Straining at the Tie That Binds: Congregational Conflict in the 1980s
Type of Work
Review of Religious Research
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.
Becker, Penny Edgell; Ellingson, Stephen; Flory, Richard W.; Griswold, Wendy; Kniss, Fred; and Nelson, Timothy, "Straining at the Tie That Binds: Congregational Conflict in the 1980s" (1993). Hamilton Digital Commons.
Hamilton Areas of Study