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To Mend the World: A New Vision for Youth Ministry

Increasingly, social entrepreneurship– the disruption of the status quo for the purpose of creating new solutions to social issues–provides an important catalyst for cultural and social change. To Mend the World: A New Vision for Youth Ministry brings together practical theology, Christian ministry, and social entrepreneurship for a new approach to work with young people.

This interdisciplinary conversation begins with a simple premise: the old models of ministry are no longer working. Young people and emergent adults are shaped more by the dominant culture than the practices of the Christian community. Churches frantically create ministry programs to address this reality, but these attempts either run parallel to the dominant cultural narratives or are co-opted and undermined by them.

To Mend the World, written by a practical theologian and a practitioner, draws on the principles and practices of social entrepreneurship to provide ministry leaders with a thoughtful, robust theological perspective along with practical insights for youth ministry today and tomorrow.

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Jesus Loves You and Evolution Is True: Why Youth Ministry Needs Science

Science is not a danger to the faith of Christian youth. In fact, Sara Sybesma Tolsma, an award-winning scientist, and Jason Lief, a leading practical theologian, argue that youth ministry needs science to help young people explore their relationship to God and engage their world faithfully.

Jesus Loves You and Evolution Is True invites the church and its leaders to open their minds and hearts to what science can tell us about our human lives and our connections to, and role in, our natural world. But it does not stop there: evolutionary science is theological, argues Lief and Tolsma, and so it must have a central place in the day-to-day work of youth ministry.

If the church wants to help youth develop robust spiritual lives and prepare them for the challenges that life will bring them, pastors, faith leaders, and youth workers must not only engage science but embrace its lessons for the life and practice of Christian faith today.

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Christianity and Heavy Metal as Impure Sacred within the Secular West: Transgressing the Sacred

This book explores the symbolic connections between Christianity and Heavy Metal music in the context of the secular West. Heavy Metal uses symbols and imagery taken from Christianity, even if the purpose is to critique religion. This usage creates a positive connection with an interpretation of Christianity as a form of cultural critique. Given that Metal and Christianity are associated with Western culture, this book explores how Christianity and Heavy Metal function within the context of secularity as a form of ideological critique. Using the ideas of Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, and Charles Taylor as a starting point, this book explores the religious nature of secularism in the West interpreted in the immanent processes of politics and economics. In this connect, both Christianity and Heavy Metal provide a cultural critique through images of death, the grotesque, and sacrifice. By bringing this religious interpretation of secularism into conversation with the ideas of Georges Batailles, Slavoj Žižek, and Jürgen Moltmann, this book will demonstrate the positive relationship between Christianity and Heavy Metal.

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Poetic Youth Ministry: Learning to Love Young People by Letting Them Go

Current research shows what many in the Christian community already know: young people are leaving the church. This raises important questions: Why are young people leaving? How can the church respond? Some have responded to this issue out of a posture of fear and anxiety, trying to find new ways to strengthen doctrinal beliefs or practices of faith formation and discipleship. What if the best response isn’t to strengthen our theology or tighten our hold on the lives of young people? What if the best response is a posture of love that lets young people go? Using the insights of philosopher Charles Taylor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Poetic Youth Ministry argues that the church must take seriously the formative power of social and cultural patterns that shape the social imaginaries of young people. Rather than seeing the problem as young people abandoning faith, the Christian community should see the issue as young people exchanging one form of faith for another. This allows the church to approach the issue from a posture of love, calling young people to embrace their identity in the new humanity revealed in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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