Loose Connections and Liberal Theology: Blurring the Boundaries in Two Church-Based Communities of Spiritual Practice

Penny A Edgell, Derek Robey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

We used a mixed methods approach-including ethnographic fieldwork, interviews, and a survey-to study two innovative Christian contemplative worship services housed in a mainline Protestant congregation in a midwestern city. These services employed boundary-blurring practices designed to attract the "de-churched"-those who had been involved in a Christian congregation in the past but who had at some point disengaged from organized religion. Though attracting some formerly de-churched participants, these services were far more successful in attracting several other constituencies united by their liberal theology and by a preference for loose connections. We argue that these worship services are best understood as thriving communities of sustained spiritual practice where contemplative rituals sacralize both theistic and extra-theistic, Christian and non-Christian, symbols and beliefs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)649-667
Number of pages19
JournalJournal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Volume54
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Keywords

  • "nones."
  • Loose connections
  • Ritual

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