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Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling by Kenda Creasy Dean

By Kenda Creasy Dean

In accordance with the nationwide learn of juvenile and Religion--the similar helpful info as its predecessor, Soul looking out: The spiritual and religious Lives of yankee Teenagers--Kenda Creasy Dean's compelling new publication, Almost Christian, investigates why American little ones are instantly so confident approximately Christianity and while so apathetic approximately actual spiritual perform.

In Soul Searching, Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton stumbled on that American childrens have embraced a "Moralistic healing Deism"--a hodgepodge of banal, self-serving, feel-good ideals that bears little resemblance to conventional Christianity. yet faraway from faulting kids, Dean areas the blame for this theological watering down squarely at the church buildings themselves. rather than proclaiming a God who calls believers to lives of affection, provider and sacrifice, church buildings supply as an alternative a discount faith, effortless to take advantage of, effortless to overlook, delivering little and critical much less. yet what's to be performed? in an effort to produce ardent younger Christians, Dean argues, church buildings needs to rediscover their feel of undertaking and version an realizing of being Christian as now not whatever you do for your self, yet whatever that calls you to proportion God's love, in be aware and deed, with others. Dean came upon that the main dedicated younger Christians shared 4 very important features: they can inform a private and strong tale approximately God; they belonged to an important religion neighborhood; they exhibited a feeling of vocation; they usually possessed a profound experience of wish. in accordance with those findings, Dean proposes an method of Christian schooling that areas the assumption of challenge at its middle and gives a wealth of concrete feedback for uplifting youngsters to dwell extra authentically engaged Christian lives.

Persuasively and accessibly written, Almost Christian is a get up name nobody curious about the way forward for Christianity in the United States can find the money for to ignore.

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Additional resources for Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church

Sample text

In this case, the church’s accommodating impulse does not stem from God’s call to us to share our lives with the stranger or to share God’s love with others. Instead, it grows out of our need as a church to be liked and approved. On the other hand, if we approach nice as the foolishness of the cross, then Chaucer’s definition may suit us after all. Becoming “fools for the sake of Christ” (1 Cor. 4:10) requires an identity grounded in God’s accommodation to human culture, not ours—namely, God’s choice to become human in Jesus Christ.

Specifically, highly devoted teenagers have an articulated God-story (their stated or unstated “creed”), a deep sense of belonging in their faith communities, a clear sense that their lives have a God-given purpose, and an attitude of hope that the world is moving in a good direction because of God. These tools seem to help young people resist Moralistic Therapeutic Deism and supply scaffolding for “consequential” faith—a faith that matters enough to issue in a distinctive identity and way of life.

For now we need only point out that for most of the youth in the study, religion was not a deeply held belief, at least no more deeply held than beliefs about money, family, sex, or relationships—and teenagers had plenty to say about each of these subjects. Smith and Denton make a pointed observation here. “We do not believe that teenage inarticulacy about religious matters reflects any general teen incapacity to think and speak well,” since many youth interviewed were impressively articulate about other subjects.

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