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

3.8 11
by Kenda Creasy Dean
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0195314840

ISBN-13: 9780195314847

Pub. Date: 07/15/2010

Publisher: Oxford University Press

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

Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195314847
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
07/15/2010
Pages:
264
Sales rank:
353,395
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.10(d)

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

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Almost Christian 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
LeAnneH More than 1 year ago
In Almost Christian, Dean attempts to answer this question left hanging in Christian Smith and Melinda Denton¿s Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teens (Oxford University Press, 2005): Why do so many church kids abandon religious practice as young adults? Dean blames the church, including parents, for not challenging young people with a content-rich faith that reaches out in service to the world around us. Despite the historic doctrines of our churches, we have failed to model for our children a vital Christology that impacts everyday realities. It is easy to ¿believe¿ while reducing faith to what Dean calls ¿Moralistic Therapeutic Deism¿: there is a God, and he wants us to be nice and to feel good about ourselves. This twenty-first century version of American Civic Religion serves the purpose of helping us to get along in a democracy, but it completely misses the essence of Christianity¿God becoming a human being to suffer with us, die for us, change us and send us into a fallen world to reclaim it for the Kingdom of God. Dean¿s solution does not start with teens. It requires transforming the faith of parents and the church community to model the vitality we want to see in our children. This book is a must-read for youth workers and strongly suggested for parents before their kids get to be teens. It renewed my vision for teaching 4th to 6th grade Sunday school. I want them to see in me a faith worth hanging onto for a lifetime.
Anonymous 22 days ago
This book is a must read for all parents and youth workers. This book gives a diagnosis to the mass exodus that has been happening in the church among 18-35 year old members. Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is what we have taught for many years. Until we know the diagnosis, there is no hope for a cure. Please buy this book and read it. Buy more copies and force those in ministry to read it too!
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