Beacon Street Diary blog

The new disestablishment?

Every community group goes through occasional growing pains, and churches are no exception. In "Disorganized Religion", Peggy Bendroth's recent guest post on the UNC Press blog, she explores the ongoing trend away from bloated bureaucracies in American Protestant churches.

Nobody really likes organized religion. It all seems to have so little to do with actual faith — the endless acronyms of denominational programs and taglines, mind-bogglingly complex institutional reorganizations, and the blind impersonality of national synods and assemblies and conferences. It's the cold wet blanket, the flat gray oatmeal that most people imagine when they say they are "spiritual but not religious."

Organized religion just seems so unnecessary. Though American religiosity looks as varied and intense as ever, study after study has shown it drifting loose from the institutional structures that have defined the last two centuries of belief and practice.

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If you'd like to learn more about the evolution of American Congregationalism from Dr. Bendroth herself, condiser attending our upcoming History Matters event on March 23rd.