Literally, "un" means "not" or "opposite of" or "contrary to".
"Un" can make some wonderful words into beastly expressions. For instance, happy becomes unhappy. Grateful becomes ungrateful. Imaginative become unimaginative. Sure becomes unsure. Healthy becomes unhealthy.
And in Christian lingo, churched becomes unchurched. Many people who go to church consider themselves "churched" and label those who aren’t Christians as "unchurched." Church-ed people tend to see themselves in the positive and unchurched people in the negative. Unchurched people, by literal definition and in the minds of many Christians would be opposite of or contrary to church.
In the eyes of society, however, I wonder if the prefix "un" actually makes some words better. For instance, infected becomes uninfected. Stained becomes unstained. Spoiled becomes unspoiled. Corrupt becomes uncorrupt. Discouraged becomes undiscouraged.
And using the Christian lingo, churched becomes unchurched. Many people who do not go to church might tend to see themselves in the positive and churched people in the negative. Are we (church-goers) aware of that? In regards to the way "church" is viewed in our society, "un" could sadly be a positive prefix. I can’t blame unchurched people for having this positive view of "un." After all, too many church-going people over the years have made the word "church" an untrustworthy word.
The paradox here is that the church exists for those who need Jesus. Just as a doctor exists for the unhealthy so the church exists for the sinners- like you and me and everyone else (Mark 2:17) But I fear that our self-righteous concept of "un" makes us quite unable to truly be the church for sinners in this world. What’s wrong here?