society. Library. Post office. Radio station. Video rental center. University. Town hall. Cathedral. Maybe the best -- and worst -- functions of the Internet is as Bully Pulpit. Each of us get to preach to the world; get on our soapbox; air out our perspectives; clarify our thinking; and denounce the evils of the world.
The problem is, it's working. Our research at Barna Group shows that people are reading and coming to conclusions about the faith of Christians and the truth of Christianity -- often based on what we say and how we say it. Much of these conclusions are based as much as anything on the tone and tenor of Christian discourse, on the fact that we are willing to use the same tools and techniques as everyone else in trying to get our point across.
Wouldn't our cause be much better off if we, as Christians, really took our digital and analog communications as seriously as Paul did when he wrote: "While knowledge may make us feel important, it is love that really builds up the church" (1 Corinthians 8:1)? Maybe we could facilitate new expressions of the Internet: coffee houses, confessional booths, and living rooms.