Catching up on the news this morning this headline caught my eye: More teens becoming "fake" Christians. The author of a new book, Kenda Creasy Dean, asserts that when youth pastors or parents water down the costs of being Christians, teenagers are less likely to become passionate or articulate about that religion.
Exceptions? Paragraph 13: Mormon and evangelical teens:
"In 'Almost Christian' [author] Dean talks to the teens who are articulate about their faith. Most come from Mormon and evangelical churches, which tend to do a better job of instilling religious passion in teens, she says.
No matter their background, Dean says committed Christian teens share four traits: They have a personal story about God they can share, a deep connection to a faith community, a sense of purpose and a sense of hope about their future."
I find it hopeful that dedicated, religious adults are committed to teaching their children about Jesus Christ. And I love that the Mormon teens in the study represented well. This Ensign article from President Hinckley addresses some similar issues that Dean is working through.
For the Lord shall comfort Zion, he will comfort all her waste places, and he will make her wilderness like Eden; and her desert like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.
He paints lovely representations of Christ (I have a print hanging in my dining room), he's a Provo native (go Bulldogs), and he's becoming quite a force for good on the local art scene.
Generally speaking, I'd say he's hopeful and Mormon. But it's his Church Doodle series from one of his blogs that is worth a mention today. He sometimes collaborates with his children which also produces charming little doodles. Check it out.
I find the collection of Mormon articles interesting and useful, but this one by Elder Cook is downright hopeful. Hopeful because an apostle is contributing to an online forum. This is not a reprint from an earlier talk or meeting. And the message, of course, is hopeful too.
Heavenly Father loves us, so He gave us commandments. When our obedience to Him is motivated only by love, we begin to understand true discipleship. Our love of God can then reach our family, neighbors, and community.
Christa is our Cold Stone giveaway winner (thanks random number generator). Her comment on what she finds hopeful about summer:
I love late summer nights spent creating - whether that be playing my guitar, making another colorful collage cover for a journal, or just making memories with fabulous people. It always takes me back to those summers of 13, 14, 15, spent staying up late with my best friend Ashley as we watched period films and quote Walt Whitman and e. e. cummings to each other and daydreamed about the future. Day dreaming never has to stop, and that's what late summer nights remind me of.
Christa, please drop us a line at hopefullymormon at gmail dot com with your full name and mailing address and we'll get the Cold Stone card off to you in the mail.
Thank you, in all seriousness, for the fabulous comments. So thoughtful and hopeful. Between your cheery comments and the back-to-school paperwork that has been arriving in the mail, I can see the next few weeks peeling away quickly. I am set to enjoy it while it lasts!
Just a reminder in case you haven't noticed the Cold Stone giveaway... scroll down or click through here to leave a comment on the post from the 27th to be eligible for free ice cream! The giveaway will close Friday at midnight and you have a pretty good shot...
Even though they're not perfect, in this church I am surrounded by lots of people who are trying hard to be good and do good. I can see with my own eyes that the fruit of trying to live the gospel found in Mormonism is good fruit.