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America at the Crossroads: Explosive Trends Shaping America's Future and What You Can Do about It Hardcover – September 13, 2016
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From the Inside Flap
American culture is changing faster than ever. George Barna tells you how, why, and what you can do to shape your future.
We live in a tumultuous time. Upheavals and reversals in culture, popular opinion, morality, race relations, socioeconomic status, and so much more have entire generations feeling off balance or out of touch. How do we keep pace with the breathtaking rate of change in our society when we can hardly find time to keep up with our racing newsfeeds? And in the face of such enormous cultural forces, is there anything we can do?
With America at the Crossroads, bestselling author and cultural analyst George Barna turns his researcher's eye to the most significant trends, compiling and distilling salient information for busy readers who want to shape culture rather than allow it to shape them.
If you've felt overwhelmed by our swiftly changing times, Barna's extensive research and "bottom-line" approach will help give you the solid ground you're looking for--and show you where we're heading next.|George Barna is the award-winning author of more than fifty books, including bestsellers such as Revolution, The Power of Vision, The Frog in the Kettle, and Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions. He is also founder of Barna Group, a leading research firm that specializes in faith-related surveys. He currently leads the American Culture & Faith Institute, which studies and influences faith and politics, as well as Metaformation, an organization designed to help people maximize their potential. George has led several churches and lives with his family on the central California coast.
From the Back Cover
"America is at a crossroads, and this book will help us navigate the future with greater confidence, wisdom, and authority."--Mark Batterson, New York Times bestselling author and lead pastor, National Community Church
"The only way to make the best decisions for your future is to understand the trends of the present. America at the Crossroads is clear, practical, and ultimately hopeful. You owe it to yourself, your family, and your future to read this book."--Dr. John Townsend, New York Times bestselling author, leadership consultant, and psychologist
"America at the Crossroads offers a panoramic view of the progressive collapse of American society while Christians stand by and watch with seeming indifference. This book provides a necessary prescription focusing on defining a clear vision, restoring a biblical worldview, and embracing personal brokenness before God. How could America go wrong with such a strategy for the future?"--David Barton, historian, bestselling author, and founder of WallBuilders
"It's no news flash that American culture and values have undergone massive and unprecedented changes. In America at the Crossroads, George Barna dissects these major transformational changes and explores where we're likely headed next. Frankly, it doesn't matter whether we agree with all of his interpretations or prescriptions for turning the ship around. What matters most is that we get our heads out of the sand and honestly grapple with the hard facts and data he presents, because how we respond will shape the future of the church and American society as we know it."--Larry Osborne, author and pastor, North Coast Church
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As he writes in the introduction, “America has become a culture that seems more interested in being “in the moment” than one that focuses on understanding the connections between past, present, and future, and how people’s choices can and should influence the future.” As the founder of the Barna Group, a leading research group that specializes in faith-related surveys, Barna offers recent data and organizes it throughout the book to lay out the current landscape of America. Barna does not hesitate to be candid and transparent in revealing that his is a Christian standpoint, but he is quick to offer his own apologetic for objectivity by saying, “I am not arguing for a theocracy or for Christianity to be instituted as the state-sanctioned religion of the land. I am, however, suggesting that when people embrace God’s principles and hold themselves accountable to them, everyone is better off.”
Barna shares his data on topics such as faith and spirituality, government and politics, and lifestyle and perspectives. He digs deep into the spiritual state of America as he reveals what people think about God, the Bible, church, and other matters of spirituality. He reveals that whereas Christians once stood in contrast to their worldly counterparts regarding behavior and morality, the dividing line is less pronounced and much more difficult to distinguish. Churches have begun to look at factors to quantify growth that only give superficial pictures of the reality that lies beneath the surface.
Barna shares data about the distrust that people have in financial institutions, churches, the government, and even the police. He also shares about the move towards political correctness in our society, a move that has vastly diverged from the initial values on which the country was founded. He says, ““In contemporary America, truth is whatever we say it is. We have adopted the mind-set that everyone must determine their own truth, and nobody can legitimately question the veracity of that perspective for that individual. The notion of embracing absolutes is anathema to most Americans.” Gone are the days of absolutes as we enter into a relativistic society where anything goes and beliefs become so personal that the only time you can attack them is when they conflict with the majority.
As he continues in “America at the Crossroads,” Barna describes an America that is shifting far away from absolutes and Christian values, an America that is not necessarily taking steps towards betterment like they may be thinking, but is instead heading down a path that will not lead to positive growth but towards demise. With this move away from absolutes and an absolute truth and a move towards political correctness and an “anything goes” ideology, we are heading into dangerous territory. He writes, “When Americans are no longer free – or no longer feel free – to hold or express opinions that conflict with the perspectives promoted by certain vocal or activist sectors of society, we are headed down a dangerous path.”
While the data that Barna shares is sobering, especially for those who espouse a similar Christian worldview and ideology, he isn’t simply a doomsday prophet speaking doom and gloom upon the world. Why offer problem without solutions? Barna asks the reader to, “imagine what would happen to the United States if all the people who are truly devoted to knowing, loving, and serving God…were to consistently live like Jesus.” He may be revealing the flaws of the country overall, but his call to action is to those who espouse Christianity, those whom he thinks can make a significant difference should they begin to live in such a way as to distinguish themselves and live and act as Jesus did.
“America at the Crossroads” is an honest and sobering book, describing an America that lies beneath the headlines, one that is not destined for the greatness that many think. It could be easy for Barna to get caught up in his data, but he shares it succinctly, connecting it in context to reveal its relevance for the matters at hand. His chapters are well-organized, sharing the data, summarizing the results, and then offering his own interpretation of the findings. While he is not without bias, it does not seem that he is doctoring the data to only reveal what he wants it to reveal.
Regardless of your worldview or ideology, “America at the Crossroads” is a good read, worthwhile and challenging. While you may not agree with Barna’s worldview, there is no denying that all is not well in America and a change is necessary. What kind of change is the point of divergence, but Barna offers a logical, practical, and viable approach for those who call themselves Christians.
(This review is based upon a copy of this book which was provided free of charge from Baker Books. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.)
Layman, pastor or scholar, you would observe trends in your church, city, country and perhaps even worldwide. This book would provide plenty of food for thought; the demographics and findings could possibly be useful reference points for other first world christian communities. I think the book would nevertheless be useful for deliberation of one's community and therefore ministry.
Published just before the 2016 US Presidential Elections, Barna provides his analysis of his countrymen and their worldviews. It thus provides a snapshot of history prior to the watershed election result.
I received this book from the Baker Publishing Group's Blogger Team Program for the purposes of providing an unbiased review. All views are my own.
1. Faith and spirituality - our religious beliefs, behavior, what we believe about the Bible, insights about the unchurched, etc.
2. Government and politics - where America seems to be headed (liberal, conservative, moderate, etc.), our national priorities, ideology, and how involved we are in the political process (voting, activism).
3. Lifestyles and perspectives - America's attitude towards various social issues (abortion, homosexuality, co-habitation, political correctness, satisfaction with life, definitions of success, etc.).
4. What we can do as our nation stands at the crossroads that many nations have in the past and will in the future. Barna has 4 suggestions for addressing this problem - large part of the solution suggests we who are true believers in Jesus Christ must be broken of our natural selfishness and turn to Him (sounds just like 2 Chronicles 7:14!).
As with other Barna titles, "America At The Crossroads" contains helpful insights, interesting data and conclusions, and has a decidedly biblical viewpoint. Read and heed. I was given a review copy by Baker Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Listing, summarizing, researching, and analyzing current trends in America and the influence on culture is shared in the new book, America At The Crossroads.Read more