Monday, August 24, 2009

Finding Faith by Flory and Miller.

I took a break from doing heavy lifting with history books and read a 2008 book on dominant trends within current evangelicalism based on a study by two sociologists of religion, Richard Flory and Donald E. Miller. Their book is called Finding Faith: The Spiritual Quest of the Post-Boomer Generation. They are specifically interested in finding the religious or spiritual trends among the under 40 crowd. To do so, they spent two years interviewing 100 people and visiting a dozen significant congregations around the country.

They build their analysis around 4 types of trends or styles that they see among evangelicalism: what they call Innovators, Appropriators, Resisters, and Reclaimers. The innovators are represented by people like Brian McLaren and Leonard Sweet, and, according to the authors, prefer smaller congregations with a high level of engagement with the larger community and social issues. The Appropriators are the large Mall type mega churches that offer hundreds of programming choices to the religious consumer. The Resisters are those who are critical of postmodernism and resistant to any accommodation to current cultural changes and who keep a strong focus on rational faith and careful exegesis of the scriptures and ultimately desire to move young people back to a rational, text-based faith. Finally the Reclaimers are those evangelicals who are leaving evangelical churches in order to associate with strongly liturgical churches such as the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic or Anglican. They are reclaiming the ancient traditions of worship of the early or Patristic church.

What do you think of these four types of response? Are there any responses that you might feel that they left out? Which response do you most identify with?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"Searching" and "Seeking"

Search engines, bots, apps, information... information overload. Is there an app for seeking God? We go a little nuts if we can't get google to display what we're really looking for... ever seeking but never coming to a knowledge of the truth. How do search technologies shape the way we think about, or don't think about, seeking God? How can digital technologies help us seek and find God, and how can they get in the way? With so many access points into our lives--cell phones, social networks, pings and pokes, and on and on--how do we create time and space for God to find us, and us to find him?