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Categories: Tattoo Pic | Author: admin 05.08.2014

3 out of 4 American teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 call themselves Christians, yet most adhere to a default religious setting that does not truly reflect any of the world’s great religions.
I helped interview teenagers for the NSYR, an exercise that convinced me more than ever that parents, congregations, and pastors are operating on some pretty shaky assumptions about Christian faith and teenagers.
MYTH #1.Keeping kids safe, and raising them to be nice and to feel good about themselves, is the same thing as raising them as Christians.
One of MTD’s central tenets, extremely prominent in the NSYR’s interviews with teenagers, is that “the central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about yourself” -a position that echoes self-esteem movement, but that risks turning religion into a divinely sanctioned sense of entitlement.
On this one teenagers have it right: they know that being a Christian in American culture is a tough fit, and not just because of church norms on sex. Despite the role of Christian faith in our nation’s history, the gospel challenges our culture in a number of ways.
MYTH #3.The most important way to instill authentic, other-directed faith in young people is get them involved in youth groups and mission trips. Now, I happen to think that church mission trips are a good idea, as long as the people in the host community are making most of the decisions. It is the church’s shame that history has so many examples where Christians have managed to ignore this fact.
MYTH #5.The solution to Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is to get teenagers to church more often and to hire a youth pastor. Yes: belonging to a faith community and having a youth pastor are strongly correlated with highly devoted faith.
But since congregations often propagate Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, going to church will not necessarily instill consequential faith instead. Christians believe that parents aren’t ultimately responsible for their children’s faith; God is. 2)Invest in cultural tools associated with consequential faith in teenagers—they won’t hurt adult faith either.


Or maybe you are a person who just wants to get to the bottom line, and that is this: If you want your children to think faith matters, it has to authentically matter to you.
Kenda Creasy Dean is an ordained elder in the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference (United Methodist) and professor of youth, church, and culture at Princeton Theological Seminary, where she works closely with the Institute for Youth Ministry. The very definition of Deism (and growing derivations like Pandeism) is in the absolutely non-interfering nature of God, for the Deistic Creator did things right the first time out, and has no need for constant tinkering around with the defects of an incompetent Creation. The author’s blithe ignorance of the religious ideology that is deism automatically invalidates the entire premise of this post. In the original article below, Dean expands on these ideas, clarifies others, and explains just how American teens are practicing their Christian faith. Mom is angling to get 16-year-old Tony to come to church on Sunday, and Tony will have none of it. On the surface, that sounds like a good thing; at the very least, perhaps it is a corrective to abuses conducted in the name of religion.
Moralistic therapeutic deist youth view God as a divine butler, invisible unless called upon, whose primary purpose is to make them feel good and to sanction things that they want to do anyway.
Nor does it make you nice – if by “nice” you mean being friendly and not stepping on toes. There are many, many good reasons for teenagers to attend a religious youth group; research shows that these groups offer teenagers important sources of adult support, church connections, and moral values. Like youth groups, these trips indirectly support adolescent faith by providing adult-youth relationships and de-centering experiences that allow you to see the world a new point of view, etc.
But we should distinguish between radical faith and extremism, because they are not the same thing. Edges are constantly in danger of erosion, so extremists are people determined to protect these unstable edges of principles, political systems, religious views, etc.
For Christians, focusing on Christ’s life, death, and resurrection makes us radical because Jesus Christ is the root of our faith, the source of our growth, the anchor of our being even as we reach out towards others.


Furthermore, the NSYR found that highly devoted teenagers are more likely than their peers to attend churches with a youth pastor. She is the author of Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church. A God that interferes at all is theistic, and that is by definition the difference between Deism and theism (and of all subsets of Deism like Pandeism, and subsets of theism like panentheism and polytheism).
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Researchers were mum on MTD’s effects on other religious traditions (the number of non-Christian religious teenagers in the sample was small enough that researchers were cautious about their claims), but they were unsparing when it came to American churches.
For the record, I want my kids to be nice, and maybe Jesus was a nice guy (most kids in the NSYR thought so). In fact, the “Jesus ethic” is an ethic of self-giving; as Eugene Peterson puts it in The Message, “If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But mission trips can’t cultivate Christian faith unless teenagers recognize that the actions these trips inspire are derived from the gospel – an awareness cultivated in practices like prayer and Scripture reading.
Radical Christians love God and others as ourselves, which includes sharing in others’ suffering. It is the church’s problem – which means we’re not going to be able to evoke authentic, life-giving, outward-focused faith in young people without getting serious about authentic, life-giving, outward-focused faith ourselves. Jesus makes no bones about this: “Love your neighbor as yourself,” he tells his followers. Indeed, this seems as much intended to demonize a growing revival of Deism as to mischaracterise the theism on display in this theory.



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