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

Format: Hardcover
Pub. Date: 2010-07-15
Publisher(s): Oxford University Press
List Price: $30.95

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Customer Reviews

Prophetic Genius  March 31, 2011
Rating StarRating StarRating StarRating StarRating Star

Almost Christian is a prophetic call to Christian action for parents, youth ministers, pastors, and congregations to live a vibrant, contagious faith alongside today's youth. Dean speaks truthfully, eloquently, and passionately out of her own love for God and teenagers. This book has the potential to change the lives of those ready to empower today's youth to move beyond nominal Christianity into a life transformed by the good news of Jesus Christ. It is a work of prophetic genius, a sounding alarm, written to cultivate a new way of practicing youth ministry, which is rooted in rigorous, academic research.

Almost Christian What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.


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.

Author Biography

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.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Worshipping at the Church of Benign Whatever-ism
Becoming Christian-ishp. 3
The Triumph of the ôCult of Niceöp. 25
Claiming a Peculiar God-Story
Mormon Envy: Sociological Tools for Consequential Faithp. 45
Generative Faith: Faith That Bears Fruitp. 61
Missional Imaginations: We Are Not Here for Ourselvesp. 85
Cultivating Consequential Faith
Parents Matter Most: The Art of Translationp. 109
Going Viral for Jesus: The Art of Testimonyp. 131
Hanging Loose: The Art of Detachmentp. 157
Make No Small Plans: A Case for Hopep. 185
p. 199
p. 201
p. 207
p. 211
p. 215
Notesp. 217
Indexp. 249
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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