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Passing on the FaithTransforming Traditions for the Next Generation of Jews, Christians, and
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James L. Heft

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780823226474

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823226474.001.0001

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Congregations That Get It: Understanding Religious Identities in the Next Generation

Congregations That Get It: Understanding Religious Identities in the Next Generation

(p.103) Congregations That Get It: Understanding Religious Identities in the Next Generation
Passing on the Faith

Tobin Belzer

Richard W. Flory

Nadia Roumani

Brie Loskota

Fordham University Press

Organized religion in the United States is on the threshold of a seismic shift. Today, religious and community leaders are witnessing a crisis in the transmission of religious memory, practice, and tradition to the next generation. In major urban centers across the United States, there is a generalized perception that individuals in their twenties and early thirties constitute a “black hole” in congregational life. Members of the young-adult population are simply missing from most churches, synagogues, and mosques. This chapter presents a study that explores the experiences and attitudes of young adults who are exceptions to the norm—namely, those who are actively participating in congregational life. Based on qualitative interviews and participant observation, the research team constructed profiles of Jewish, Christian (Protestant and Catholic), and Muslim congregations. To explore the intergenerational transmission of faith, they analyzed individuals within an institutional context and the institutions themselves. This research highlights the similarities and differences among and between individuals and congregations across four faith traditions.

Keywords:   United States, organized religion, religious life, young adults, Christians, Jews, Muslims

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