BOOK REVIEW: Almost Christian

“Almost Christian” is a provocatively titled book that analyzes the results of the National Study of Youth and Religion.  It is very intelligently written, so I’d suggest getting the Kindle version to help define some of the words Dean uses while reading.  But in a season where a lot of people are throwing youth ministry under the bus, Dean proposes the simple notion that adolescent faith is more a product of the apathy in adults’ lives than in the programs of youth ministry.  “Almost Christian” takes an honest look at spiritual formation in teenagers, while pointing out the wins and woes of parents, youth pastors, and congregations and I often found some of my practices being challenged in her writing.  This is not a whiny reply to a survey that produced a lot of unmerited whining.  This is a thorough, scholastic, reasonable unpacking of data collected that freaked a lot of people out.  And while I don’t agree with every conclusion Dean drew, I finished this book with a verbal promise to my students that I will continue to teach them the full counsel of God, no matter how hard to comprehend or implement.  This is one of those books that an entire church leadership team should read, so when you’re done reading it, give it your pastor.