I don't know Kenda Creasy Dean personally. In her photos, the Princeton Seminary professor looks downright joyful, bubbly, hopeful. I understand she's a cool, delightful person. But her book, Almost Christian (Oxford University Press, 2010), has plunged me into a very dark mood.
She's absolutely right in her assessments, that a mild, trivial kind of religiosity passes itself off as Christianity. I might rank the value of well-conceived mission trips higher than Dean would, but the colossal failure of the church to achieve something better than Moralistic Therapeutic Deism has me in a tailspin.
I knew it all along, but somehow Almost Christian feels like the death sentence I knew was coming while pretending all was well. My gloom is partly that gnawing sense of professional failure: the congregations I have served have quite nimbly churned out huge numbers of Moralistic Therapeutic Deists. Shame on me, and the people I've hired, and the volunteers and parents.
But what really makes ...1