Books: The New Faithful: Why Young Adults Are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy: “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.
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