The current installment of the COEC began meeting in 2007.

We are currently on a "break," for no particular reason, and many little reasons - mostly pertaining to life circumstances. If anyone is interested in calling a meeting, feel free to post on the blog, join the google group (see link below) and send an email, or contact either Nancy (nancykj10@yahoo.com) or Jesse (schroeder.jesse@gmail.com) for more information.

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Changing Faiths: The Paradox of Choice

We started this conversation on Sunday and I would be interested in continuing it here.

What is your reaction to this headline:

Americans Change Faiths at Rising Rate

Is this good for the church, especially considering what we may be emerging from, or is this a symptom of a flawed logic that more choices is better? This related and fascinating lecture is worth a listen:

Why aren't we happy?

I'm not sure that we'll ever have fewer church expressions to consider (someone should do a graph correlating the number church denominations and the number of available TV channels...)

To the grail knight in all of us (in honor of Indiana Jones 4): How do we choose wisely?


Jesse said...

Great article and corresponding questions. Some things that stuck out in the article to me was the immediate connection between religion and political/cultural decisions (aka religious consumer power). Also, the decline of mainline and Catholic churches, but the increase of Evangelical churches (megachurches b/c they have smaller ministries inside).

A lot of this echoes what Tony Jones says in the first chapter of "The New Christians." It also reminds me of McLaren's comments about the "civil religion." I think the most important factor is not what denomination or segment we are aligned with (I like that "unaffiliated" is still an affiliation according to this survey). But rather, how are we living out our religious beliefs?

Again, we can all hold different denominational membership cards (or even belong to different religions), but how do we let those beliefs inform our life and actions? Is it for the sake of polarization? Division b/w left and right, conservative and liberal? Or do my religious beliefs inform my everyday values, actions, purchases, statements, etc.

Andrew you are right - choice is certainly a part of postmodernism, and it's not going away. I think we can beat ourselves over the head wondering if we've made the right choice, when the beauty of postmodernism is that I listen to why you chose how you did, and allow that to inform what I know of reality. And make the best choice I can each day.

Greg said...

That was a cool video Andrew. I especially liked the part when he marinated me in data. :)
The book I was referring to last weekend about the same topic is The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz (HarperCollins, 2004). From the back: "Synthesizing current research in the social sciences, he makes the counterintuitive case that eliminating choices can greatly reduce the stress, anxiety, and busyness of our lives..." It's interesting to take his ideas (and those of the guy from the ted video) and wonder how they apply to the number of church options that exist...

Sprained Ankle said...

I read in the book Made to Stick (2007) that Hamburger Helper resurrected its business (early 2000s?) by eliminating over half of its options. Apparently single parents, their primary consumer, became paralyzed by the choices. When they narrowed the options down, sales jumped.

Oddly enough, it didn't make the food taste any better.

If USAChristianity is trying to make a sale, simplifying might lure consumers. But limiting the number of boxes doesn't necessarily make the product more palatable.

What are we serving?

(Friend of Andrew, hyperlinking into the discussion)