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

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

Hardback

By (author) Kenda Creasy Dean

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 264 pages
  • Dimensions: 168mm x 244mm x 23mm | 526g
  • Publication date: 5 August 2010
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0195314840
  • ISBN 13: 9780195314847
  • Sales rank: 83,170

Product description

Based on the National Study of Youth and Religion-the same invaluable data as its predecessor, Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers-Kenda Creasy Dean's compelling new book, Almost Christian, investigates why American teenagers are at once so positive about Christianity and at the same time so apathetic about genuine religious practice. In Soul Searching, Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton found that American teenagers have embraced a "Moralistic Therapeutic Deism"-a hodgepodge of banal, self-serving, feel-good beliefs that bears little resemblance to traditional Christianity. But far from faulting teens, Dean places the blame for this theological watering down squarely on the churches themselves. Instead of proclaiming a God who calls believers to lives of love, service and sacrifice, churches offer instead a bargain religion, easy to use, easy to forget, offering little and demanding less. But what is to be done? In order to produce ardent young Christians, Dean argues, churches must rediscover their sense of mission and model an understanding of being Christian as not something you do for yourself, but something that calls you to share God's love, in word and deed, with others. Dean found that the most committed young Christians shared four important traits: they could tell a personal and powerful story about God; they belonged to a significant faith community; they exhibited a sense of vocation; and they possessed a profound sense of hope. Based on these findings, Dean proposes an approach to Christian education that places the idea of mission at its core and offers a wealth of concrete suggestions for inspiring teens to live more authentically engaged Christian lives. Persuasively and accessibly written, Almost Christian is a wake up call no one concerned about the future of Christianity in America can afford to ignore.

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Author information

Kenda Creasy Dean is Associate Professor, Youth, Church, and Culture, at Princeton Theological Seminary. She worked on the National Study of Youth and Religion and is the author of several books, including The Godbearing Life: The Art of Soul Tending in Youth Ministry and Practicing Passion: Youth and the Quest for a Passionate Church.

Review quote

...offers pragmatic and insightful responses. Joanne Griffiths, Theology In this erudite, passionate, beautifully written, and often moving book, Kenda Creasy Dean presents a compelling depiction of the practice of Christianity (and of religion in general) among contemporary American youth. ... Dean's important and stimulating book brings light into the dark areas linking religious beliefs and the study of youth development. For such illumination, readers are in her debt. Richard M. Lerner, Scottish journal of Theology

Table of contents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ; SECTION ONE: WORSHIPPING AT THE CHURCH OF BENIGN WHATEVER-ISM ; 1. Becoming Christian-ish ; 2. The Triumph of the "Cult of Nice" ; SECTION TWO: CLAIMING A PECULIAR GOD-STORY ; 3. Mormon Envy: Sociological Tools for Consequential Faith ; 4. Generative Faith: Faith That Bears Fruit ; 5. Recovering a Missional Imagination: We Are Not Here for Ourselves ; SECTION THREE: CULTIVATING CONSEQUENTIAL FAITH ; 6. Parents Matter Most: The Art of Translation ; 7. . Going Viral for Jesus: The Art of Testimony ; 8. Hanging Loose: The Art of Detachment ; 9. Make No Small Plans: A Case for Hope