As part of his Doctor of Ministry (DMin) inÂ Ministry to Emerging GenerationsÂ (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary), Tom’s written a number of book responses and given several short presentations (personal and group). In this series he not only “shares the wealth,” but also looks forward to your feedback as he refines his project: An argument for vocational discernment for graduate studies in the context of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (Stay tuned to learn more!). Earlier posts on the program: Ministry to Emerging Generations and The Big Picture of Ministry to Emerging Generations.
Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers
Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Dentonâ€™s groundbreaking Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2005) offers â€œa better scholarly and public understanding of the religious and spiritual lives of American adolescentsâ€ than was previously available (4). Since Soul Searchingâ€™s publication, I have recommended that parents, church leadership teams and youth/campus ministers prayerfully read, consider, and develop structural adjustments taking into consideration â€œSummary Interpretation: Moralistic Therapeutic Deismâ€ (161-71) and the â€œConcluding Unscientific Postscript: Observations and Implications of NSYR (National Study of Youth and Religion) Findings for Religious Communities and Youth Workersâ€ (259-271). On a visceral level, the data provides a starting pointing for exploring questions such as, â€œWhy do so many go astray when they reach college?â€ The simple response to â€œthe loss of faithâ€ is not a â€œculture warâ€ per se, but that many young adults fail to come face-to-face with â€œthe God who isâ€ â€” particularly through the life and teaching of their community of faith and family. After almost two decades on staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and my forays into developing material to assist youth ministers in preparing students for the transition from high school to college, I agree with Smith and Denton that â€œgrowing up religiousâ€ for most Americans means Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD) â€œpassed onâ€ by their parents. [Read more…] about Book Response: Soul Searching