Today I caught myself walking across campus with a huge grin on my face, nose burried in a book. I have become one of those people who were so befuddling to me in undergrad - openly grinning from ear to ear while reading what might appear to be a dry, purely academic work. This particular book is academic, but that does not make it dry. Academics that are well-done do affect daily life. Yes, I love this book and I have not even started reading it yet. A Faith of Their Own, like Almost Christian, came out of the research done by a National Study for Youth and Religion. So, I know it is reliable, based on careful research, and that it will dig deeply into some of the newest insights on the religious lives of teenagers. I am excited to read it!
I have been trying for the last few months to get through several youth ministry books: The Godbearing Life and Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry. I am learning that even though I am no longer in school, that I need to keep up a steady diet of intellectual stimulation. Andrew Root's book was very challenging- he pushed my understanding of incarnational youth ministry to the breaking point. He uses diagrams (always a way to my heart) and draws on the works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer as a theological foundation for relational youth ministry. The books itself is very dense. But even that was not enough. I find myself wanting to take on a project.
The National Study of Youth and Religion's recent research has proved fruitful for many, and is causing people in colleges and universities across the country to reexamine their thoughts on the best ways to practice youth minsitry in light of what we are learning about the religious lives of adolescents in America. I think that I am assigning myself a large-scale research project: sort through this research and attempt to condense it into something user-friendly for youth workers. I love a good homework assignment- break out the white board!