CNN has a good article on Kenda Creasy Dean’s new book Almost Christian where she argues that many religious teens are Christian in name only.  “Dean says more American teenagers are embracing what she calls “moralistic therapeutic deism.” Translation: It’s a watered-down faith that portrays God as a “divine therapist” whose chief goal is to boost people’s self-esteem.”

Once again, however, we read that the Christians doing the best job of passing on real faith are evangelicals (Lutherans are generally considered members of “mainline denominations” rather than evangelical). There’s a lot of talk out there among Lutherans about how shallow a lot of evangelical youth ministry is (see, for example, Gene Veith’s blog post “Youth group madness” from a couple of days ago). To some extent, some of that talk is justified. But when it comes down to brass tacks, evangelicals are succeeding in passing on the faith where the vast majority of Lutherans are not. They’re doing something right, and it’s clearly a something that most Lutherans just don’t seem to get.

We discussed elements of this topic on my site back in 2009 in an entry entitled “Stemming the Tide of Church Youth Dropouts”. I’m curious to hear what new ideas people have on what we Lutherans can do to more seriously engage young people in their faith. Brainstorm people.