A dilemma that has gripped the hearts of traditional church leaders and their followers is the trend toward “non-affiliation–” those folks referred to as the “Nones” – who check “none” when asked if they affiliate with any religion or attend any church. Which begs the question–why? Why aren’t people attending church like they used to? And why are people outright leaving the church? Are people still seeking and finding spiritual community somewhere out there? Writer, speaker and co-founder of the Sacred Design Lab, Casper ter Kuile–a graduate of Harvard Divinity School who once identified as an atheist–has done some fascinating research on why people–millennials in particular–are leaving religious institutions in droves; what it is they are searching for, and the surpising places they are finding connection and hope. Caspar published a study titled How We Gather, which discusses this millennial exodus from the church, and how they are transitioning into a more spiritual journey instead of a religious one. For those of us who may have been embedded in traditional church culture for years and now find ourselves at a crossroads because of the politicization of religion, or perhaps because of untenable behavior that occurred behind closed doors at churches for years wondering if we can see ourselves in spiritual community ever again, This conversation with Jen and Caspar reveals the darker reasons for the detachment many have from religion and church, but also insight into a transformation on how we might practice a new “religion” that draws from the best of tradition and the new and inspiring ways people are congregating.
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