Seven Faith Tribes - Book Review

Seven Faith Tribes by George Barna is a book written with the hopes of opening the eyes of any who will care to listen about who he believes are the seven faith tribes of America. The tribes are: Casual Christians, Captive Christians, American Jews, Mormons, Pantheists, Muslims, and Spiritual Skeptics.

Casual Christians are those who call themselves Christians to get a "get out of hell free card" (my words not Barna). In this group you will find no difference between the habits of the Casual Christian or the unbeliever. All of their choices are virtually identical (more can be seen on these stats in the book by David Kinnaman UNCHRISTIAN)

Captive Christians are those who take their faith seriously. They are first and foremost always filtering their lives choices from the largest to the smallest through their faith in Christ. The ratios between Casual and Captive Christians remind me of the Praeto or 80/20 principle.

American Jews' roots run deep in their heritage. They are all about where they come from and what they've had to fight through to get where they are today. They value community and bring any other Jew into the fold based on heritage.

Mormons "argue vehemently that they are a Christian" group but the deny many tenants of the Christian faith. The value family and have large families and are married longer than most Americans.

Pantheists are the group with something for everyone the "Baskin Robin's" of the group as Baran describes. Among this group Barna includes: Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian and "a wealth of groups that fall under the generic New Age banner. In general Pantheists seem more focused on better one's self than bettering the whole.

Muslims in America seem to be more of a nomadic group. They are more likely to not own their homes however are very traditional in their values and doctrines and teaching that to their children is a very important part of their home life. Muslims are more likely to have children under the age of 18 in their homes as well.

Spiritual Skeptic are as they seem. They take everything with a grain of salt but, in the end seem to be searching for something bigger than themselves.

In Seven Faith Tribes, Barna brings these groups together and pulls their strengths and weaknesses to come to a stronger place in American spirituality. He does this by pointing out our shared values and spends the rest of the book noting how we can build up the strength of these values in our households, media, etc.

This is my first Barna book and overall it was pretty hard to read. It seems that it's loaded with statistics but, not quiet as practical as I would like. Great vision. Raises some good questions about what we'll have to do to reach an UNCHRISTIAN nation.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the summary, Micah. I think I'd rather read something that doesn't categorize people in such big lumps of labels. I guess it's okay for a statistical perspective on the various groups, but I think it would cause Christians to just stereotype a person.. rather than really getting to know them, their motivations (behind whatever they subscribe to) and to look behind the words. You know?