"What if we decided, in our churches, to enter into the real world together? What would it look like in our student ministries if we stopped playing the nice and bubbly Christian game and began to ask the difficult questions, to live in the uncertainty and not avoid contentious matters but embrace the complexity of them? from "Hollow Faith" by Stephen Ingram
I am in the midst of reading the excellent text Hollow Faith: How Andy Griffith, Facebook and the American Dream Neutered the Gospel, a response to the National Study of Youth and Religion. This brand new text comes from the recently-launched publishing arm of the Center for Youth Ministry Training (CYMT). Stephen Ingram, the author, is Director of Student Ministries at Canterbury UMC in Birmingham, Alabama. I've had the privilege of working with Stephen at one of CYMT's youth ministry think tanks and he is clearly one of the best progressive voices in mainline youth ministry today. Though I will be posting a full review soon, let me just share that this text offers a no-holds barred critique of the sort of cultural Christianity that we have, for too long, allowed to transform the teens in our ministries into luke-warm followers of the faith (at best). Thankfully, Stephen offers not just a critique but a way forward that calls us to risk engaging in a more radical and, in many ways, ancient form of Christianity with our youth.
I'd of course love to have others reading this book so we can all join in on the conversation with Stephen. To help you in that endeavor, CYMT is offering readers of Rethinking Youth Ministry the opportunity to purchase Hollow Faith (and other CYMT resources) at a 20% discount by following this link. But wait! There's more! CYMT will also give you a free Kindle Edition of another new resource -- Raising Teens in an Almost Christian World -- if you'll post a review of Hollow Faith on Amazon and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.