Friday, April 01, 2005

Liberal Family - Encyclopedia of American Religions

As reported a while back, a colleague and I are looking at U.S. county level data on denominational membership and its relationship to return on human capital. Given the multitude of denominations, one of my contributions is on finding and understanding groupings of denominations. Despite being located in the U.A.E. we have excellent access to resources via British Library ILL.

The Encyclopedia of American Religions groups ~2,000 denominations into ~20 families.

Here's some EAR excerpts from its chapters on the "Liberal Family."

------START QUOTE------
Liberal Family. Includes Liberal, Mail Order Churches
Brought together in this chapter as the "liberal" family are those groups that have championed one of three perspectives, each of which has challenged the orthodox Christian dominance of Western religious life: unitarianism, universalism, and infidelism.
Unitarianism necessarily involved the additional denial of the divinity of Jesus. Universalism affirmed that God will save all humanity, and thus denied the Christian belief in hell. The several forms of infidelity moved in an even more radical direction away from the religious life and toward human-centered philosophies.

American Ethical Union [founded 1876]..."deed before creed"...Union members were instrumental in establishing the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the Legal Aid society...Membership: In 1988, there were 21 ethical culture groups in the U.S.
Society of Evangelical Agnostics (Defunct) [founded 1975] ... agnosticism is to be distinguished quite strongly from atheism. The latter flatly denies the existence of God while the former affirms that God is both unknown and an unknowable factor.
Mail Order
Among the first mail-order churches is the Calvary Grace Churches of Faith formed in 1954 ... It issues ordination certificates on application ... In 1984 there were a reported 70 congregations ... Box 333 Rillton, PA 19140
On November 1, 1971, newspapers across the U.S. carried pictures of Sadi, a Labrador retriever in Terre Linda, California, who has been ordained a minister in the Hilltop House Church ... Inherent within [HCC] was a certain cynicism toward religion as a whole.
...the Life Science Church, formed by Archbishop Gordon L. Cruickshank. He offers to ordain "those gifted persons that have been denied the right to fulfill their mission b/c of lack of formal education and/0r seminary training." Ministers may be ordained by sending in $25, an application form, and a short thesis..... Members become bishops by recruiting others for ordination.
------END QUOTE------

Denominational Breakdown of an Average American Family
-Dad belongs to the Liberal Family (U-U).
-Mom belongs to the European Free-Church Family (Friends).
-Scott of Hybla and I are still adhered to the Episcopal Church ECUSA (in the Western Liturgical Family). While in the UAE I more often attend the Anglican Church of Cyprus and the Middle East.
-Sister adheres to ICBINB!. (The ! is part of the name.)
-All five of us are cradle Episcopalians and darn proud of it although it was an accident of birth.
-EmirEcon-wife was born Lutheran and joined ECUSA when we married; she's a lay professional in the church.
-EmirEcon-daughter is a cradle Episcopalian and organist/choirdirector in the UMC (United Methodist Church).
-Hildegrad and Clare are fickle. But, hey, they're cats.


Blogger Terry Finley said...

Neat blog. Thank you.

I love cats.

Come by and visit me.

Terry Finley

10:36 PM  

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