Fasten Your Seatbelts, We’re In For A Bumpy Ride Today

In my spare time (which would be considerably longer if the Rangers would stop going 14 innings to win games) I’ve been reading Kenda Creasy Dean’s book Almost Christian: What the Faith of our Teenagers is Telling the American Church. Basically, they’ve done studies and come up with the idea that American Christian teenagers are nice kids with a positive view of religion. And then points the finger at the American church by saying we’re producing what we’re teaching.

So, while I’m only about a quarter way through the book, I thought I’d give you a bit of provocation from Professor Dean (who, by the way, if you’re reading, consider this my formal invitation for a lifetime supply of whatever drink you want from Starbucks for the rest of your life if you’ll chat youth ministry with me):

It’ll help you to know that the words Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is how she describes the teachings of the American Church these days. She also calls it “theological malpractice.” (isn’t that a great phrase?)

“Moralistic Therapeutic Deism has little to do with God or a sense of a divine mission in the world. It offers comfort, bolsters self-esteem, helps solve problems, and lubricates interpersonal relationships by encouraging people to do good, feel good, and keep God at arm’s length. It is a self-emolliating spirituality; its thrust is personal happiness and helping treat each other nicely…they practice it because this is what we have taught them in the church.”

“If we fail to bear God’s life-altering, world-changing, fear-shattering good news (which, after all, is the reason the church exists in the first place)–if desire for God and devotion to our fellow human beings is replaced by a loveless shell of religiosity–then young people unabe to find consequential Christianity in the church absolutely should defalut to something safer. In fact, that is exactly what they are doing.”

And the big one…

“The fruit of a consequential Christian faith is holiness, not niceness, which is not a course for the faint of heart. If the Bible is any indication, holy people make us uncomfortable. they take sacrificial risks on behalf of others; they are disarmingly wise and often, disconcertingly weird. They expose us with their honesty. Teenagers on this trajectory find 95 things wrong with the church, nail the list to the door, and call the press. Yet their faith is the passion of God, who empowers them for mission and calls them out of their comfort zones so they can call us out of ours.”


…I’m really glad I’m a pastor who deals exclusively with students, man.

Pour your coffee.

Think about the quotes.

Chip in to the discussion.

Oh, man.