The United States is in the middle of an unprecedented spiritual, technological, demographic, political and social transformation— moving from an older, mostly white, mostly Protestant, religion-friendly society to a younger diverse, multiethnic, pluralistic culture, where no one faith group will have the advantage. At the same time, millions of Americans — including about a third of young Americans —are abandoning organized religion altogether in favor of disorganized disbelief.
Reorganized Religion will be an in-depth and critical look at why people are leaving American churches—a sense of disappointment with large institutions, blatant hypocrisy, public scandals, the incestuous ties of Christian leaders to politics and power, the rise of virtual church in the pandemic—and what we lose as a society as it continues.
But it will also accept the dismantling of what has come before and try to help readers reinvent the path forward. This book will look at the future of organized religion in America and outline the options facing churches and other faith groups. Will they retreat? Will they become irrelevant? Or will they, in the word of famed essayist and author E.B. White, quietly plot their resurrection?
Written by veteran religion reporter Bob Smietana, Reorganized Religion is a journalistic look at the state of the American church and its future. It draws on polling data, interviews with experts, and reporting on how faith communities old and new are coping with the changing religious landscape, along with personal stories about how faith is lived in everyday life. It also profiles faith communities and leaders who are finding interesting ways to reimagine what church might look like in the future and discuss various ways we can reinvent this organization so it survives and thrives. The book also reflects the hope that perhaps people of faith can learn to become, if not friends with the larger culture, then at least better neighbors.
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