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Religion, Spirituality, Millennial, Faith, Religious Studies, Young Adults, Echo Generation.

Listening to The Echo
young adults talk about religion, spirituality, God, gods and their world by Tom Sherwood

Why do so few young people attend church?

Why are Jewish and Muslim millennials so disenchanted with religion?

Why are young adult Catholics so angry? How can parents, grandparents, and religious leaders understand the younger generation’s widespread rejection of institutional religion?

Tom Sherwood was commissioned by the United Church of Canada to find a way to hear the voice of thoughtful, spiritual, ethical young adults who reject the religious institutions of their families. They are the “Echo Generation” – the children of Baby Boomers, the Echo from the Boom. But they do not echo their parents’ opinions or values.

Sherwood conducted a national research project in which 722 young adults from across Canada offered their perspectives on such topics as religion, spirituality, sexuality, the environmental crisis, family, God, gods, suffering and the sacred.

Listening to The Echo reports the responses of the participants in their own words. Young adults speak vividly and insightfully about the beliefs and practices that give meaning to their lives and the world as they see it. In the diverse voices of this thought-provoking work, Sherwood finds the common threads of experience and perspective that bind the members of this distinctive generation together despite their innovative individual spiritualities.

Anyone interested in the contemporary dynamics of religion and social change or a deeper understanding of how millennials see their world will appreciate Listening to the Echo. Sherwood has truly listened, and the message is positive: the kids are alright.

Tom Sherwood was uniquely positioned to carry out the significant study this book details. He is a United Church minister, award-winning university teacher, and former university chaplain. Like the young adults he describes, he is realistic about the challenges our world faces yet deeply hopeful about the future.

Material in this book has inspired four years of documentary theatre productions by Faith and Arts Ottawa: The god Monologues 2013, godVERBATIM in the 2014 Ottawa Fringe Festival, O god in the 2015 Fringe, and Trans-Script in the 2016 season.


Tom Sherwood

What People are Saying

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