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The New Faithful: Why Young Adults Are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy [Hardcover]

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Item Description...
Born between 1965 and 1983, the young adults of Generation X grew up in an era of unprecedented wealth and consumerism. Rebelling against the liberal family, social, and academic environments in which they were raised, some have made strengthening their faith a priority. The New Faithful is a groundbreaking new book that examines the growing trend toward religious orthodoxy among today's young adults. Author and journalist Colleen Carroll offers strong opinions on how this movement might transform an American society steeped in moral relativism and secularism. Blending investigative journalism with in-depth analysis, Carroll seeks the reasons behind the choice of orthodoxy in a society that often denigrates traditional morality and rejects organized religion.

Publishers Description

"The New Faithful "is a groundbreaking book that examines the growing trend toward religious orthodoxy among today's young adults. author and Journalist Colleen Carroll Campbell offers strong opinions on how this movement might transform an American society steeped in moral relativism and secularism.

Blending investigative journalism with in-depth analysis, Campbell seeks the reasons behind the choice of orthodoxy in a socity that often denigrates traditional morality and rejects organized religion.

Item Specifications...

Pages   320
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.2" Width: 6.24" Height: 1.07"
Weight:   1.33 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2002
Publisher   Loyola Press
ISBN  0829416455  
EAN  9780829416459  

Availability  0 units.

Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General   [6817  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History   [2546  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Orthodoxy   [387  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Conjecture & Catholic Propaganda  Aug 12, 2007
This book is propped up and praised by members of the press as a ground breaking earth shattering piece of research; however no religious theologians have endorsed the authors' conclusions and her date simply isn't scientific. The statistical conclusions are conjuncture and do not support the authors' statements. Her methodology in interviewing a small cross section of the upper middle class, and elite do not constitute a major move toward orthodoxy in America. Twenty believers leaving Campus Crusade does not mean one iota; I don't think that is a significant number that supports her premise.

Loyola Press should be ashamed for publishing this book! Oh, but it gives credence to the supposition that people are breaking down the doors of the Catholic Church to become members.
Please understand who GEN X is  Mar 9, 2007
On the first page there is a reviewer who says they are 25 years old and are a member of Generation X. This person needs to realize that a 25 year old in 2004 is NOT a member of Generation X. Gen xers typically have parents who served in the Korean Conflict. Not a single true Gen xer was born after 1980. The conrast in the book identifies Gen xers vs Boomers. Incidentally a Gen xer would be very unlikely to have a boomer as a parent. The world hasn't yet experienced the pain of the boomers children. But it is coming.
The New Faithful  Dec 21, 2006
As a product of a non-religious household who only converted to Christianity earlier this year at age 24, I might have been the ideal reader of this book. Regrettably, it didn't speak to me at all. Without any doubt, many of those coming of age today sense deep, underlying problems with the state of society. Many are responding by turning to the teachings of Jesus Christ that until recently guided all of western civilization. There must be a good book to be written about us, but this isn't it.

Carroll's hypothesis is simple: today's young adult Christians reject both secular thinking and watered-down versions of Christianity (as typified by Vatican II) in favor of orthodox Christian belief and practice. She presents some statistics, but her main body of evidence is interviews. She mentions dozens of young adult Christians as well as priests and community leaders, but she doesn't quote them at length. Each one gets a page or less, barely enough to recite a few cliches. For instance on page 118:

"In a suburb on the western edge of St. Louis, a cohort of young Catholics gathers each month for eucharistic adoration, confession, and charismatic praise-and-worship sessions. The group, known as the House of Prayer, is run by a handful of young adults brimming with enthusiasm for Catholicism and the desire to convert their peers. Attendance at meetings sometimes hovers around a hundred, and postmeeting conversations routinely include news of the latest conversions to Catholicism or vocation to the priesthood. Participants in the group also lead door-to-door evangelization blitzes and youth ministry events intended to invigorate the faith of Catholic teenagers."

Period. End of sentence, end of paragraph, end of section; House of Prayer is never mentioned again. This abrupt style shortchanges the subjects. Nobody in the book really gets a chance to share their stories. A real conversion experience takes more than a page to explain (I would know) and this book really gives only rough outlines of what happened to each person and organization, sometimes not even that. Hence it's hard to form an emotional attachment to anyone you read about.

Furthermore, Carroll can't stop her own opinions from bleeding over into the text. For instance, she cites several people complaining that their childhood churches were too dedicated to service, and not enough to ritual. Her attachment to ritual--particularly the Catholic mass--is clear, but she doesn't acknowledge alternatives. Some people may feel at home in a ritualistic, prayerful life, and more power to them. But if others feel that God calls them to a life of service, then that's what will suit them better.

The chapters on politics on academics are even more one-sided. For instance, we hear about City College and the annual Society for Law, Life and Religion symposium, which, Carroll notes approvingly, "featured conservative columnist Ann Coulter." (If she cares that Coulter opposes all three things in the title, Carroll doesn't mention it here.) The big problem is the ceasless attempts to play the victim. Almost every paragraph villianizes the big bad postmodernists, secularists, relativists, etc... etc... It's taken as a given that these people completely control our society and dominate everything that everyone sees and hears.

Personally I don't recall ever seeing Jacques Derrida deconstructing Rousseau when I turn on my TV. The evidence is thin for the "tyranny of relativism"; in fact it consists of only one student saying that in class he'd "get funny looks if he mentioned Jesus." (Horrors!) But besides insulting the reader's intelligence, this insistence on perennial victimhood masks a bigger problem. Carroll keeps insisting that young orthodox Christians are counterculture, but you can't be counterculture when there's no culture left to counter. It's useless to insist that we have to undermine existing beliefs. As Chesterton said, "You can't undermine a hole in the ground. If you try, you will only make the hole bigger." It's time for Christian writers to give up the endless victimhood and realize that if we want our religion to last we need to start building up out of the rubble rather than just claiming our own patch of it.
A reasonable read on a fascinating subject  Nov 4, 2006
Carefully weaving personal anecdotes with social commentary and the occasional study or survey, Carroll constructs a reasonably persuasive argument that might be summed up as follows: Unfulfilled, world-weary young adults are returning to christianity where it is exercised in demanding, sacrificial, incarnational, and liturgical ways.

Carroll shares some interesting interviews, offers surprisingly insightful analysis, poignant quotes, and surveys a wide range of traditions. There are some real nuggets of wisdom here, for example Carroll writes:

"Many young adults find traditional religion intriguing and fellowship groups appealing but ultimately reject the accountability and discipline they require. Like the Generation Xers who avoid marriage while pining for stable committed relationships, young adults attracted to orthodoxy often feel conflicted when faced with its demands. What often makes the difference between flirtation and a commitment is the personal witness of an individual or community that makes Christian virtues seem irresistible-and worth the work."

All of that said, a few problems:

1) At 320 pages, this was just too long. Personal anecdotes are interesting and useful, but there are simply too many.

2) This looked, felt, and smelled like an inspirational read. But at the end, I wasn't particularly roused. Carroll tried so hard to present the material objectively that the text was dried out more than I prefer.

Despite those issues, this is definitely worth a look, especially given how few writers have addressed this subject. Recommended.
Talented Author Pens Insightful Observations!  Oct 17, 2006
Carroll does a spectacular job writing about her experience interviewing young Christians from all over the United States. What is revealed is curious and explanatory. Her conclusion is that, while there are still many "liberal" (a term, like "conservative", that I disdain) young adults around, many young Christians are embracing traditional liturgy and morality unseen in the previous generation.

While the book is a joy to read - thanks to the writer's noticeable talent in that area - there are some questions that the text raises. The first is about the pool of interviewees. Why were no more than four major centers of Catholic higher learning chosen? (Primarily St. Louis university - the home base of the author -, Notre Dame, Harvard and Franciscan University in Steubenville.) The voices presented in the book are mostly located or formerly educated at one of the four with a few exceptions noting the evangelical youth that have studied at small evangelical liberal-arts colleges. While the new orthodox voice is given center stage, clearly since this is the thesis, few opposing views are presented. The author acknowledges the existence of opposing views, but rarely, if ever, quotes them.

That said, as a young professional religious, I could identify with much that is written of my generation and my first-hand experience of my peers' faith experiences. I think that this is an insightful book that is of value especially to those who work in campus ministry or any public ministry.

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