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Finding Faith

Finding Faith: The Spiritual Quest of the Post-Boomer Generation

Richard Flory
Donald E. Miller
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Finding Faith
    Book Description:

    Despite the masses still lining up to enter mega-churches with warehouse-like architecture, casually dressed clergy, and pop Christian music, the "Post-Boomer" generation-those ranging in age from twenty to forty-is having second thoughts. In this perceptive look at the evolving face of Christianity in contemporary culture, sociologists Richard Flory and Donald E. Miller argue that we are on the verge of another potential revolution in how Christians worship and associate with one another.Just as the formative experiences of Baby Boomers were colored by such things as the war in Vietnam, the 1960s, and a dramatic increase in their opportunities for individual expression, so Post-Boomers have grown up in less structured households with working (often divorced) parents. These childhood experiences leave them craving authentic spiritual experience, rather than entertainment, and also cause them to question institutions. Flory and Miller develop a typology that captures four current approaches to the Christian faith and argue that this generation represents a new religious orientation of "expressive communalism," in which they seek spiritual experience and fulfillment in community and through various expressive forms of spirituality, both private and public.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-4426-7
    Subjects: Religion, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-xiv)
  4. Chapter 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-18)

    Religion, it seems, is everywhere in the news. Whether abroad in various war zones like Afghanistan or Iraq or in persistent crisis situations such as between the Israelis and Palestinians, religion plays a central organizing role in the events taking place there. At home, religion plays a role in seemingly everything from presidential elections to immigration (we’re now seeing T-shirts and bumper stickers that ask, “Who would Jesus deport?”), to such issues as gay marriage, abortion, and the teaching of intelligent design as science in public schools. America, most polls show, is one of the most religious nations in the...

  5. Chapter 2 Innovators
    (pp. 19-51)

    When entering the worship service at the Bridge Communities, one is struck by all the activity that is going on simultaneously, yet all organized around worship and building community. There are digitally produced images projected on multiple walls of the space that are both visually engaging and helping to provide a visual narrative to what is happening at each part of the service. There are also various artworks set on easels and hanging from the walls that have been created for (or in) different services in the past. At the same time the congregation might be singing, and several of...

  6. Chapter 3 Appropriators
    (pp. 52-83)

    As we drove up to Anaheim Stadium—where Major League Baseball’s Angels play—we were wondering what this particular evening would look and feel like. We were on our way to the annual Harvest Crusade, held for three nights each summer since 1990 at the home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.¹ The Harvest Crusade is modeled after such largescale events as the Billy Graham Crusades, which themselves are modeled after similar evangelistic crusades held over the last 150 years by such preachers as Dwight Moody, R. A. Torrey, and Billy Sunday, and are led by pastor and evangelist...

  7. Chapter 4 Resisters
    (pp. 84-123)

    When we heard about the conference that placed two of our types in direct contact with each other, we thought it was too good to be true. We would be able to see how representatives of our Innovators and our Resisters interacted with each other, in particular how they framed what they each saw as the important issues currently facing the church. This was a one-day conference sponsored by Talbot Seminary, and promoted as a “conversation with the emerging church.” The brochure listed as “leading the conversation” several faculty members from the school, along with several representatives of the emerging...

  8. Chapter 5 Reclaimers
    (pp. 124-156)

    We arrived at the Orthodox church¹ at about nine forty-five in the morning for the ten o’clock service. Although we were only a few minutes early, hardly anyone was outside on the church grounds, and only a few cars were in the parking lot. Our plan was to attend the morning worship service, and then to meet up with several young adult converts to Orthodoxy whom we had previously contacted, most of whom attended this church. As we passed through the iron gate and into the walled and cloistered courtyard, we were warmly greeted by Harold, an elderly gentleman who...

  9. Chapter 6 Conclusion
    (pp. 157-194)

    In the emerging social scientific literature on spirituality, analysts have largely framed “spirituality” as a counterpart to “religion,” with the spiritual referring to the inner life, and the individualistic search for meaning, whether this is from within a particular religious tradition or traditions or from a religiously unaffiliated “spiritual but not religious” approach (e.g., Carroll and Roof 2002; Fuller 2001, Porterfield 2001; Roof 1993; 1999; Wuthnow 1998, 2001, 2003). Spirituality is thus alternately framed as a search for meaning, a quest for spiritual fulfillment and/or development, or a move from an understanding of the spiritual as a place of “dwelling”...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 195-202)
  11. References
    (pp. 203-212)
  12. Index
    (pp. 213-228)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 229-230)