Breaking down the ‘unchurched’

At a time when lots of people are switching religious affiliations, dabbling in more than one tradition, seeking spirituality on the Web and who knows what else, the Barna Group has come up with some new categories for those who don’t attend church regularly.

Barna is an evangelical outfit and they’re basically talking about Protestants, but I think that other religious groups can also relate some of what they’ve come up with.

So here are their new measurements for how people “relate to faith communities:”

tjndc5-5b5elqsivyr4vzfkezi_layout2.jpgUnattached – people who had attended neither a conventional church nor an organic faith community (e.g., house church, simple church, intentional community) during the past year. Some of these people use religious media, but they have had no personal interaction with a regularly-convened faith community. This segment represents one out of every four adults (23%) in America. About one-third of the segment was people who have never attended a church at any time in their life.

Intermittents – these adults are essentially “under-churched” – i.e., people who have participated in either a conventional church or an organic faith community within the past year, but not during the past month. Such people constitute about one out of every seven adults (15%). About two-thirds of this group had attended at least one church event at some time within the past six months.

Homebodies – people who had not attended a conventional church during the past month, but had attended a meeting of a house church (3%).

Blenders – adults who had attended both a conventional church and a house church during the past month. Most of these people attend a conventional church as their primary church, but many are experimenting with new forms of faith community. In total, Blenders represent 3% of the adult population.

Conventionals – adults who had attended a conventional church (i.e., a congregational-style, local church) during the past month but had not attended a house church. Almost three out of every five adults (56%) fit this description. This participation includes attending any of a wide variety of conventional-church events, such as weekend services, mid-week services, special events, or church-based classes.

People do believe the Obama rumors

You wonder how many people actually believe the rumors that Barack Obama is some sort of secret Muslim.

tjndc5-5iz4zt8nidzooz7ceee_layout.jpgBut on 60 Minutes last night, a report from Chillicothe, Ohio, on how Obama and Clinton are faring there, showed a very average, down-on-his-luck fellow (whose concerns were mostly economic) who believed the rumors.

He was leaning toward supporting Obama, but was troubled by Obama’s unwillingness to take an oath on the Bible (one of the rumors being spread by mass emails).

If this gentleman believed this stuff, how many others do?

Here’s an op-ed from Parvez Ahmed, chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an associate professor at the University of North Florida:

Opponents of Democratic presidential front-runner Barack Obama recently circulated a photo taken during his 2006 Africa tour that shows him in traditional Kenyan attire. The use of the image of Obama in a turban was clearly designed to make a visual link between the candidate and Islam, a political tactic that seeks to exploit existing anti-Muslim prejudice in our society.

Obama’s supposed Muslim links – middle name Hussein, born to a Muslim father, spending part of his youth in Muslim Indonesia – along with the recent photo smear have been misused by those who would divide America along religious lines. On Internet hate sites, religious bigotry has become the latest form of racism. Continue reading