My daughter and I are reading Kenda Creasy Dean’s book Almost Christian together and blogging about it. This is my second post in the series. It is a response to my daughter’s post on the chapter 2 of the book.
Chapter 2: The Triumph of the Cult of Nice
My daughter’s post hits some of the high points of the second chapter, but it was a secondary point in her post that got me to thinking.
Dean writes that teens who want to get to know God better, often in spite of their congregations, aren’t equipped with the vocabulary to do so. Most of the teens in the aforementioned National Study on Youth and Religion couldn’t even articulate basic theological concepts, such as the Incarnation.
Dean in her book notes that teens – who are tongue tied and confused when asked to talk about theological matters – have no problem at all having passionate and sometimes quite technical conversations about other topics. Find a teenage boy who plays fantasy football and ask him to explain it to you. Esoteric and complex information is not beyond the grasp of teens. Their inability to speak coherently, much less intelligently, about God is a barameter of passion and knowledge, not ability.
And what does the church do?
One school of thought says we need to make the concepts and doctrine of the church more accessible. We should change our language to make it less daunting or odd.
Is Dean saying we should keep the church language and do the work of teaching and forming people? That makes sense, if we still believe we have anything to say that can’t be said in the language the world uses.