Richard Niebuhr uses the metaphor of a shipwreck to describe those life experiences where what we thought would hold comes apart. A marriage ends, a career collapses, an illness shatters plans, a loved one dies. Pastors and congregations can be a lifeline.
Our culture, however, is mourning avoidant—and too often, faith communities reflect the broader culture's misconceptions surrounding grief.
Despite the rising number of Americans who identify with no religion—especially the case among millennials—the United States is far from becoming a churchless nation. On any given Sabbath four out of ten Americans attend a house of worship, a number that hasn’t fluctuated much in the past half-century. More than 81 percent of Americans say they identify with a specific religion or denomination, and 78 percent say religion is either very or fairly important in their lives. That people have greater freedom to say they belong to no religion may mean that those who claim religious faith actually take it more seriously than was the case when identifying with religious faith was a matter of social obligation (The Christian Science Monitor, October 11).