By Mark Chaves
Extra american citizens belong to spiritual congregations than to the other type of voluntary organization. What those titanic numbers quantity to--what individuals are doing within the over 300,000 church buildings, synagogues, mosques, and temples within the United States--is a query that resonates via each region of yankee society, quite in those occasions of "faith-based initiatives," "moral majorities," and militant fundamentalism. And it's a query spoke back intensive and intimately in Congregations in the USA. Drawing at the 1998 nationwide Congregations Study--the first systematic learn of its kind--as good as a vast diversity of quantitative, qualitative, and ancient proof, this booklet presents a finished review of the main major type of collective spiritual expression in American society: neighborhood congregations. between its extra dazzling findings, Congregations in the USA unearths that, regardless of the media concentrate on the political and social actions of spiritual teams, the humanities are literally way more crucial to the workings of congregations. the following we see how, faraway from emphasizing the pursuit of charity or justice via social companies or politics, congregations almost always site visitors in ritual, wisdom, and sweetness in the course of the cultural actions of worship, non secular schooling, and the humanities. besides clarifying--and debunking--arguments on either side of the talk over faith-based projects, the data offered right here contains a distinct and helpful source, answering formerly unanswerable questions on the scale, nature, makeup, funds, actions, and proclivities of those enterprises on the very heart of yankee lifestyles. (20040419)
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Extra resources for Congregations in America
Congregations’ typical involvement in social services involves small groups of volunteers carrying out well-deﬁned tasks on a periodic basis. 3. Congregations, when they do perform social services, mainly help to meet individuals’ emergency needs in a way that involves minimal contact between congregation members and the needy. They are not especially holistic—indeed, they are not especially religious—in their approach to social services. 4. The rare congregations that engage more intensively in social services do so mainly in collaboration with a wide range of religious organizations, secular nonproﬁt organizations, and government agencies.
Religious television does not, in general, compete with congregations; watching it is better understood as a kind of leisure activity that supplements, rather than substitutes for, congregation-based religious practice. Religious switching is relevant to the different fortunes of evangelical and liberal Protestants, but not in the way many people think. The most important trend in religious switching is that conservative denominations are losing fewer people to moderate and liberal denominations than in previous decades, perhaps because upward social mobility no longer prompts switching from being, say, Baptist, to being Presbyterian or Episcopalian.
7 Variations within American religion are interesting and important, but the key point for this overview is that the growth of evangelical denominations—with their higher levels of religious participation—is not sufﬁcient to offset liberal losses and thereby change the general picture I have painted. This picture is one in which fewer people engage weekly in religious activity, but without believing less in the supernatural, and 34 m e m b e r s , m o n e y, a n d l e a d e r s without becoming less concerned about spirituality.
Congregations in America by Mark Chaves
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