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Examing the Seven Deadly Sins
August 30, 2007

A Calvin College professor has turned one of her colleges courses into a guidebook on spiritual development for teens and young adults.

Read a reflection by DeYoung on the vice of sloth!

Philosophy professor Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung teaches a class on the seven deadly sins to Calvin seniors, explaining to them that the sins function as a tool to diagnose barriers to discipleship. As part of the class, her students then teach the concept to 18-year-olds.

From that engagement with her students, and the “field-testing,” has come “The Seven Deadly Sins: A Survival Guide,” available Friday, September 7 from Faith Alive Christian Resources.

In her take on the classic motif of Christian discipleship, DeYoung identifies each of the sins (or, as she prefers to call them, capital vices) as a spiritual barrier to discipleship. Students learn to diagnose those barriers to discipleship in their own lives, to remove them, and to replace them with new habits of thought and feeling.

“The book really is a translation project,” says DeYoung. “I seek to take what is rich and enduring in the tradition and make it real and relevant for young people.”

DeYoung anchors “The Seven Deadly Sins” in the Bible and in the church’s historic teaching about moral development, using quotes and small selections to introduce students to the church fathers. Each chapter includes interactive activities to engage students.

Last summer she received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities which payed for her participation in a seminar at Darwin College at the University of Cambridge called "The Seven Deadly Sins as Cultural Constructions in the Middle Ages."

That seminar gave her a chance to dig even deeper into a topic that she has made a passion since her Ph.D. days at the University of Notre Dame.

Faith Alive Christian Resources publishes resources for children’s and youth ministries, small groups and Bible studies, church leadership, evangelism, and worship.

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