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The Juvenilization of American Christianity…
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The Juvenilization of American Christianity

by Thomas Bergler

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A survey of the church programs to capture the youth beginning in the 1930's and 1940's through relevance, entertainment and purpose and the consequences of focusing on numbers and conversions over confession, forgiveness and discipleship. It is fascinating to see how the programs begun with good intentions of making big church-youth numbers led to the entertainment and performance-based churches that are now losing most youth because there is no longer a faith to grow into. ( )
  mdubois | Oct 23, 2014 |
Bergler has taken time to study publications of the Methodist Church, Catholic Church, Youth for Christ, and the National Baptist Convention written for youth leaders or for young people from their inception in the late 1940s to the present. He presents his research in the light of what is going on in American culture at the same time. The result is a rather interesting and informative book about a trend in American Christianity to adapt to the culture which, during the 1960s to 1970s, was somewhat youth-driven and which, from the 1980s to present, has become somewhat seeker-oriented. Bergler was probably correct in limiting his research to those groups, but it would be interesting to see a similar study done for other denominations such as Southern Baptists, Presbyterians, Church of God, Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, etc. As I looked through the author's footnotes, I thought he must have had an interesting time just sitting down with some of those publications and reading through them cover to cover from volume 1, issue 1 until the periodical ceased publication (or through the latest issue). I can see a lot of persons in other denominations asking themselves if this applies to their church and trying to decide what, if anything, to do about it. I do have one major criticism with the book. There are several "sentences" which begin with conjunctions which are in reality not sentences, but sentence fragments. An editor should have corrected this grammatical problem before the book was published. Otherwise, this was a very interesting read. ( )
  thornton37814 | May 17, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802866840, Paperback)

Pop worship music. Falling in love with Jesus. Mission trips. Wearing jeans and T-shirts to church. Spiritual searching and church hopping. Faith-based political activism. Seeker-sensitive outreach. These now-commonplace elements of American church life all began as innovative ways to reach young people, yet they have gradually become accepted as important parts of a spiritual ideal for all ages. What on earth has happened?

In The Juvenilization of American Christianity Thomas Bergler traces the way in which, over seventy-five years, youth ministries have breathed new vitality into four major American church traditions -- African American, Evangelical, Mainline Protestant, and Roman Catholic. Bergler shows too how this "juvenilization" of churches has led to widespread spiritual immaturity, consumerism, and self-centeredness, popularizing a feel-good faith with neither intergenerational community nor theological literacy. Bergler’s critique further offers constructive suggestions for taming juvenilization.

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(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:14 -0400)

Thomas Bergler traces the way in which, over seventy-five years, youth ministries have breathed new vitality into four major American church traditions -- African American, Evangelical, Mainline Protestant, and Roman Catholic. Bergler shows too how this "juvenilization" of churches has led to widespread spiritual immaturity, consumerism, and self-centeredness, popularizing a feel-good faith with neither intergenerational community nor theological literacy. Bergler's critique further offers constructive suggestions for taming juvenilization. --from publisher description… (more)

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