by Trevor Gerhardt
from Modern Believing Vol 59:2 - April 2018


Research has and is still being done regarding the correlation between declining religious affiliation and religious identity. Findings indicate that a large number of church-leavers continue to believe without belonging to a specific church. They are ascribed many labels. This article specifically considers the work of Jamieson (2002), Fazzino (2014) and Aisthorpe (2016), with a specific interest in continuing spirituality and the discovery of liberal faith.

The lack of religious affiliation does not preclude or necessitate religious activity. Autobiographically illustrated, those identified as church-leavers – referred to by some as ‘churchless faith’ – do not reject faith nor do they necessarily return later to church attendance as if only in transition, but rather they represent stories of a new resurrected faith identity and, as is the case of the author, a deeper liberated liberalism. Such liberalism resonates with the postmodern perspective which views identity as dynamic, multiple, relativistic, fluid, context specific, decentered, and fragmented. Churchless faith is a new ecclesia for many of the emerging generation.



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