Article Title

Straining at the Tie That Binds: Congregational Conflict in the 1980s

Type of Work

Article

Date

1993

Journal Title

Review of Religious Research

Journal ISSN

0034-673X

Journal Volume

34

Journal Issue

3

First Page

193

Last Page

209

DOI

10.2307/3700594

Abstract

Studies of intrachurch conflict have emphasized such variant explanations as liberal/conservative divisions, external pressures that exacerbate internal cleavages, clergy/laity differences, & demographic changes as the cause(s) of church conflict. Most of these studies rely on either survey data or single-case ethnographic data. Here, these studies are reviewed & critiqued, & it is recommended that comparative conflict events be analyzed to identify causes that operate in specific circumstances. Drawing on interviews with the top clergy of 15 (of a total of 20) churches & synagogues in a midwestern urban community, conflict events are analyzed. Results indicate that none of the perspectives found in the literature was predominant; instead, it is proposed that the "new voluntarism" thesis (see Roof, Wade Clark, & McKinney, William, American Mainline Religion: Its Changing Shape and Future, New York: Rutgers U Press, 1989) can enlighten understanding of intracongregational conflict.

Hamilton Areas of Study

Sociology

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