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Paperback Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture: Bridging Teen Worldviews and Christian Truth Book

ISBN: 0830833374

ISBN13: 9780830833375

Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture: Bridging Teen Worldviews and Christian Truth

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Book Overview

Before we can reach today's youth with the truth of the gospel, we need to see what they see and hear what they hear. We need to catch the messages encrypted in their culture and understand what's really being communicated. In Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture Walt Mueller, founder and president of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding, helps us to navigate the troubling and confusing terrain of teen worldviews so that we can effectively and...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

I rarely give 5 stars, but this...

Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture by Walt Mueller brings together the principles of cross-cultural communication and applies them to the cross-generational situations found in Christian youth work. He deals with modern v. post-modern worldviews and the need for understanding and listening to help understand the emerging generation in order to effectively minister and communicate the gospel to them. Those who have read books dealing with postmodernism may feel that it drags here but he is writing to parents as well as youth workers and is assuming that some have no idea what postmodernism is. Also, those familiar with cross-cultural mission authors will be familiar with the principles that he lays down in the book. Like some other recent authors who have written on the subject of the Church and culture, Mueller does a good job of explaining the two main relational errors we see in regards to youth culture: Fundamentalism and Syncretism. He warns of the fundamentalist error of cocooning away from culture and thus seeming out of touch with those you seek to reach. He also warned of theological and moral error that comes from compromising with culture and thus loosing the message of the true gospel and the moral authority to preach it. I highly recommend this book to all Christian youth workers. I have read several boos on the subject and this book reflects a man who has spend decades of thoughtful work in youth ministry. As I read it, I felt like it was a fine, mature wine that had taken a long time to get to the way it was. The author has reflected and studied the Bible in relation to these issues for many years and the intellectual depth is evident. The author is 50 + and yet he naturally quotes from films and bands like Nine Inch Nails in a way that is not fake or forced. The not only has Biblical and cultural depth, but I believe the book to be extremely relevant to a lot of the questions we are asking in the church at this time. Some may find little new here if they have been reading books dealing with these questions of culture, but Mueller brings these ideas together and applies specifically to the area of youth work. Long before words like "culture" and "engaging" became trendy in the Church, this man was pioneering the subject and applying the principles that the evangelical church in the West only now seem to be rediscovering. It is as if the message has been simmering in the man for decades waiting for such a time as this.

Right on Target

Perhaps you've read books in the past that give you that "aha"! And other books that give you that distinct impression that you're not nearly as smart as you thought you were (there are quite a few books that fit that description for me!) Walt Mueller has accomplished both for me. As a 12 year youth ministry veteran, I've never read a book quite so realistic in its portrayal of youth culture today (with the exception of perhaps, Chap Clark's *Hurt*). At the same time, unlike Clark's work, Mueller brings a great deal more practical hope... that the gap between youth culture and "adult" culture, while expansive, is very much crossable when the Gospel, mixed something so simple as our committed presence and willingness to enter into their world, incarnationally, as it were. Please do not read this book as another "ministry made easy" type book. It just won't do justice to the breadth of Mueller's insights and the depth of his empirical study of this culture (or for that matter, to the unique difficulties inherent in youth ministry). And make no mistake, it is a culture, with it's own unique language, worldview, and ways of social/relational engagement. Mueller's book is a great road map to engage the soul of youth culture. That's his thesis, and he delivers.

Home run again

Dr. Mueller has once again combined good research with parental insights to provide a balanced view of the youth culture. He is not angry or alarmed--only passionate about a positive outcome for this generation. Must read for parents and youth workers.

Hands On or Hands Off?

The title of Walt Mueller's latest book begs the questions, "Why should we engage the soul of youth culture? And what does it mean to do that?" With great skill, Mueller ably answers both of those questions. In terms of the first question, Mueller makes some great points about the failure of the Church to adequately minister to youth. My favorite illustration is that of the minister who was sitting on a youth culture "expert" panel who had the chance to talk to a non-Christian youth. After explaining how he passed a particular group of kids on his way to his office at the church each day, he began to wonder how to reach those kids. The non-Christian youth answered, "Get out of your office." Some will be challenged by the reasons Mueller gives for engaging youth culture. But if we do not make attempts to understand the world our youth live in, then we leave them to a world more than ready to give them answers. In terms of the second question, "How?" one engages the culture, Mueller gives wonderful, hands on tools to get the job done. Through practical tips and examples from his own process, Mueller gives the novice youth culture watcher the tools he or she needs to get a grasp of what's going on in kids' lives. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, pastor, youth worker or teacher, "Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture" is a challenging and practical gift to the Church. A must read for anyone who has anything to do with young people.

Great content and insight

Being a person who works and speaks with at-risk students (who aren't these days) engaging their culture can be one of the most frustrating yet rewarding experiences. It is difficult keeping your message relevant. This book was engaging with its useful information and insights. It has helped me look at what I do differently and has changed the lens in which I look at things. Highly recommend it.
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