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Kirstine Helboe Johansen

Transforming churches: the lived religion of religious organizations in a contemporary context

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This article analyzes patterns of transformation in a specific majority religious institution, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark (ELCD), through a case study of communicative actions related to new church practices. The argument is that the patterns most often identified in the study of the religion of late-modern individuals, which is an “ever-changing, multifaceted, often messy—even contradictory—amalgam of beliefs and practices” (McGuire 2008, 4), are also relevant when scholars describe changes at the level of religious organizations. Meredith McGuire’s concepts are supplemented with other discussions of the transformation of traditions in a contemporary context. Our research question is: what characterizes the communicative actions concerning the transformation of traditions within the ELCD today? The empirical material consists of communicative actions related to practices associated with Halloween and Valentine’s Day from two distinct contexts: 1) the public debate about the Church in the newspaper The Christian Daily and 2) public announcements in the official online Church calendar. This leads to a discussion of the creative agency of religious institutions as part of the complex pattern of contemporary religion. The article argues in favor of an increased focus on the development of new practices in churches as examples of lived religion at the level of institutional religion.

Translated title of the contributionForandrede kirker: levet religion i religiøse organisationer i dag
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Contemporary Religion
Volume34
Issue3
Pages (from-to)509-527
Number of pages19
ISSN1353-7903
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

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