Are old animosities to blame for the recent rise of religious and ethnic violence around the world? To believe that they are, we would have to believe that rivalries between Christians and Muslims, Hindus and Muslims, and Muslims and Jews characterized earlier times.
By exploring the contradictions between official theologies and the actual behavior of religious communities, sociologists of religion help religious people to view themselves more honestly—a sometimes deflating and even painful process. Such may be our experience in reading W.
I am weary of parish consultants who offer pronouncements of doom, demise and decline; forecast futures based on generic assumptions about generations of people or styles of worship; or describe some congregation that is doing things so right that it is worthy of adoration and praise.