BOOK REVIEW – Kirkus Reviews

An accessible, relatable guide for bringing young adults back into the church.

With today’s youth being pulled toward autonomy and what some might say sinful pleasures, do age-old traditions and religious ideals have much appeal? McMurtry tackles this dilemma in his well-thought-out, innovative study that looks into the question of why young adults tend to escape and ultimately ignore the call of the church; he offers solutions to end the crisis, too. He begins his argument with the theory that the Bible isn’t a litany of rules and burdensome edicts but a treasure map guiding its reader to a bounty of “spiritual gold.” Recognizing that today’s youth respond well to acquisition and wealth, McMurtry comments that Christianity asks its believers for much investing, although the religion, he says, promises such great rewards that there’s no question of the investment’s value. Overall, McMurtry’s view of religion differs greatly from the fire and brimstone generally associated with the pulpit. Instead, he draws parallels to movies such as National Treasure, Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Wizard of Ozto explain God’s presence in the world, emphasizing God’s love for humanity and desire to be close to people. In addition to his understanding of young adults’ drive for monetary gain and general acceptance, McMurtry also recognizes today’s trend toward physical fitness. He goes so far as to present the church as a “Spiritual Fitness Center” in hopes that young people will better understand how the church can shape them on the inside. Written with openness and insight, this guide outlines issues that exist in any religious group. Religious leaders will benefit from the helpful advice in this user-friendly guide, and lapsed religious youth will appreciate the nonjudgmental tone. The clarity of prose and engaging, conversational style suits his book’s purpose beautifully and enlightens McMurtry’s clear, persuasive arguments.

A sincere, well-written study of why youth leave religion and how to lure them back.