Book Launch Party: Back Pocket God: Religion & Spirituality in the Lives of Emerging Adults

Thursday, April 30 at 11:00am to 12:00pm

Online - RSVP to receive a link

Join us for a conversation about the changing role of religion and spirituality in the lives of young adults.

The USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture is hosting a book launch party for Back Pocket God: Religion and Spirituality in the Lives of Emerging Adults (Oxford University Press). Hear from authors Melinda Lundquist Denton (Sociology, University of Texas, San Antonio) and Richard Flory (USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture), with additional comments from Varun Soni (USC Dean of Religious Life) and Rebecca Sager (Sociology, Loyola Marymount University).

RESCHEDULED - Due to concerns about public health and the Coronavirus, CRCC has decided to reschedule the book launch and host it as a virtual book discussion. You will still have the opportunity to hear from the authors and respondents and ask questions over a webinar platform.

Thursday, April 30, 2020
11 am - noon PST

A link to join our online party will be sent out the week of the event. 

Please RSVP to receive the link. 

Book Description:
More than a decade ago, a group of researchers began to study the religious and spiritual lives of American teenagers. They tracked these young people over the course of a decade, revisiting them periodically to check in on the state -and future- of religion in America, and reporting on their findings in a series of books, beginning with Soul Searching (2005). Now, with Back-Pocket God, this mammoth research project comes to its conclusion. What have we learned about the changing shape of religion in America?

Melinda Lundquist Denton and Richard Flory find that the story of young adult religion is one of an overall decline in commitment and affiliation, and in general, a moving away from organized religion. Yet, there is also a parallel trend in which a small, religiously committed group of emerging adults claim faith as an important, although often routine, fixture in their lives. Emerging adults don't seem so much opposed to religion or to religious organizations, as they are uninterested in religion, at least as they have experienced it. Instead, young people approach religion like an app on the ubiquitous smartphones in our back pockets: readily accessible, easy to control, and useful-but only for limited purposes.


USC School of Religion
Hebrew Union College
USC Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies
West Angeles Bible College


Event Type

Lecture / Talk / Workshop


Students, Alumni, Faculty/Staff


University Park Campus


CRCC, LI-Humanities, employees


Center for Religion and Civic Culture (CRCC)
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