(ETX Daily Up) – It’s a fact: Christianity is no longer popular with people under 35. Faced with this observation, publishers in the religious sector are innovating by offering books on faith that are more up-to-date. The goal: to evangelize young people dechristianized, but still in search of spirituality.
For several years now, Christianity has seemed to question the place it occupies in our societies. Should it adapt to follow the evolution of the contemporary world or withdraw, at the risk of alienating (even more) the younger generations? Christian and Catholic publishing houses choose the first option. They hope to make a remarkable comeback this fall thanks to a series of forthcoming books that offer a new way of living the Christian faith.
“Called Out” by E. Carrington Heath (Westminster John Knox Press) is one of them. This book addresses themes such as coming out, family and religious trauma in order to guide LGBTQ+ Christians in the exercise of their faith. Although this subject has given rise to enormous tension within the Church, it has been particularly topical since the election of Pope Francis in March 2013. The sovereign pontiff has repeatedly affirmed his support for the LGBTQ+ communityeven if it remains in accordance with the Catholic tradition, which considers marriage as the union between a man and a woman with a view to procreation.
Whatever the Vatican thinks, publisher Jessica Miller Kelley believes that we should expect to see more and more religious works addressed to LGBTQ + believers in bookstores. “Devotional and spiritual books that target this audience will multiply in the future,” she told The Publishers Weekly.
Religion in the Age of Social Media
Another trend in religious publishing: titles that combine spirituality and personal development. It must be said that the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed many faithful, deprived of religious ceremonies for many months, to turn to a more intimate practice of their faith. Devotional books such as “Liturgies for Hope: Sixty Prayers for the Highs, Lows, and Everything in Between” (WaterBrook) and “Seasons of Waiting: 52 Devotions” (Tyndale House Publishers) accompany them on this inner journey, while helping to overcome the difficult moments of everyday life.
The first, by Elizabeth Moore and Audrey Elledge, is aimed particularly at people prone to burnout, anxiety or stress—very symptomatic ailments of our time. It features “60 contemporary and comforting liturgies” that shrug off the “hustle and bustle of modern life” and will guide them in prayer, according to publisher WaterBrook. The second was written by Barb Hill, an American trauma therapist. She talks about the virtues of waiting under the prism of spirituality and mental well-being. All this, accompanied by illustrations in very “millennial-friendly” pastel tones.
Reagan Rose reconciles productivity and Christianity in his first book “Redeeming Productivity” (Moody Publishers). The writer and Bible scholar reflects on some of the precepts he discusses in his newsletter, podcast and YouTube channel. “We often feel overworked, overwhelmed, defeated and discouraged. The world tells us to be productive in order to get the most out of this life. The Bible says to be productive in order to earn more in our next life,” says Reagan Rose in his new book.
While Christian publishing houses rely on boldness to arouse a renewed interest in religion among younger generations, they also rely on recognized writers to meet their need for spirituality. Thus we find, at Thomas Nelson editions, “Resilient Hope” by the author of bestsellers Christine Caine. Morgan Harper Nichols, an artist-poet with 1.9 million subscribers on Instagram, will soon publish a book with the evocative title: “You Are Only Just Beginning: Lessons for the Journey Ahead” (Zondervan). Also highly anticipated is best-selling author and former professional football player Tim Tebow’s first devotional book, “Mission Possible One-Year Devotional” (WaterBrook). Something to give food for thought to young people likely to be interested in religion.