Friday Fives: The Five Biggest Changes in American Attitudes Since 9/11.

The Barna Research group has become well known as a reliable data source on American life, faith, and culture. One of their studies compared American attitudes pre 9/11 to today. It’s helpful research for church leaders who want to understand their culture.

Barna introduced their findings this way:

Long before iPhones, the nation’s first black president, or even before Wikipedia had a domain name, American life was just turning the corner into another century. This was before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, health care reform, the housing bubble and its subsequent crash, and, the onset of the Recession. Yet over a decade later, all of these national events and more have changed—and continue to change—the cultural landscape of American life.

On this week’s Friday Fives, the five biggest changes according to the Barna report.

#5 Americans are lonelier.

Before: 12%
Now: 20%
Difference: Increase by 8%

Comment: With all of the technology we’ve developed to connect, we are feeling more isolated than ever. In a crowded world, Americans are feeling more apart from others.
Core Scripture For A Potential Message:  Deuteronomy 31:6 
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

#4 Americans aren’t as happy.

Before: 92%
Now: 82%
Difference: Reduction by 10%

Comment: We’re trying to be happy – oh how we’re trying. We spend more time than ever being entertained. We are following endless promises of happiness and fulfillment. It doesn’t appear to be working.
Core Scripture For A Potential Message: Psalm 1:1-6 Blessed is the person who does not follow the advice of wicked people, take the path of sinners,
or join the company of mockers. Rather, he delights in the teachings of the Lord
and reflects on his teachings day and night. He is like a tree planted beside streams – a tree that produces fruit in season and whose leaves do not wither. He succeeds in everything he does. Wicked people are not like that.
 Instead, they are like husks that the wind blows away. That is why wicked people will not be able to stand in the judgment
 and sinners will not be able to stand where righteous people gather. The Lord knows the way of righteous people,
but the way of wicked people will end.

#3 Americans are less committed to getting ahead in life.

Before: 69%
Now: 57%
Difference: Reduction by 12%

Comment: Perhaps the historic economic downturn is convincing more and more Americans to doubt the idea that financial wealth is the answer they’re looking for.
Core Scripture For A Potential Message: Matthew 6:19-21 “Stop storing up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. Instead, store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust don’t destroy and thieves don’t break in and steal. Your heart will be where your treasure is.” 

#2 Americans are less likely to consider themselves too busy.

Before: 46%
Now: 34%
Difference: Reduction by 12%

Comment: By now you must be noticing the same trend I noticed. While they may or may not be turning to Christ, Americans certainly appear to be posturing themselves in that direction. I wonder if the folks we think would never come to church with us may not be as cold to the idea as we guess.
Core Scripture For A Potential Message: Matthew 11:28-30  “Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Place my yoke over your shoulders, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble. Then you will find rest for yourselves because my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

#1 Americans are more concerned about the future.

Before: 64%
Now: 77%
Difference: Increase by 13%

Comment: The December 2012 end-of-the-world-Mayan-prophecy never did gain much traction did it? Although there were several lousy movies made about the scare. Even so, the research indicates that Americans are thinking about – and more and more worried about – their futures.
Core Scripture For A Potential Message: Jeremiah 29:11-12 I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope. Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me, and I will hear you.


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