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Rise of the “Dones”

Rise of the “Dones”

Mark Sandlin says that next to the “Spiritual But Not Religious” (SBNR) folks, there is another growing group of folks who are a growing part of the culture’s spiritual landscape. He calls them “the Dones” and they are faithful people who are done with church.

The God Article on Patheos:

In the last month, we’ve seen a new moniker making the rounds: “The Dones.” I find this a much more helpful label because it’s not as broad as SBNR or “The Nones”

Essentially, The Dones are unaffiliated believers.

While it sounds similar to the SBNR or even the The Nones, there is an important difference – one that should perk up the ears of the body of Christ: The Dones have all been active in a church. Frequently, they were among the most active.

I say it should perk up the ears of the body of Christ, but as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, it is much more likely to perk up the Church’s defenses.

For me, this is where the whole issue gets fascinating.

The Dones are done – walking away from Church, never to come back. They were once considered essential, valuable members of the community right up until the moment they left. Now they are big dummies that just don’t get it.


I think we may have just found the problem. That’s not really community. That’s not the unconditional love I hear preached from pulpits and in the teachings of Jesus. That’s a

“what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” kind of attitude that reeks of power structures, fitting in and meeting expectations. It’s basically what you would expect to find in institutions that are centuries old.

Interestingly enough, unlike the larger group of SBNR, some of whom are intentionally and unintentionally seeking out other forms of spiritual community, all of the Dones are done with spiritual community of any form.

The Church is killing spiritual community or at least killing it in an ever-growing portion of our population. The Dones’ experience with the Church killed their desire to ever go to that place of spiritual relationship in community again.


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This summer while traveling around the country, I was lucky enough to visit several people I’d known because they had once been pillars of the parish where I worship. This parish is small, economically struggling, and a very faithful, vibrant, intimate community.

I was fascinated to be told by two people, independently, that they had chosen to affiliate with large churches in their new location. They wanted the anonymity and the freedom from community responsibility that such parishes could offer.

I’d say they were Done with a certain kind of institutional religiosity. They weren’t Done with being Episcopalians or Christians.

Jan Adams

Chaz Brooks

I did ask. It’s just that, try as I might, I can’t connect your generalized list of complaints to actions or policies you want the Church to take. I swear I’m not being dense on purpose. I just don’t know what you want me or anyone else to do.

Chaz Brooks

Love how this guide has framed his argument so that anyone who points how fantastically high yet ridiculously vague his expectations are, who likes centuries old institutions, is just a tyrannical, defensive killer of “spiritual community.”

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