The National Study of Youth and Religion asserts that, instead of consequential faith, most American teenagers practice "Moralistic Therapeutic Deism" - a superficial, low-commitment, self-serving spirituality that seems to characterize many American churches. Dean believes that churches must recover a "missional mindset"-the conviction that "we are not here for ourselves"-and that consequential faith begins by helping teenagers, parents, and congregations reclaim de-centeringpractices like translation, testimony, and spiritual "detachment" (what the mystics called the ability to focus on God and others instead of ourselves).
Dean (The Godbearing Life), a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, opens this absorbing portrait of teenage religiosity by throwing down a gauntlet: the faith of America's teens is "not durable enough to survive long after they graduate from high school. One more thing: we're responsible." Dean, who worked on the National Study of Youth and Religion with sociologist Christian Smith, says that American Christians' emphasis on "a do-good, feel-good spirituality" at the expense of deep discipleship may cost them the rising generation, which is (with the exception of Mormon teens, the subject of an admiring chapter-long case study) largely apathetic about Christian faith. How, then, can religious leaders and teachers inculcate what Dean calls a "consequential faith"-i.e., one that bears fruit for the long haul? She identifies four factors teens need: a personal encounter with God, a strong church or youth group, a sense of being called to duty, and hope for the future. In a refreshingly personal final chapter, Dean outlines her frustration at the daunting task ahead but emphasizes the possibilities if the Christian church decides to take up its cross and follow Jesus. (Aug.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
Oxford University Press, Incorporated
July 14, 2010
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.