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Consuming Youth: Leading Teens Through Consumer Culture

July 9, 2012

The recently released book Consuming Youth: Leading Teens Through Consumer Culture by John Bernard, James, Penner and Rick Bartlett (Zondervan, 2010) is an outstanding introduction for youth workers who want to understand the systemic economic impact that wide-spread unexamined consumerism in our current culture has on teenagers. The sociology of cultural impact by family, church, government education and pop culture are all discussed and examined in light of current research and publication and applied to youth work. The material on the cultural creation of the idea of adolescence is handled more fully in other places but this is more than offset by Chapters 8 and 9 which deal with the ideals of vocation and specifically the MINISTRY QUEST program connected to the Mennonite Brethren tradition and it’s focus on the process of ministry discernment in a  High School population. The program is absolutely fascinating and needs to be expanded to the entire evangelical community or at least used as a model for other traditions to developed into their theological contexts. Each chapter is made even more user-friendly and useful by the additions of Discussion and Study Questions along with a Try This section that were well thought out. I close with a quote from the opening of the EPILOGUE (p. 149) from Will Willimon “Some of the greatest moments in youth ministry happen when you grab someone by the collar and say, Hey Kid, come over here. You try elementary school teaching, You try nursing.You…In college I meet so many who are just desperate for an adult to say, ‘You know what you are good at ?” You know what we could use from you?’ They are hungry for that!” To which I can only say AMEN!

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One Comment
  1. Dr. Turner

    Just came across your review of our book.
    Thank you very much for your observations and appreciation of our work – very much appreciated. We are always grateful when we hear that the book strikes a chord and that the discussion and study questions are substantive and helpful.

    Thank you again …

    John Berard

    (p.s . we do have a Facebook page where we work at encouraging the conversation if you are ever interested … http://www.facebook.com/consumingyouth)

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