Religious Supermarkets
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Religious Supermarkets
Page 125

Personal and Particular

A BaptismIn today's culture, every man and woman in the street had his or her religious viewpoint which could be quite different from past generations. Previously, the norm in society was weekly commitment to one Christian denomination and belief in their standards. Dr Reginald Bibby described in "Fragmented Gods" this modern view as, "religion a la carte." or the desire to incorporate the beliefs or practices one likes into one's life and ignore the rest.

Cash and Carry Christianity

Anglican BishopAnother term for this phenomena was "cash and carry Christianity," where most people wanted to pick and choose from a religious menu depending again upon their personal viewpoints. They expected a congregation to provide a wedding, funeral or baptism without any real commitment of time or resources on their part to the church. Some people even shopped around from church to church to get the best deal in terms of minimum involvement and lowest cost. They often began with their own denomination then looked elsewhere. Beliefs or traditions were often secondary to a good photo opportunity in a wedding! Of prime importance to their choice was that the building picked out for a wedding would look nice on the wedding photographs!

Various Viewpoints

ConsumerismWalking into a church like a religious supermarket, these people expected to lift their rites of passage needs off the shelf. This kind of consumerism produced great problems for the typical congregation. The church traditionally viewed itself like a social club where members stayed and mingled, but society saw it as a corner store to pop into whenever one needed a ceremonial occasion Christian or otherwise! Clergy became very frustrated when promises made in order to receive sacramental or pastoral help were broken by people who didn't want the social club aspect of the church after all!

"Religious Supermarkets"
by Ron Meacock © 2018

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