Saturday, May 12, 2007

Tempers, Risk and Church Attendance

As I'm reading Forbidden Fruit I came across an interesting paragraph:

My own analysis of the Add Health data on temperament and personality orientations indicate that hot-tempered adolescents report lower attendance at religious services than do youth whose parents say their child as not temper problem (see Table 2.1). Only 27 percent of adolescents who attend weekly were reported as having a temper, compared with 38 percent of youth who never attend. Having a temper decreased the odds that teens would report higher attendance by about 23 percent in multivariate analyses (results not shown). Analyses of NSYR data on adolescents' temperment confirm these associations. Adolescents who like to take risks are similarly less likely to attend religious services. Just under two-thirds of those who never attend reported that they liked to take risks, compared with about 54 percent of teens who attend regularly. Hot-tempered and risk-taking youth also report that religion is less important to them, in about equal ratios to that found for lower attendance. p.51

You don't have to be a sociologist to find these numbers interesting, especially if you've been keeping up to date on adolescent brain development. One of the areas that teens need to develop is their capacity to assess risk. They simply can't do it well. Seems to me that there is something between these two facts that needs further exploration.

As well, the line, "It's boring" is apparently true. Risk takers, those who get bored, vote with their feet and leave. I'm not a fan of hype, but there is something to increasing risk in ministry.



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