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ELCA synod actually listening to “religious nones”

ELCA synod actually listening to “religious nones”

I really, truly heard it for the first time: “I’m not missing something,” she said. “I don’t want you to see me as lacking. I’m perfectly fine without religion.”

So begins The Rev. Laura Everett’s blogpost on the most recent Annual Synod Assembly of the New England Synod of the ELCA. It invited ‘outsiders’ to speak to the gathered body, giving people inside the church the opportunity to actually listen to voices from outside itself.

Everett makes careful observations from the responses of the panels in her post, along with connecting it to Bishop James Hazelwood’s report the next day. (Hazelwood, on his blog “Bishop on a Bike”, refers people back to Everett as she “beat him to the punch” in composing a response to the panel experience.)


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Harriet Baber

Why not recognize that religion is a special taste–like stamp collecting. And that there’s nothing particularly good about being religious, that it’s just a hobby some people happen to enjoy.

Recognizing that there’s no motivation to adopt revisionary or prescriptive accounts of what religion is. Religion is metaphysics–belief in the existence of some supernatural being or state of affairs–and ritual. People who don’t hold such beliefs or participate in religious ceremonies are not religious period. We don’t need to revise our account of religion so that we can make the case that people who have no interest in the supernatural and don’t participate in religious rituals are “really” religious.

People don’t need religion any more than they need stamp collecting. It’s just an entertainment for the minority of us who enjoy that sort of thing. What bugs me is that churches, in their attempt to appeal to people who have no interest in religion, are taking away the entertainments that we religious people enjoy. Give it up! Recognize that only approx. 5 to 10 percent of the population at most have the taste for religiosity and give us the religious goodies we enjoy.

Melissa Holloway

But there is a great deal of this Doing Religion out there with plenty of other non-religious people. They are not necessarily doing this alone. There are all sorts of communities of good will and hope and even love out there outside of church.

To be relevant, I think, the church needs to face head on what I guess is post-modernity- that pulls the rug out from language about ‘being’ the language of all our god words – and grapple with how to arrive at meaning with props like story and ritual and gesture instead.

I am Episcopalian – partly I think -because liturgy can do this I am guessing.


I don’t doubt that the speaker was perfectly fine w/o what *she* thought religion was (and/or religion as she has experienced it to that point).

I think frequently, when people say they “don’t need religion”, they’re actually already DOING religion, but just don’t realize it. By saying they don’t need religion, they’re just cutting themselves off from all the other people Doing Religion, in ways they don’t recognize. We may not “need religion”, but I think we DO need other people—other people Doing Religion.

JC Fisher

Weiwen Ng

Shades of the previous post on how the church creates atheists!

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