More on Almost Christian

Kara Powell | Nov 22, 2010

I have great respect and affection or Kenda Creasy Dean from Princeton Theological Seminary. She and I cross paths every year or so, and when we do, it is a treat to grab a meal or coffee together. When I was speaking at Princeton three weeks ago, we had dinner together.

I have tracked with Kenda as she has been working on Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church, a book that has received quite a bit of publicity during the past few months. The subtitle of the book reveals one of the major themes of the book: what the faith of our teenagers is telling the American church. In particular, Kenda unpacks some of the major findings of Christian Smiths National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR).

One of the major findings from NSYR that I quote often is that when it comes to kids faith, parents get what they are. Thats part of why we can view adolescent faith as a portal to understanding our own adult faith.

In Almost Christian, Kenda raises a question worth pondering, Do we practice the kind of faith we want our children to have? For while we can criticize the Moralistic Therapeutic Deism that NSYR has found to be so prevalent in kids, there are many adults (parents, youth leaders) who when it comes down to it, dont want their kids to be all that radical. They want them to be nice, not missional.

So as Kendas book forces us to, lets look at ourselves in a mirror. As you think about the kids in your life, what type of faith do you really want them to have? A corollary question: what type of faith do you really want to have yourself? Is it really the pick up your cross and deny yourself daily sort of faith or more of a I like God because he makes me feel better sort of faith? I hate sacrifice. You probably do too. No wonder our kids seem to also.

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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