This presentation is based on a qualitative research project involving young people who are active in an evangelical church in Sweden. Using their narratives and experiences as a starting point, I will discuss how religious values and beliefs can be transmitted to and within a group of young Christians, and how this process may involve negotiation, interpretation and reinterpretation of those values.
For young people, who are active in a congregation and its youth organization, religious transmission takes place on several levels and in various environments. There is for instance an official religious message that comes e.g. from the adult representatives of the main congregation, and from the youth leaders. Here the communication is in many ways quite direct, and it may involve a level of discipline, that becomes visible if the implicit and explicit rules within the congregation are not followed. But there is also an ongoing process within the youth group, where beliefs and values are discussed and transmitted within the peer group. The communication process on this level is in several ways different, since the relations and power relations between the individuals are different.
In their everyday lives, the participants in my study also encounter ideas about what it means, or should mean, to be a young Christian today, in contexts outside the church, such as in school. Such more general conceptions are subsequently related to their own faith and the more specific ideas and values that are transmitted in the church context.
SIEF 2011 People Make Places - ways of feeling the world, Lissabon, 17-21/4 2011.