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Growing Edge

Each Sunday a mob of young people clad in an array of GenX urban-wear (oversized, retro, torn, tight, pierced) as well as an array of urban-attitude (ambivalent, cynical, self-absorbed and generally bored) crowd the front pews of our church to worship God. However, their slouching during the sermon and swaying during the singing spurs askance glances from the more traditional set. An older woman confronts me afterwards: "When are you going to teach these kids how to act in church? Their behavior is outright profane."

Au contraire, argues Tom Beaudoin in Virtual Faith: The Irreverent Spiritual Quest of Generation X (Jossey-Bass, 1998; to order, call 415/433-1767). Using irony as your magic decoder ring, what appears profane is in fact profound. GenX expressions of "religiosity" have simply moved from the arenas of conventional religion onto a stage more parallel to popular culture.

Irreverent religion

A layered effort (that reads like a master's thesis), Beaudoin makes deep forays beyond ...

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