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The Next American Spirituality Hardcover – January 28, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
George Gallup Jr. uses data from his famous polls to analyze the condition and future of spirituality in America, particularly in terms of evangelical Christianity. Gallup quizzes respondents in some detail about what religious activities (prayer, religiously motivated charitable work, Bible study, etc.) they participated in within the previous twenty-four hours. Gallup uses the polling statistics to consider potential benefits and dangers of current trends. For example, he concludes that widespread spiritual searching provides opportunities for Christians to present their faith, but a tendency to adopt a "salad bar" attitude toward religious practices weakens orthodoxy. Gallup discovers that although most Christians pray and use the Bible for devotions, there is widespread biblical and theological illiteracy. Gallup is tentative about projecting into the future but does advise churches to overtly emphasize Bible stories. Several thought-provoking chapters address Christians' efforts in the areas of serving the needy, developing spirituality and reaching out evangelistically. Another chapter discusses some demographic groups of Christians with special potential to influence society: African-American churches, young people and the "pre-retired." Given the weight of opinion polls in public debate, Gallup's figures and analyses are worthwhile reading for Christians and those who observe the American religious scene. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
Beginning with what is spirituality, this work consistently brings forth the "up and down" side to each point. The opportunities along with the obstacles are well documented and discussed using many angles and viewpoints.
There are many nuggets to be mined and prayed over with Biblical discernment. A random sample: "Americans face constant temptations to pass over the wisdom of the ancients in favor of the guru of the month." "The interest in spirituality in itself, ... is not an unalloyed cuase for rejoicing. But it provides a starting place for conversation." "God may be bringing a faitful remant into deeper levels of discipleship that will enable them to endure in a culture that for all its spirituality seems to become post- or even anti-Christian." "More is needed than urgent words; postmoderns insist on authenticity; faith sharing must grow out of a larger life and witness. Its claims to truth must be buttressed with a changed life, with an experienced and personally felt faith."
I found this read to be an important one is the continuing look at trends and movements. Gives one much to ponder and pray and discuss.
The layout of the book with shaded quotes for key ideas make for easy reference.
I'm an associate pastor in a large, growing church in the Kansas City area. Many of the people coming to our church fit the descriptions in this book...i.e. they are looking for experiences with living, powerful God.
I believe Gallup and Jones have written a book that may impact churches in the same way that Tom Peter's book on excellence impacted the business community years ago.