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Tradition and Change in the American Religious Landscape

Tradition and Change in the American Religious Landscape

(p.178) Chapter 7 Tradition and Change in the American Religious Landscape
The Megachurch and the Mainline
University of Chicago Press

Scholarly and popular accounts of the restructuring of American religion suggest that the culture of religious choice, seeker spirituality, and the move away from denominationalism have weakened the relevancy and authority of specific religious traditions. This book has provided a window onto the ongoing process of religious change at the onset of the twenty-first century and suggests that the familiar story of restructuring needs to be amended. This chapter explains how this study of Lutheran congregations contributes to the larger account of religious change in America. It begins by examining how the colonization of Lutheranism by evangelical and non-denominational religious forces has altered the historic tradition. It then shows how these changes have affected the nature of community at several of the congregations. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how this study contributes to our understanding of the more general processes of religious and cultural change.

Keywords:   congregations, religious traditions, religious change, cultural change, Lutheranism, denominationalism, seeker spirituality, America

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