By Kenda Creasy Dean

In line with the nationwide research of sweet sixteen and Religion--the similar beneficial information as its predecessor, Soul looking out: The non secular and religious Lives of yank Teenagers--Kenda Creasy Dean's compelling new booklet, Almost Christian, investigates why American little ones are right now so confident approximately Christianity and while so apathetic approximately actual spiritual perform.

In Soul Searching, Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton discovered that American young children have embraced a "Moralistic healing Deism"--a hodgepodge of banal, self-serving, feel-good ideals that bears little resemblance to standard Christianity. yet faraway from faulting teenagers, 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 a substitute a cut price faith, effortless to take advantage of, effortless to disregard, supplying little and significant much less. yet what's to be performed? as a way to produce ardent younger Christians, Dean argues, church buildings needs to rediscover their experience of undertaking and version an knowing of being Christian as no longer whatever you do for your self, yet anything that calls you to percentage God's love, in be aware and deed, with others. Dean came upon that the main dedicated younger Christians shared 4 vital qualities: 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 keeping with those findings, Dean proposes an method of Christian schooling that areas the assumption of project at its middle and gives a wealth of concrete feedback for uplifting teenagers to stay extra authentically engaged Christian lives.

Persuasively and accessibly written, Almost Christian is a get up name not anyone focused on the way forward for Christianity in the US can have enough money to ignore.

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Extra info for Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church

Sample text

If this is the god we offer young people, there may be little in Christianity to which they object, but there is even less to which they will be devoted. By contrast, the God portrayed in both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures asks, not just for commitment, but for our very lives. The God of the Bible traffics in life and death, not niceness, and calls for sacrificial love, not benign whatever-ism. If the God of Jesus Christ is a missionary God who crosses every boundary—life and death and space and time—to win us, then following Jesus is bound to be anything but convenient.

Jesus Christ doesn’t tinker; he tears down walls, draws up new plans, makes demands: “Have no other gods before me. Love one another as I have loved you. ” The most likely explanation for Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is simply that we reap what we sow. We have received from teenagers exactly what we have asked them for: assent, not conviction; compliance, not faith. Young people invest in religion precisely what they think it is worth—and if they think the church is worthy of benign whatever-ism and no more, then the indictment falls not on them, but on us.

That is important, for some young people brandish these tools in dangerous but nonetheless identity-forming ways. Tantalized by Hitler’s charisma and promise of a united Germany, German youth in the 1930s found solidarity with their peers as well as an illusory sense of purpose by joining the Hitler Youth. Today the Palestinian group Hamas galvanizes young people around fundamentalist Islamic teachings, reinforced in Hamas settlements, that call young people to jihad and martyrdom, complete with the hope of heavenly reward.

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