Why Churches Work

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Why Churches Work

Post by hawkgrrrl » 22 Jul 2019, 16:31

I read this interesting article in The Atlantic about the rise and fall of non-religious churches, an experiment that came about because people who had left religion still felt interest in a weekly congregation experience.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archi ... RYPbm9QPHQ

Mormons, or rather, ex-Mormons get a shout out at being one group making this work because the Oasis group (I don't know this group, but maybe people in SLC know it) comprises of people who identify as "ex-Mo" which is itself kind of a cultural identity. Studies showed, though, that churches last when they require sacrifices, and the problem is that once you no longer see those sacrifices as necessary for a higher purpose or sacred, you lose interest in the sacrifices that are required.
For religious communes, the more sacrifices demanded, the longer they lasted; however, this connection didn’t hold for secular communes. The implication, Norenzayan said, was that challenging rituals and taxing rules work only when they’re part of something sacred; once the veil of sacrality is removed, people no longer care to commit to things that demand their time and dedication. “If it’s ‘Come and go as you wish,’ that’s not going to work,” he said. Even if secular congregations could create a sense of the sacred, they tend to attract people who are explicitly looking for a community without costly rituals—one that lets you do what you want.
Personally, though, I really do struggle with the sacrifices that I don't see as divine. I feel like a shrug sometimes at church. I just can't get too jazzed about a lot of it.

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Re: Why Churches Work

Post by LookingHard » 22 Jul 2019, 17:54

I have attended Oasis (not SLC) and it was good. Maybe just shy of 100 people. I was told an ex-Mo was there, but he was busy conducting that Sunday and I didn't get a chance to chat. Good music. Good speakers. Donuts/fruit/coffee. Good social breaks. They organized lots of service projects - enough where you probably couldn't do all of them, but no hard sell to participate. I did notice not many people with kids - like maybe 2 families. The only other negative was that the Oasis meeting place was an hour drive from where I live.

I am still attending the LDS church to help preserve my marriage. Otherwise I might give Oasis a try. I sure keep reading and even feeling that human connection is one of the most important human needs.

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Re: Why Churches Work

Post by SilentDawning » 23 Jul 2019, 05:55

hawkgrrrl wrote:
22 Jul 2019, 16:31
Personally, though, I really do struggle with the sacrifices that I don't see as divine. I feel like a shrug sometimes at church. I just can't get too jazzed about a lot of it.
The sacrifices have no meaning without faith. Once faith depletes, for me, it's about taking the easy road.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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Re: Why Churches Work

Post by Roy » 23 Jul 2019, 10:34

I wrote the following on another thread:
Since my faith transition and my loss of belief that the LDS requirements are necessarily required to get me into heaven, I have had to adjust my expectations and my boundaries. A good portion of my former contributions were motivated by my belief that God would bless my family now and welcome us into glory as a reward. When that belief changed then my former contribution level became unsustainable. I had to reduce my contributions of time and resources to the point where I felt that there was a relative balance between what I am investing into the church and the good that I derive from the church for my family. IOW, I personally do have some expectations of the church in the form of community and support. These expectations are consistent with what I have historically experienced from the church organization.
DW and I continue to hold callings and are high contributers in making our tri-ward cub scout organization work. At several other area christian churches our level of participation and volunteerism would be unusual and pleasantly surprising. And yet in our LDS ward we feel like "half-milers" doing just enough to maintain our relationship to the church and escape unwanted attention.

I also feel that growing up in the LDS church prepared me to expect to be active in my local community. I received an award for volunteer of the year in my town for my work with the cub scouts, the special olympics, and the public library. I did not know that I had been nominated and did not feel like I had been doing anything special - just contributing my small part to quality community programs.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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