American religious life is in ferment, not decline. The changes range from the increasing religious diversity brought by new immigrant groups, through the ebbing importance of denominations, to the impact of large, often independent megachurches on the worship, music styles and ministries of all kinds of churches. No one has helped us understand this ferment better than Robert Wuthnow.
A funeral is a curious phenomenon. In the face of the death of a loved one, friends and relatives gather for a carefully choreographed dance of ritualistic acts. Condolences are given. Music is played. Words are spoken. Food is shared.