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Reframing the Tradition

Reframing the Tradition

(p.78) Chapter 4 Reframing the Tradition
The Megachurch and the Mainline
University of Chicago Press

One of the strategies of change used at one of the congregations documented in this book is tied to the Lutheran Church's religious tradition and is akin to the so-called retraditioning—a way of “creating new cultural formations that provide alternative visions of spiritual and ethical life.” This chapter explores the strategies of change and draws on existing cultural, ecological, and market theories of religious change to explain the patterns of change. It looks at the organizational conditions under which congregations will use specific strategies of cultural resignification or market adaptation. It demonstrates how larger religious trends, especially the growing dominance of evangelicalism (that is, the pietist tradition) in American Protestantism and the new spirituality, shape the strategies of change used by the congregations. It also shows how the solutions presented in congregations' causal stories influence the change strategies they employ. Furthermore, the chapter examines how cultural theories understand the process of change and how leaders of the congregations use different strategies of resignification to push their congregations toward a liberal form of sectarianism.

Keywords:   Lutheran Church, religious tradition, congregations, Protestantism, retraditioning, religious change, sectarianism, cultural resignification, evangelicalism, spirituality

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