Monday, April 04, 2011

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

Kenda Creasy Dean opens this book with these bracing words:

"Let me save you some trouble. Here is the gist of what you are about to read: American young people are, theoretically, fine with religious faith--but it does not concern them very much, and it is not durable enough to survive long after they graduate from high school.

One more thing: we're responsible." (3)

This is the book I plan to recommend that our whole congregation read this summer. I think it is the most important book to be published about faith and the church in a very long time, and I'm praying now that we will all read it carefully and take it to heart.

Dean offers some words of hope that her book details more carefully as you read it. She writes:

"The predicament described in this book--namely, that American young people are unwittingly being formed into an imposter faith that poses as Christianity, but that in fact lacks the holy desire and missional clarity necessary for Christian discipleship--will not be solved by youth ministry or by persuading teenagers to commit more wholeheartedly to lackluster faith. Most teenagers seem quite content with maintaining what the sociologist Tim Clydesdale alls a 'semireligious' position after they graduate from high school, and most churches seem happy to leave it at that. At issue is our ability, and our willingness, to remember our identity as the Body of Christ, and to heed Christ's call to love him and love others as his representatives in the world" (6).

Will you read it with me this summer?


  1. I have this book. been waiting to carve our a little time to read it.

  2. The planning teams and leadership of the 2012 ELCA Youth Gathering are making this book an important part of preparing the Gathering and also an important gift to the congregations of the ELCA as the coaches and coordinators from each synod provide free youth ministry training in their synods.

  3. Diane and Andy, thanks for your responses. Andy, has your group already had conversation around the book already? Any interesting gleanings to share?