I was excited to read the latest book from George Barna – The Seven Faith Tribes: Who They Are, What They Believe, and Why They Matter. I deeply appreciate the work of The Barna Group. The research that they produce about life and faith is insightful and often quite applicable to the local church. However, I found myself to be disappointed by the trajectory of this book. The thesis is that the United States as a culture is in decline and that significant change is needed to avert the course toward self-destruction. Barna’s approach to this end is to examine different faith tribes within America, identify common values and seek how these common values can help shape the country in positive ways.
Barna identifies the seven faith tribes as:
- Casual Christians
- Captive Christians
- Spiritual Skeptics
I found the research that on each of these tribes to be fascinating and helpful in understanding the landscape of faith distinctions with which we live in the United States. However, I found myself less excited by using commonalities among the tribes to renew the nation. I agree with Barna that understanding shared values among faith tribes is important, but am less excited about using these shared values for the explicit purpose of renewing the nation. I believe that renewal within each of the faith tribes will lead to renewal of the nation.
I recommend this book to those who are interested in the faith landscape in the United States and especially to those that are passionate about the United States regaining a more prominent place on the world stage.
You can download the first chapter and a discussion guide here.
Read an article by Barna outlining the book here.