Oregon Trail Theology

The Frontier Millennial Christians Face—and How We’re Ready

Eric Atcheson

Sep/2018, 160 Pages, PAPER, 5.5 x 8.5

ISBN-13: 9781640650749

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Millennials, born in the 1980s and 1990s, are often described as an inexplicable enigma by the media and come across to some as a frustrating cadre of narcissists. Though likely to check the "None" box when asked about religion, millennials have entered into adulthood with a great deal of thought devoted to God, faith, and organized religion. Many also crave spiritual richness and inclusive community and are willing to move heaven and earth to find a place—online or in real life—to feel at home, much like the pioneers who set out on the original Oregon Trail. In this book, the iconic Oregon Trail computer game from MECC—highly influential for millennials born in the decade of the 1980s, for many of whom it became an absorbing pursuit, is used as a template throughout to illustrate the journey of faith in which they, "the Oregon Trail generation," now find themselves engaged as adults. While books have been written about ministering to millennial Christians, the perspective of Eric Atcheson, a millennial pastor whose life story spans the gamut of the historic Oregon Trail, offers a fresh take on an oft-written-about concern for the wider church.

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Audience: Millennials; the "spiritual, not religious;" clergy; those who played the Oregon Trail game

Eric Atcheson, is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and most recently served as pastor of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Longview, Washington. His work has been published by The Christian Century, Christianity Today, Sojourners, and Christ & Cascadia. He is an engaging presence on social media, writing for his personal blog, The Theophilus Project, at ericatcheson.com, and tweeting at @RevEricAtcheson. He lives in Vancouver, Washington, with his wife, Carrie, and their two dogs.

"As a member of the Oregon Trail Generation, the mere sight of a pixelated green covered wagon is enough to sweep me into a river of nostalgia. But Eric Atcheson challenges us to move away from nostalgia for the past of either our churches or our country. He offers, instead, trail markers for congregations seeking to share the journey with a generation of faithful nomads."
— David Finnegan-Hosey, College Chaplain and Director of Campus Ministries, Barton College, and author of Christ on the Psych Ward

"This book provides an overview of the immediate leadership crisis facing churches, and how they can embrace the new wave of millennial pioneers who want the church to adapt to face the next journey of faith. Eric writes conversationally, sharing personal stories intermingled with theology, pop culture, and strategies."
— Sarah Stonesifer, Digital Missioner and Learning Lab Coordinator, The Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary

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Keywords

  • Millennials
  • Oregon Trail

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