Almost Christian: Make No Small Plans

I’m blogging through Kenda Creasy Dean’s new book, Almost Christian, a theological follow up to Christian Smith’s Soul Searching. I hope you’ll join me. Find all the posts here.

Kenda’s final chapter and conclusion is called, “Make No Small Plans: A Case for Hope,” and in it she attempts to find the good news in the otherwise rather dreary conclusions of the NSYR and the finding that most American teens practice a version of Christianity called, “Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism.”

She recounts the five years of reflecting on the findings as full of sleepless nights.  And she told CNN that her time on the NSYR interview team was “one of the most depressing summers of her life.”  Five years later, she has drawn two conclusions:

  1. When it comes to vapid Christianity, teenagers are not the problem — the church is.
  2. The church is also the solution.

Kenda is tough on the church in this chapter, and throughout the book, arguing that “the contemporary church has strayed, often badly, from the course set before us by the earliest followers of Jesus…”  But, she hasn’t lost hope, and she round out the book with these five encouragements/challenges:

  1. [Read more…]