Original Research

Stollen, kristalliseren of verdampen? De collectieve identiteit van christelijke geloofsgemeenschappen in een tijd van individuali-sering en pluralisering

H de Roest
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 28, No 2 | a114 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v28i2.114 | © 2007 H de Roest | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 September 2007 | Published: 21 September 2007

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H de Roest,, Netherlands

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This article addresses the complex issue of the collective identity of Christian communities in a time of individualisation and pluralisation. The emphasis in the 1980’ s was very much on organising, building and managing strategies; however, since then the religious ‘market’  has been offering a wide range of spiritual
‘products’  to serve every need. Yet the core question remains: what is it that unites members of a particular faith community and encourages commitment and involvement in church matters?  Two opposite examples illustrate recent practices. The Saddleback congregation, in Mission  Viejo California is an evangelistic orientated church that aims to involve members completely. The Church is a support-system, an answer to questions, a base for talents to flourish, a circle for friendship, sharing and caring. At the other extreme is the Remonstrante Broederskap in the Netherlands with a complete liberal approach, a very low degree of organisation, leaving members free to ‘shop’. The mediating mechanism that holds everything and everyone together is a common creed.  Within a highly secularised and individualised society a fear exisists that faith and religion might disintegrate.  Yet that does not seem to be the case. Communication of a particular identity, the ‘spiritual inside’  of a faith community raises the possibility of renewed crystallisation of many varied forms of belief and worship, thus saving communities of faith from complete evaporation.


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