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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.

Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church - DTS Voice

Review quote In this erudite, passionate, beautifully written, and often moving book, Kenda Creasy Dean presents a compelling depiction of the practice of Christianity and of religion in general among contemporary American youth. Dean's important and stimulating book brings light into the dark areas linking religious beliefs and the study of youth development. For such illumination, readers are in her debt. Rating details.

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Book ratings by Goodreads. Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. The cult of niceness is basically a low-risk version of hospitality. But Christianity is much, much more than this.

Ironically, teenagers get this. They are in the middle of the age-old human quest of finding something worth staking their lives on, not just a Sunday night. Can you give us a summary of these and why they are so important?


Translation—taking one form of a message and making it into another form that newcomers to the conversation can understand—is a time-honored missionary practice. Testimony requires a language for faith, which was shockingly absent in the teenagers interviewed in the NSYR. So the art of testimony is the art of putting our faith stories into words, so we can talk about faith the way we talk about everything else that is important in our lives.

Detachment is a word that is now used by modern psychology, so the art of detachment for Christians sounds confusing at first.

Almost Christian : what the faith of our teenagers is telling the American church

De-centering practices are a little disorienting; they loosen our grip on what is familiar and open us to new possibilities. So while we usually think of de-centering as involving things like a mission trip to another culture, the primary de-centering practice of the church is prayer, where we take our attention off ourselves and radically focus on God. Where young people meaningfully encounter the transforming love of Jesus Christ is through their families, their congregations, and the deep investment of faithful adults who take an interest in them.

But apart from the nurturing presence of Christian adults, by themselves these traditional youth ministry venues are not very reliable vehicles for faith formation. What this means for youth ministers is that we need to think of our work more as ministry than as youth ministry, and our shepherding needs to include helping parents and adults come to faith, grow in faith, and serve in faith as well as teenagers themselves. Youth are not, after all, a separate species. Our job is not to minister to teenagers, making them objects of our ministry, but to enlist young people as full participants in the mission of God.

I left the NSYR both depressed and hopeful, yes. For a long time, my primary reaction was to be deeply disappointed in the church I have given my life to. It seemed clear that we had sold out to a caricature of the gospel, and we had given up on God as having a transformative presence in the world.

Book Response: Almost Christian, by Kenda Creasy Dean

Our words say that God loves teenagers so much that death on a cross was not too far for God to go in order to win them. What gives me hope is that teenagers are more willing to risk this kind of love than we are to ask it of them. Sunday, June 30, Sign in. Forgot your password? Get help.

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