"A lot of youth workers have been a bit depressed since the National Study of Youth and Religion revealed what we'd long suspected about American teen religiosity: it's pretty darn benign. But in Almost Christian, Kenda Creasy Dean helps us turn the corner from the moralistic, therapeutic deism that afflicts our churches to a hope-filled, consequential faith that has the potential to change the lives of young people and, with a little help from the Holy Spirit, just might transform our world."
Tony Jones, author of The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier
"Almost Christian hangs an illuminating theological magnifying glass over the startling conclusions of the National Study of Youth and Religion. Peppered with compelling, sometimes unsettling, dialogue from NSYR interviews, the book pulls no punches but, at the same time, inspires hope that the American church canin fact, mustmove beyond the flimsy, vague, self-absorbed spirituality that has unintentionally been woven into the faith fabric of postmodern American Christianity."
Mark DeVries, Founder, Youth Ministry Architects, First Presbyterian Church, Nashville, Tennessee
"Kenda Creasy Dean argues passionately that the faith of the average American Christian teen is only a pale, watered-down version of the robust faith it could be. Drawing on extensive research and impressive analysis, Dean offers a smart how-to guide for Christian youth ministers and parents who hope to transform that watered-down faith into something much more."
Donna Freitas, author of Sex and the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance, and Religion on America's College Campuses
Written as a follow-up to the 2003-05 National Study of Youth and Religion (NYSR), a research project directed by sociologist Christian Smith, and to Smith and Melina Lundquist Denton's report on it, Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers, this compelling work looks not only at the faith of Christian adolescents but at the challenges to the church in raising its youth. Dean (youth, church, & culture, Princeton Theological Seminary; The Godbearing Life), a United Methodist minister, further explores Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD), the term used by Smith to define the general religious and moralistic approach of today's teen. In three parts, Dean deals with apathy in the church, how teens must claim their own faith story, and how parents, along with the community of believers, impact the faith of teens. VERDICT This highly readable book contributes an important voice to today's discussion of youth, the church, and faith. Essential for seminaries and libraries with ministry collections, it is also valuable for Christian parents, who will benefit from Dean's intriguing insight into forming dynamic and long-lasting faith among their teen children.—Holly Hebert, Rochester Coll. Lib., Rochester Hills, MI