I enjoyed hearing about the different faiths that people read about. I felt that this technique of sharing different traditions was effective, as it switched up the pace of the class, making for a more engaging conversation. I enjoyed learning about all of the different faith traditions, as they were all so unique and displayed different aspects of American culture. Many of the book presentations touched on cultural phenomenons that are occurring right now, and explaining how religions are reconciling their beliefs to “keep up with the times”. While I am not one for verbal participation, I thoroughly enjoyed the questions that other students had towards the presentations and traditions.
One presentation that stood out to me was the one on Paradigm churches. I’ve known about this church style for a while, but was not aware of the religious experiences of the people who attend. I think the Paradigm churches are a good example of how religious life is not dying in the United States, but instead being reinvented for the millennial generation. The Paradigm churches offer community, which is an important aspect of belief, and yet focus on the individual’s relationship with God. These churches have succeeded by creating a safe space of worship for anyone who wants to join, while keeping with traditional Evangelical values. This intersection of modernity and tradition is interesting to study, as it appears to be an effective tool in growing congregations. I wonder how this phenomenon of Paradigm churches will affect the “non-religious” statistic, and create a rise in church attendance once again.