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Got Religion?: How Churches, Mosques, and Synagogues Can Bring Young People Back Hardcover – May 20, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Templeton Press (May 20, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599473917
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599473918
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #587,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The millennial generation is stuck in a condition called emerging adulthood; that is, these twentysomethings are delaying the traditional markers of growing up, leaving home, becoming financially independent, getting married, and having children. The reasons for this condition are varied—the new technology, the economic downturn that has affected them disproportionately as well as a combination of radical individualism and a general distrust of institutions, and, some believe, the intransigent attitudes of organized religion. One of the primary by-products is low church attendance or little to no religious affiliation among millennials. Unlike other people who have studied this group, though, Riley is more optimistic. In this short but compelling volume, she adopts an ecumenical approach, profiling religious communities—Jewish, Mormon, Catholic, Evangelical, Muslim—with an emphasis on how religions can work together to bring young people back into the fold. Millennials, she insists, are looking for a community with a sense of purpose. A thoughtful and appealing book that addresses an important topic with commonsense solutions. --June Sawyers

Review

“Naomi Schaefer Riley is an astute cultural observer and critic, and a very good interpreter of the larger meanings and implications of social science research. For those concerned about the religious live of emerging adults, Got Religion? will be essential reading.” —Christian Smith, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Sociology and principle investigator, National Study of Youth and Religion
 
“In researching and writing Got Religion? Naomi Schaefer Riley has accomplished a difficult task. She has managed to make fairly dense millennial generation demographic material both interesting and understandable. She has also connected the dots in illustrating how such material is relevant and instructive to those who seek to ‘bring young people back’ to their various faith traditions.” —Dr. Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary


“The precipitous drop in religious affiliation among young people in the United States has been covered to the point of exhaustion—often generating more heat than light. In Got Religion? Naomi Schaefer Riley weaves together a compelling counter narrative that focuses on the best examples of how various communities—Judaism, Catholicism, non-denominational Christianity and Islam—are successfully engaging young people. It is a study in American ingenuity, insight and reinvention as it applies to faith communities and it should be read by anyone in the field who believes that studying what works is the best way to fix what's wrong.” —Bill McGarvey, author of The Freshman Survival Guide
 
Got Religion? offers two reassuring messages to those worried that the under-thirty generation is running away from religion. First, it shows that the problem is not confined to particular faiths. Mormons and Muslims turn out to be as concerned as Catholics, Protestants and Jews. Second, it demonstrates that creative programs can succeed in luring young people back to religion. There is reason for hope. Chocked full of ideas and insights, this is a book that anyone interested in ‘youth engagement’ should read.” —Jonathan D. Sarna, president, Association for Jewish Studies; the Joseph Engel Visiting Professor of American Jewish Studies, Harvard University; the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History; and chair, Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program, Brandeis University


“No one writes about the religious experiences, beliefs, and practices of contemporary Americans more astutely or with great insight than Riley. In Got Religion? she explores the factors that tend to draw young adults into, or alienate them from, communities of faith. This is far from an exercise in merely academic sociology of religion. It contains valuable lessons for faith communities and their leaders—from Catholics and Jews to Mormons and Muslims—about what they can do to give young people, including young couples with children, stability and responsibility, helping them to deepen their spiritual lives and form habits that will serve them well in every dimension of their lives.” —Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University
 
“If you want a book with pat answers to the "problem" of millennials and organized religion, you've come to the wrong place. If, however, you want to consider the many ways that adults in their 20s and 30s engage with religion, God, and peoplehood, if you want a book that holds just as many questions as it does answers, then pull out your highlighter and get comfortable. Riley takes us on a fascinating journey that traverses religious, geographical, racial, and cultural boundaries. Learn from those who may share a different understanding of God but a similar drive to create a meaningful life. I know I did.” —Rabbi Shira Stutman, director of Jewish programming at Sixth & I
 
“Naomi Schaeffer Riley is one of the keenest analysts of American religious life today. In this book, she takes up a question that every religious community is asking. Not everyone will agree with everything in this book, but everyone who cares about American religious life will find a provocative and fruitful catalyst for conversation and action.” —Russell D. Moore, president, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Customer Reviews

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By George P. Wood TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
“All young people, newly come into an urban environment, and living for the first time outside of the family group and the association of old acquaintances, constitute an element of gravest spiritual and moral dangers as well as one of untold possibilities.”

Is this the latest warning from the Barna Group about the problem of young people leaving the Church? No, these are the words of University of Chicago sociologist H. Paul Douglass in The St. Louis Church Survey published in 1924. Anxiety about the spiritual fate of young adults is evergreen.

And so, it seems, is the solution to the problem: “It is urged that all religious forces keep steadily in sympathetic touch with all these groups,” Douglass went on to write, “and that agencies particularly designed to serve them receive united support.”

Naomi Schaefer Riley concludes Got Religion? with these words in order to remind readers that passing on the faith to the next generation has always been a challenge, even if the contemporary age adds unique twists to that challenge. Her book outlines the strategies some American evangelicals, Muslims, Catholics, Jews, historically black churches, and parachurch organizations are utilizing to attract and retain young people—defined as people born after 1980—within their respective religious communities.

In the Introduction, Riley identifies three reasons why the intergenerational transmission of faith is especially difficult at the present moment: “the trends of family formation, the cultural acceptability of not belonging to a religious institution, and the steady decline of attendance” at religious services.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael Philliber on May 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Where have the college and post college crowd gone? This question engages my cerebral energies often, because I work with the teenagers of our church who are about to head to college, and co-pastor a congregation that has a noticeable number of middle aged men and women. So, where have the college and post college crowds gone? Naomi Schaefer Riley, an accomplished author who is also a weekly columnist for the New York Post and a former Wall Street Journal editor, delves into this difficulty and how to interest them, in her newest 174 page hardback, “Got Religion? How Churches, Mosques and Synagogues Can Bring Young People Back.” This easy-to-read volume walks through the storied approaches of diverse groups attempting to touch the twenty and thritysomethings in their world.
In “Got Religion?” we are privileged to listen, with the author, to the anecdotes and narratives, feats and failures, of Presbyterian, Muslim, Jewish, Mormon and Black Baptist institutional leaders who are succeeding in reaching the college and post college crowd in some way. But we are also favored to hear the yearnings and longings, along with the turn-ons and turn-offs, of the younger people who have become involved in these establishments. The importance of community and neighborhood, the “sense of belonging” (142), rings out clearly in many of the accounts, and sundry ways. Similarly, that this is a generation “particularly suspicious of bureaucracy and slick advertising” (13) that is looking for authenticity in both leadership and laity, surfaces often. Likewise there are also indications that “service – serious, long-term sacrifice requiring service” (144) is alluring to this age group.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Really great survey of what churches, mosques and synagogues are actually doing with the younger generation. Inspiring. Encouraging. Easy to read. Ms. Riley really knows this "church" business remarkably well. Great job, Naomi!
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By Gary Schulte on September 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
excellent read
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By w_scott_wallace on June 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A nice read but nothing earth shaking or eye opening. Offers introductory insight into time worn issues and how to maintain awareness of need for change.
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