Book review of The New Faithful: Why Young Adults are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy, Colleen Carroll, Chicago: Loyola Press, 2002, 320 pages.
by The Rev’d John D. Alexander
WN: The author of the book has since published other studies you may access here.
This book documents an often unnoticed and under-reported phenomenon among today’s young Americans: a return to Christian orthodoxy. As author Colleen Carroll states her basic thesis: “Across the nation, from the runways of beauty pageants to the halls of Ivy League universities, a small but committed core of young Christians is intentionally embracing organized religion and traditional morality” (p. 4).
At the time of publication, Carroll was a twenty-seven year old news and editorial writer for the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch. In 2000 a Phillips Journalism Fellowship enabled her to spend a year traveling the country to conduct the research for this book. Written in the style of investigative journalism, the book is packed full of quotes and anecdotes from dozens of interviews with young Christians in a variety of careers, religious vocations, and academic settings. Although she is a Roman Catholic, Carroll has to her great credit written a book ecumenical in scope, documenting the return of young people not only to Roman Catholicism but also to Evangelicalism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and traditional Anglicanism.
Carroll focused her research on those born between 1965 and 1983, the so-called “baby busters” or “Generation X.” She observes that their embrace of traditional religion and morality often begins with a search born of an inner craving for something other than a life lived for pleasure, success, or self. This craving often crystallizes into “a desire for beliefs that mean something, demand something, change something” (p. 29).
Please click on: The New Faithful