Reflection 4/8

Last week’s discussion on the different stories of religion and how religion is developing was really interesting to analyze. In particular, I was interested in the concept of the individual religious bricolage in the narrative, Is Religion Becoming More Individualized? I think this is a really interesting concept because of the different degrees to which people may adhere to this definition. For example, within my own family, my mother identifies as Catholic, however, she loves to study Buddhism and incorporate Buddhist values into her daily living (I even bought her Thich Nhat Hahn’s Teachings on Love for her birthday this year). However, when I ask my mother about her religious identity, she does not include Buddhism in her definition, instead she says she is Catholic in beliefs but not strongly connected to the institution of the Catholic church. This is an example of the individual religious bricolage because my mother has redefined what she considers to be Catholic in terms of her own experiences and preferences.

Furthermore, it is interesting to consider how different individuals have incorporated this concept of the religious bricolage within the diverse sections of Christianity. For example, during my two congregation visits, I have found different members who identify with different churches, despite identifying themselves singularly within a single church. This is also evident in my jigsaw reading by Ammerman, which highlighted the different levels of religiosity by two families. In this example, one family attended one church service, took part in community events of another, and took advantage of the childcare at another. In this sense, the family has created their own religious bricolage within the singular modem of Christianity. Ultimately, it has been really interesting to consider the degrees at which we can apply the concept of the individual religious bricolage, which, in some instances, is quite extreme, while in others is simply an expression of the complexity within a single religion.