Our seventh week of Sociology was fun because we got to revisit Chaves’ book chapters five and six. In which, he discusses the size of an average congregation is declining; however, the ones people currently attend are getting larger. This feels like a contradiction, but actually makes sense once you realize the informality of worship and attendance is increasing—thus making a more casual church setting more popular. Additionally, the leadership of churches are declining since most tend to be older, white males. The leader of an organized religion is less trusted due to multiple factors; mostly in the fact that people don’t like to be told and instructed what to do, or how to believe. So, women ministries are growing as a result to further enhance a feminist perspective in a role that has been, to long dominated by men.
Then, on Thursday, we watched a movie titled “Born Again”. A documentary short film chronicling the life of a few of the members of a Fundamentalist Baptist Church. Some of the couples had deep personal issues; which resulted in them splitting. All throughout, the members looked or answers to those everyday/individual problems in Scripture. The pastor would meet with some of them regularly to discuss the Bible and their own problems and they would consult the Bible together. It gave them a sense of constancy, a rulebook to follow. However, we talked in class how this inadvertently creates a wall between them and the outside world; thus putting them in the category of a sectarian church. To be honest, I don’t think they care about what denomination they are categorized.
One thought on “Chaves 5 & 6; and Born Again movie”
On the topic of decreasing members in formal churches and increasing members in informal churches, would this be due to fitting the congregation’s needs and wants? I do agree with you on the statement where “people do not like being told what to do” and I do believe this plays a large role when it comes down to decreasing numbers in formal churches.
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