Almost Christian

An excerpt from “The Ivy Jungle Network Campus Ministry Update September 2010”:

Princeton Seminary Professor Kendra Creasy Dean shares what she considers some depressing news in her new book, Almost Christian. As a researcher in the National Study for Youth and Religion, she helped conduct in depth interviews with more than 3300 teenagers who call themselves Christians.  Her findings show that most “Christian” kids are indifferent and inarticulate about their faith. The faith they do discuss often boils down to what has been labeled “moralistic therapeutic deism” – a belief in a generally good God who exists primarily to help make people happy.   This “imposter” faith contributes to the massive departure of so many young people from the church during their high school and college years.  Too often parents and churches have low expectations for teenagers.  Too many youth groups are designed to keep students out of trouble and simply being nice – not truly exploring the faith.  However, she did find some who had a passion for their faith and an ability to talk about it in a meaningful way.  These committed teenagers most often came from Mormon or evangelical backgrounds.  She identified four common traits among this group: They have a personal story about God they can share, a deep connection to a faith community, a sense of purpose and a sense of hope about their future (CNN August 27, 2010)

Leaving Church Behind

According to Barna, only about 25% of teenagers are active in a youth group; a statistic that has remained relatively flat for the last decade. Lifeway Christian Resources reports that many students drop out around age 16. Their research indicates that many teens do not find church relevant or think it meets the needs of young people today. While in the past they may have come for free food and entertainment, today’s teens don’t want to be relegated to basement pizza parties. They are looking for significance and connections. Sadly, the numbers fall again when they leave for college. (USA Today August 11, 2010) 1published in the Ivy Jungle Network Newsletter, August 2010


1 published in the Ivy Jungle Network Newsletter, August 2010

Begging The Question

One thing that irks me is talking heads completely butchering the English language. Many times they take a term that means one thing then use it incorrectly to mean another. For example, the word momentarily means for a moment. How many times a day do you hear an announcer say, “We’ll be back momentarily?” The announcer means in a moment but is actually saying for a moment.

One phrase that talking heads misuse that really annoys me is begs the question to mean asks the question. In fact, begging the question is a logical fallacy wherein the arguer tries to prove a point by relying on a premise 1 something assumed or taken for granted that proves the point. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say on the topic.

In logic, begging the question has traditionally described a type of logical fallacy … in which the proposition to be proved is assumed implicitly or explicitly in one of the premises...

In contemporary usage, “begging the question” often refers to an argument where the premises are as questionable as the conclusion.

In popular usage, “begging the question” is often used to mean that a statement invites another obvious question. This usage is stated to be incorrect in The Oxford Guide to English Usage, 1st edition; “raises the question” is suggested as a more appropriate alternative. Improper usage of the term may to some observers make the user appear uneducated; this is presumably the opposite effect the user intends by using the term. [Emphasis mine]

Are you surprised the talking heads get stuff like this wrong?


1  something assumed or taken for granted

American Idol

The new season of American Idol begins tonight with four hours of programming over the next two nights. Mrs. Major and Son Major enjoy this show. I use the show as an opportunity to read or fool around on the computer.

Kevin McDonough, in his column “Tune In Tonight,” sums the program up very well:

With its endless hours of idle chatter and forgettable patter, “Idol” was made for the fast-forward button. I tend to speed over the obviously horrible performances, the banal travelogue and practically every segment featuring Ryan Seacrest. Technology can be a wonderful thing.

I say, “Just saying, ‘no,’ can be a wonderful thing.”