Profiles of the Disaffiliated: Four Case Studies

By Amy L. Sales

Greenwood Press, 1995

This chapter examines the experiences of individuals who, for one reason or another, gave up their formal affiliation and had their names deleted from the membership rolls of the church or synagogue. The profiles in this chapter show us the complexity of the disaffiliateds' motivations: (1) their resistance to organized religion; (2) their continuing acceptance of alternatives; and (3) their ongoing search for significance and meaning in life. These are people whose relationship with the institution of religion failed. They could not reconcile financial, personal, developmental, or sociopolitical issues with the institution. Still, they have religious feelings, and they are struggling with religious concepts. In the process of searching for what works for them, they have developed personal religions. This is not relativism but individualism, the attempt of each to create his or her own religion. To recapture the dropout, the church and synagogue are thus challenged to compete with life interests, alternative sources of spirituality and meaning, and the individualistic belief that a life of faith is possible without religious community.

Topic: Congregations and Synagogues, Ritual, Membership, Affiliation, Religion, Synagogues and Congregations

Name of Publication: Church and Synagogue Affiliation - Theory, Research and Practice

Editor: Sales, Amy , Tobin, Gary A.

Page Number(s): 95-108

Funder: Lilly Endowment, Inc.

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Genre: Book Chapter

Coverage: United States

Identifier: ISBN 0-313-29681-2

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Editors

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Sales, Amy L. Profiles of the Disaffiliated: Four Case Studies. Church and Synagogue Affiliation - Theory, Research and Practice. Greenwood Press. 1995: 95-108.


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