Religion for the Individual/Community

This week in class we presented different examples from readings we read about how religion can be tailored more towards an individual or more towards a particular community. We also talked about why certain people and groups would find these certain things appealing. One reading talked about how different immigrant groups tailor religion to feel more like home. (Ebaugh, Pg. 80) They model the buildings they use after ones from their home countries, they celebrate traditional holidays, and they serve traditional food. (Ebaugh, Pg. 81, 84-85, 87-89) They use religion as a way to gather together as a community with similar backgrounds in order to hold onto parts of home while still trying to transition into a new life in a new country. (Ebaugh, Pg. 80) This is an example of tailoring at the community level. However, tailoring religion at the individual level can also include tailoring it to the community level as well. One of my groups presented on a reading about a gay bar in Atlanta that does “Gospel Hour.” (Gray and Thumma, Pg. 79) Drag queens who do shows there come out and sing gospel music and some people find that very powerful. (Gray and Thumma, Pg. 79-81) In this case, this was a place where religion and homosexuality could come together under one roof. This was important for men who were religious but needed a place where they could practice their faith, be accepted, and not be stigmatized by other Christians who think homosexuality is a sin and that homosexuals can’t be Christian because of this. (Gray and Thumma, Pg. 81, 89-90) This example demonstrates how religion can be both tailored for the individuals as well as the community as a whole. This is all important in the end because it reveals peoples’ mindsets and how they can use religion creatively to get the most out of it.