The challenge and opportunity of adolescence: a theological diagnosis and response

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Michael D. Langford


The statistics both command and belie attention. In our culture, adolescents are facing a time of crisis—though probably not the crisis that you think. All of the traditional markers thankfully indicate health; for the past several years, rates in adolescent pregnancy, abortion, suicide, and mortality have all been in decline. More youth are in school than ever, more have a positive outlook on their future, and more are involved in the civic process. However, it is not only these quite measurable “hard” statistics that determine health. There are other phenomena—we will call them soft categories—which defy simple quantification and are therefore usually not put forward in popular discussion of the present state of adolescence. And the colors of these soft categories do not paint a rosy picture.

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Adolescent psychology; Adolescence; Technology and civilization; Globalization; Postmodernism; Christianity and culture