Almost a third of American Millennials (not to mention their Gen-X elders) have chosen to live a life free from institutional religion. Many of those who do remain in the denominations and faith expressions in which they were raised tend to practice their faith in ways rather more syncretic and casual than previous generations. But beyond the surprising and puzzling statistics, don’t these “seekers” and “nones” have their own stories to tell?
Kaya Oakes, herself a “revert” to the Catholic faith, doesn’t just write from the perspective of her own encounters with faith and its absence, but also introduces the reader to a broad range of voices and experiences, interviewing dozens of young Americans on how and why they practice (or don’t practice) their faith. She also explores specifically how a Catholic generation of young seekers is experiencing, and changing, the Catholic Church in the United States. “The future of faith,” she concludes, “remains a mystery. But isn’t faith also a mystery?”
Kaya Oakes is author of Radical Reinvention: An Unlikely Return to the Catholic Church (Counterpoint, 2012), Slanted and Enchanted: The Evolution of Indie Culture (Holt, 2009), and Telegraph (Pavement- Saw, 2007), She teaches writing at the University of California, Berkeley.