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What you illustrated with your frustration at a service in a religious context is that it’s not doing the job it’s supposed to do in your life. We come at this whole question from the perspective that religion is really about the tools that we use to make meaning of our lives and help us live flourishing lives. That means all sorts of things. It means giving you a sense of connection to other people around you, to your deepest self, to the natural world the moments of transcendence or the experiences that some people might call God, to a sense of time to history. Really it helps you find a place in the world, it gives you a sense of who you are. A ritual, a set of words, chant, or song, all the tools or religion were right at one point in time. To be honest, someone could still sit in that service and find something. But it’s not working for you, and you’re not alone in that question. The fastest growing religious group in the US is “none of the above.” – Angie Thurston
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Angie Thurston and Casper ter Kuile are Ministry Innovation Fellows at Harvard Divinity School and On Being Fellows. They are the co-authors of How We Gather and Something More, two reports profiling new forms of meaningful community in America.