The Seven Faith Tribes might sound like the study of the most famous tribes of Native Americans in our history. The book is actually a research-oriented study of the seven basic faith groups in America today. George Barna, whose name is synonymous with such research, is the author.
Although most of Barna’s books have been focused on the major trends in religion and faith on the American landscape, this work is a bit different. In Seven Faith Tribes, George Barna has sought to identify 20 shared values common to all these “faith tribes” in the nation.
No doubt, the author has done his research well and he makes a case for the so called shared values in a believable way, but for some the common ground will not be very firm. His appeal for restoring America around these commonalities is an attractive call, but for evangelical Christians, we must differentiate between what is civic religion and what is Gospel truth.
With that caveat in mind, a Christian leader can read this book as a reference point for where our country is as a people and how we might work together for the common good. This can help America in manifold ways. There has to be the civic glue of shared values for a people to remain identified with each other in a national sense. The Seven Faith Tribes does a good job of underscoring those values and virtues.
This is not a theological work. It is more of a religious sociological one. For me, it helped to categorize some of the distinctive faith groups, and it enlightened me concerning how they participate in the mosaic of American life. In that sense, this is another informative read by a well-known author and researcher, with whom I have not always agreed.