Shaping the Journey of Emerging Adults by Richard R. Dunn & Jana L. Sundene

Over the past decade there has been a lot of literature written about emerging adulthood. It is this newer concept that connects adolescents to adulthood. I have read a lot of these articles and books and it a very fascinating subject. As I work with emerging adults, I am constantly drawing parallels in my vocation. Furthermore, I have finally stepped out of emerging adulthood (according to the literature) so it is very fascinating to look back at my recent past and see how I emerged in my twenties.

Rarely do I review books with blanket negative statements, but Shaping the Journey of Emerging Adults is just not an interesting book. I applaud the effort and attempt; but the book is really two disjointed books under one cover. Book one summarizes the great works by Christian Smith, Jeffrey Jensen Arnett and others; book two is a work on disciplemaking and spiritual growth. Though these two pieces are interwoven into the book, I didn’t find much real overlap. Meaning, you could take out all references to emerging adulthood and you would have an acceptable book on spiritual development and discipling.

The authors are clear that spiritual development for emerging adults is not easy, “there are no programmatic shortcuts to effective disciplemaking… Disciplemaking is about relationships. Relationships are inefficient… Disciplemaking is unpredictable.” This is true, but odd when the authors spend the next 200 pages producing bullet points and other lists. And I didn’t find any of these proceeding bullet points to be specifically aimed at emerging adults.

Again, I do not disagree with the authors. I do not disagree with their intentions. I do not disagree with their method. I just simply found this book to not really be about emerging adulthood. That’s my two cents.