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College Hookup Culture and Christian Ethics

The Lives and Longings of Emerging Adults



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College Hookup Culture and Christian Ethics by Jennifer Erin Beste
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In America, Christian adolescents and young adults have grown up with fiercely competing narratives about sex, relationships, and fulfillment. Within a Christian world of church services, formal religious education, and retreats, they have been warned about the dangers and sinfulness of premarital sex. All the while, popular culture has inundated them with a very different message: casual sex is fun, thrilling, expected, and no-big-deal. Popular culture's influence is perhaps nowhere more evident than on college campuses where hookups-casual sexual encounters devoid of commitment or emotional attachment-have become the norm for emerging adults. College Hookup Culture and Christian Ethics engages 126 college students as sober ethnographers whose task is to observe and analyze their own complex social reality. Part I reveals students' disillusionment with contemporary sexual and relational norms, challenging benevolent or even neutral views of hookup culture. Part II brings the students into conversation with Christianity's counter-cultural narrative of what it means to become fully human and experience genuine joy and fulfillment. The spokesperson for this vision is theologian Johann Metz, whose portrait of Jesus enduring his desert temptations and becoming fully human resonates profoundly with today's college students. Comparing Jesus' way of being in the world with their college culture's status quo, many undergraduates discover in "poverty of spirit" a hopeful, counter-cultural path to authenticity and happiness. Part III culminates in a call to action. Students explore obstacles to sexual justice on college campuses, identify key commitments necessary for change, and envision how undergraduates can work to create the college culture they truly desire and deserve.

Author Biography

Jennifer Beste is Professor of Theology and Koch Chair of Catholic Thought and Culture at the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, MN. She is the author of God and the Victim: Traumatic Intrusions on Grace and Freedom. Her research interests include trauma theory and Christian theology, ethnography and Christian ethics, sexual ethics, and feminist ethics.
Release date NZ
February 8th, 2018
Country of Publication
United States
Oxford University Press Inc
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