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The New Faithful: Why Young Adults Are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy Paperback – May 1, 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Loyola Press; First Edition edition (May 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0829420428
  • ISBN-13: 978-0829420425
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #956,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Carroll's title promises to answer a question that is not new; the decline of liberal Christianity and the rise of the evangelical movement has been a source of scholarly and journalistic fascination for more than 20 years. Carroll, though, gives an up-to-the-minute account of this phenomenon. She spent a year beginning in 2001 and ending in 2002 conducting research and interviews around the U.S., and, unlike most treatments of the new American passion for orthodoxy, hers focuses on the Catholic and Orthodox Churches as well as evangelical Protestantism. This emphasis on orthodoxy and ancient, liturgical tradition among young members is both novel and timely. While evangelical Protestant mega-churches were the big story 15 years ago, record-breaking conversion rates in conservative Catholic and Orthodox churches are today's headline. Carroll quotes many young people who yearn for both conservative interpretations of the Bible and the mystery and symbolism of liturgy. Especially popular among young orthodox Catholics is the pre-Vatican II practice of Eucharistic adoration, which involves reverencing a consecrated communion wafer. In her introduction, Carroll makes brief mention of her identification with the young, conservative Catholics she features, and this identification shows in analysis that often bleeds into advocacy. She does occasionally quote critics of the trend toward orthodoxy, but she never fully explores these dimensions. However, this is a book that generously and comprehensively examines a group that is often misunderstood and caricatured.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

With the help of a Phillips Journalism Fellowship, St. Louis Post-Dispatch journalist Carroll traveled the country to interview young adults to ascertain how religion fits into their lives. Most of her interviewees were Catholics or evangelical Protestants, along with some Orthodox Christians. Carroll found a turn to the Right in the religious lives of her peers, born between 1965 and 1983; not everyone in this age group is religiously oriented, but those who are have more often than not turned to traditional beliefs and morality. Among Catholic priests, for example, the youngest are as traditional as the oldest, with the baby boomers falling in between. It is not unusual for married couples in this age group to embrace natural family planning as opposed to artificial birth control and for singles to reject premarital sex. These young adults are seeking authoritative guidelines and meaningful commitments. Carroll's journalistic skills are evident in this very readable volume about a tendency toward traditionalism that she predicts will spread. Highly recommended.
John Moryl, Yeshiva Univ. Lib., New York
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

This book seems to be anecdotal at best.
...Colleen Carroll's brilliant new book will bring you up to speed on the very newest of trends in American culture.
Jeff E. Coleman
And I believe that her thesis can be defended, although not in as absolute terms as she attempted.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Colleen Carroll has done an incredible job of describing why and how some young adults in our culture have thrown aside the liberated views passed down by the baby-boomers and have chosen a life-style of commitment, mystery and faith. Through powerful personal stories, the reader discovers that this counter-cultural lifestyle is more than a sociological trend or backlash of divorce and materialism. Instead, for the young adults spotlighted, their choices actually balance the extremes of the ultra restriction and conformity of the Fifties and the reckless and relative views of the Sixties and Seventies. We can see, on a very intimate level, how Generation X-ers have sought and found meaning and depth in their lives through authentically living out orthodox Christian faith. Personally, this book has helped me understand why I, as a young adult, think and act as I do--very insightful.
"The New Faithful" is an inspiring account of a small, yet powerful portion of our society. Carroll has the wisdom, experience and superb writing ability to convey precisely what is going on in the heart of our generation. A must-read for any young adult--faith-filled or not--and anyone hoping to understand them better.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By James H. Toner on December 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Colleen Carroll's thesis is simple: "[T]he future of orthodoxy [that is, traditional, customary, established religious belief and practice] in America looks bright" (p. 265). Young adults, she says, are increasingly turning (or returning) to the faith--Greek or Russian Orthodox, Evangelical Christian, or Roman Catholic--in which they were born (between 1965 and 1983). They are unfulfilled by or even angry at the vacuous and hollow ideologies of secularism, materialism, hedonism, and relativism which exalt the self or proclaim, as do nihilists, that there is nothing of worth or of everlasting meaning. Ms. Carroll is particularly incisive in her examination of Catholicism, which lost a generation of young adults to incompetent and even cowardly catechesis, to religious (priests and nuns) sometimes concerned more about politics than souls, and to widespread disaffection with orthodox Church teaching and corresponding self-deification. In a society plagued by rampant divorce (p. 123), by media corruption (especially movies and TV [pp. 249, 257], and by a soulless spirituality which offers only jejune sentiment to people instead of the sacramental realities of established religion (pp. 4-6), young adults are turning, she says, to Christ as the center of their lives. But this Christ is not a "superstar"; rather, He is the Savior Who expects total commitment of heart, mind, and soul (Mt. 22:34-40). And this devotion, she says, is what yong adults desire--not balloons; not flowers; not silly church music (as opposed to the classic hymns and chants); not liturgical improvisation; not a demand for women priests, or for nuns in mini-skirts, or for priests who preach a feckless gospel of worldly values (p. 281).Read more ›
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39 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Sherry Tyree on September 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
May I add input from someone even older than the "Boomer Generation," not to mention the "Gen-Xers" about whom this book is written?

Having finished Colleen Carroll's excellent book, I'd like to persuade some of her less enthusiastic readers to more deeply investigate what I believe to be a false dichotomy between faith and works. That false dichotomy is not new.

I grew up during the '40's and '50's, a product of excellent, pre-Vatican II Catholic (Loretto) teaching -- and orthodox sermons -- followed by public school, then a non-sectarian private high school and non-sectarian university.

Upon graduation from college, I spent the better part of 3 years working out of a Catholic Church/School on the grounds of a nationally-known public housing project. You might be surprised to learn I was inspired to this work by my pre-Vatican II Catholic education.

It was the mid-sixties, a time of tremendous turmoil and opportunity. Those of us who were involved in the Civil Rights movement were tempted to see ourselves as holding the moral high ground. And some of the group lost sight of the kinds of personal devotions and reflections that had been our original inspiration.

As a result, some grievous personal decisions were made, many with lifelong reverberations. Priests betrayed their ordination vows, nuns left their orders, marriages broke up, liasons were made that were unhealthy. Not everyone went off the rails, but we all knew many who did.

Orthodoxy, personal morality and devotions were trashed, as were reputations of those considered "conservative," all because we saw "social justice" as morally superior and sufficient.
Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael Roesch on January 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As a Catholic university student just at the tail-end of Carroll's time span of research, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The stories contained inside are moving and truly show a diversity in why and how this generation came to discover Christian orthodoxy.
At first glance, I thought it was a bit too biased towards Catholicism (as another reviewer has pointed out), but I can hardly argue with the accolades given this book by such high-profile Protestants as Chuck Colson. Still, the book could have been stronger if the author had either soley concentrated on Catholicism or balanced the research with more stories from Protestants.
While the stories are clearly the focal point of the book, I found that Carroll tends at times to oversimplify things. As a collection of stories, the book is fantastic, but it doesn't really go very far beyond that to give readers a well-thought out reason for this trend, or predictions for the future. Where the insight is there (as it is with the section detailing orthodoxy in Hollywood), it is very good, but where it is absent, the book is lacking. In addition, while her research is very strong, it can be somewhat distracting to read portions of some of the same conversion stories at several different parts of the (topically organized) book. Just a few more interviews could have easily prevented this repetition.
Aside from these points, the book is a very good read. The author writes very well, and it is very easy to read. I definitely recommend it because you will either identify with or be moved by those whose stories are told, or it will give you new perspective on where your friends who have decided to shun popular culture and take on Christian orthodoxy are coming from.
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