Many people assume that religion is unchanging across time and place, but in order to survive, religion must adapt to new social and cultural realities. Membership and participation in religious groups fluctuates over time, with some groups gaining or losing adherents in the process. Religious affiliation may be related to many different things, including basic population shifts through immigration and aging.
Religion also changes through the varying needs and desires of different generations—what one generation thinks is sacrosanct, the next generation may consider no longer essential to their faith. Further, religious organizations must keep up with how the spiritual and religious needs of individuals change across their life course. Religions must adapt to the needs and demands of both young and old adherents, even as they maintain the core tenets of the tradition.
Photo Credit: Stefan Georgi
- CommentaryWhat’s in a Name? Religious Nones and the American Religious LandscapeRichard Flory wrote about the origin of the term “religious Nones” and what the diverse group tells us about American religion for Religion Dispatches. Here’s an excerpt: Many church leaders are concerned …Topics: Creativity and Innovation, Religious "Nones", Religious Affiliation
- CommentaryKaty Perry’s Not the Only One Who Wants to Live in a ConventThis post originally appeared on Zocalo Public Square. TIME.com also published the piece. I moved into a convent 10 years ago this summer. My roommates were not Catholic sisters, but other recent …Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Creativity and Innovation, Nuns and Women Religious, Place and Religion, Religious Affiliation
- CommentaryWith Religious Affiliation on the Decline, What Should Happen to Hallowed Buildings?This post originally appeared on Washington Post’s Acts of Faith blog. Katy Perry wants to live in a convent. No, she is not among the young women who want to become a …Topics: Creativity and Innovation, Nuns and Women Religious, Place and Religion, Religious "Nones", Religious Affiliation
- CommentaryMarginal Muslims: Questioning Religion in Indonesia“If Islam is a religion of peace, why are people so violent?” That rhetorical question brought me up short. I wasn’t watching Pamela Geller’s latest piece of Islamophobic stagecraft or listening to …Topics: Asia, Creativity and Innovation, Muslims and Islam, Religious "Nones", Religious Affiliation
- CommentaryMade in Los Angeles – How One Church Changed With Its CommunityAt her old church, church leaders looked “at me like a sinner for plucking my eyebrows!” remembered Sonia. The church’s gender-specific regulations, imported from the congregation’s mother church in El Salvador, also …Topics: Community Dynamics, Creativity and Innovation, Latinos, Millennials, Pentecostals and Pentecostalism, Place and Religion, Southern California, Transnational
- CommentaryWhat Ireland’s “Yes” Vote for Gay Marriage Says About Being CatholicWith 62 percent of Ireland voting for the legalization of gay marriage, both liberal and conservative commentators have lamented/celebrated the death of the church in Ireland this week. “The Irish Church’s failures …Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Creativity and Innovation, LGBT Issues, Religious Affiliation
- CommentaryU.S. Christianity Is Dead, Long Live U.S. Christianity – The Implications of New Religious Affiliation DataThis post originally appeared at Religion Dispatches. the cluster of comment on the recently released report on the changing American religious landscape from the Pew Research Center, we have seen two basic story lines: the U.S. is …Topics: Christians and Christianity, Creativity and Innovation, Religious "Nones", Religious Affiliation
- CommentaryWill the Real Evangelical Millennials Please Stand Up?Lately the religion blogosphere has been all a twitter about a new book by Rachel Held Evans, who has documented her spiritual and religious path from being a good evangelical millennial to …Topics: Creativity and Innovation, Evangelicals and Evangelicalism, Millennials, Religious Affiliation
- ResourcesCalifornia Religious DemographicsReligious Profiles of Sample California Counties Every decade, the Glenmary Research Center publishes a profile of the religious affiliations of residents in every county in the United States. This is the major …Topics: Demographics, Religious Affiliation, Southern California
- CommentaryBuilding the Future of Religion, One Burrito at a Time: Service Groups and Religious “Nones”On a recent Thursday night, a group of about 75 volunteers for the Burrito Projectcommandeered the kitchen and fellowship hall at the Church of the Epiphany to make 1,000 burritos to distribute …Topics: Community Organizing, Creativity and Innovation, Faith-Based Organizations, Hunger and Food Policy, Millennials, Religious "Nones", Social Services
- CommentaryThe “Nones” Are AlrightCRCC’s senior writer Nick Street wrote an op-ed for Al Jazeera America in response to David Brooks’ recent New York Times column about religious “Nones.” Street argues that, far from becoming morally …Topics: Community Dynamics, Creativity and Innovation, Millennials, Religious "Nones", Social Services
- CommentaryMile of Miracles: A Microcosm of L.A.’s Religious Diversity(Photo by Candice Montgomery from Flickr Commons.) The processes of spiritual seeking, discovering and creating are constantly shaping and reshaping the religious landscape of Los Angeles. Far from being a godless metropolis, …Topics: Creativity and Innovation, Demographics, National and Cultural Identity, Place and Religion, Race and Ethnicity, Religious Affiliation, Southern California
“In major urban centers across the United States, there is a generalized perception that individuals in their 20s and early 30s constitute a ‘black hole’ in congregational life. Members of the young-adult population are simply missing from most churches, synagogues and mosques.”
—Tobin Belzer, Richard Flory, Nadia Roumani and Brie Loskota, in Congregations that Get It: Understanding Religious Identities in the Next Generation
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- Brad ChristersonContributing FellowBrad Christenson is a sociologist who has written extensively in the areas of religion, race, ethnicity, and globalization.
- Richard FloryDirector of ResearchRichard Flory is a sociologist whose work focuses on religion and urban life, religious and cultural change, and youth and young adults.
- Nalika GajaweeraResearch AssociateNalika Gajaweera is a cultural anthropologist specialized in Buddhism, transnationalism and ethics, with an area expertise in South Asia.
- Andrew JohnsonResearch AssociateAndrew Johnson is a sociologist who studies religion on the margins of society, with specific interests in religious practice inside of prison, Latin American Pentecostalism and religionin the city.
- Brie Jeanette LoskotaManaging DirectorBrie Loskota researches how religions change and make change in the world, and works to build the capacity of religious communities around the globe.
- Juan MartínezContributing FellowJuan Martinez studies the history of Latino Protestantism, Latino Protestant identity and transnational mission among U.S. Latinos.
- Donald E. MillerExecutive DirectorDonald Miller focuses on global religious trends, genocides of the 20th century, and the role of religious NGOs in addressing issues of moral concern.
- John B. OrrCo-founder & University FellowJohn B. Orr has worked extensively in the fields of religion, education and politics.
- Bruce PhillipsUniversity FellowBruce Phillips is among the leading researchers in the sociology of American Jewry and is an avid historian of Los Angeles.
- Nadia RoumaniContributing FellowNadia Roumani has worked with a wide range of organizations over the past decade to better understand the needs of Muslim communities across the United States.
- Jonnie RussellContributing FellowJonnie Russell is an evangelical Christian theologian who works to understand religious pluralism, contemporary culture and postmodernism.
- Rebecca SagerContributing FellowRebecca Sager’s work focuses on political and religious movements and parities in American political life.
- Nick StreetSenior WriterNick Street is a journalist covering religious change and innovation, Buddhism, Pentecostalism and LGBT issues.
- Megan SweasPublic Communications SpecialistMegan Sweas is a journalist specializing in social and economic justice issues and world religions.