This recent article in the Religion News Service outlines the recent findings by a study from the Public Religion Research Institute. The study suggests that most of those who have been leaving churches in recent years have done so because they simply stopped believing. My experience is an inversion on these statistics. I go to the places where people say they feel this way, and I have discovered that somewhere deep inside a spark of hope in the existence and goodness of God remains, and yearns to be stoked.
The theology of Deep Fun discussed briefly in my previous post highlights a way of mission that inherently knows and goes to the places where people leaving religion are drawn. Leaving religion is not the same thing as leaving a desire for positive change. It is not the same thing as leaving the desire for transformation. Many of the people who are identified as “none” in religious categorization are not necessarily non-spiritual. In fact, I am discovering a new category of people who identify as mystical or spiritual agnostic/atheist. As strange as that category appears, it identifies the fact, that to a great degree, churches have lost the semantic war for the word religion, and it has taken a toll on our numbers. Yet, the loss of religion is not necessarily the same thing as the loss of ‘something out there’.
The space between the church world and the people who have left it is a major part what Burning Religion is about. Follow us here as I and my friends navigate the space between these worlds. Currently, many of are involved in the world’s largest Halloween event in Salem, where hundreds of thousands of people, many who make up the nones of religion will be. Consider helping these edge-walking – between the worlds outreach projects as they happen throughout the year. We cannot do these things alone. We need a Deep Fun Army Troupe*.
*(Yes, “troupe” not “troop”)