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Religions 2016, 7(7), 90;

“Church” in Black and White: The Organizational Lives of Young Adults

Department of Sociology, Loyola University Chicago, 1032 W. Sheridan Rd., Chicago, IL 60660, USA
Department of Sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1007 W. Harrison St., Chicago, IL 60607, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Patricia Snell Herzog
Received: 12 January 2016 / Revised: 30 May 2016 / Accepted: 30 June 2016 / Published: 12 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth, Emerging Adults, Faith, and Giving)
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The religious lives of young adults have generally been investigated by examining what young people believe and their self-reported religious practices. Far less is known about young adults’ organizational involvement and its impact on religious identities and ideas about religious commitment. Using data from site visit observations of religious congregations and organizations, and individual and focus group interviews with college-age black and white Christians, we find differences in how black and white students talk about their religious involvement; and with how they are incorporated into the lives of their congregations. White students tended to offer “organizational biographies” chronicling the contours of belonging as well as disengagement, and emphasizing the importance of fulfilling personal needs as a criterion for maintaining involvement. On the other hand, black students used “family” and “home” language and metaphors to describe how their religious involvement, a voluntary choice, was tied to a sense of “calling” and community. We show that this variation is aligned with organizational differences in black and white congregations that situate white youth as separate and black youth as integrated into the larger church community. View Full-Text
Keywords: young adults; race; religious commitment; identity; congregations young adults; race; religious commitment; identity; congregations
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Williams, R.H.; Irby, C.A.; Warner, R.S. “Church” in Black and White: The Organizational Lives of Young Adults. Religions 2016, 7, 90.

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