Sheilaism

More naming the problem from Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, quoting Robert Bellah:

The extreme of this view [post-denominationalism], however, is that ultimately everyone’s faith is under their own hat. Could we have millions of faiths, each with only one member? The sociologist Robert Bellah described this phenomenon in the person “Sheila” “whose faith was so private and personal she called it ‘Sheilaism.’ In terms of our [Bellah et al.] categories of basic American values, she was an example of expressive individualism.”

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    I think that “Sheilaism” started long ago in the Garden of Eden. Even today, the snake continues to deceive and in our “reason” we determine for ourselves what is right and wrong and follow it. Then, when we are called to account for our choices, we blame someone else.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    I think that “Sheilaism” started long ago in the Garden of Eden. Even today, the snake continues to deceive and in our “reason” we determine for ourselves what is right and wrong and follow it. Then, when we are called to account for our choices, we blame someone else.

  • S Bauer

        The difference is that now the “Sheilaism” of sinful human nature is considered by many Christians’ to comprise the nature of the church. Skye Jethani names it iChurch.

        And, by the way…Happy Exelauno Day to all!

  • S Bauer

        The difference is that now the “Sheilaism” of sinful human nature is considered by many Christians’ to comprise the nature of the church. Skye Jethani names it iChurch.

        And, by the way…Happy Exelauno Day to all!

  • FullTime

    This is nothing new, and I am not referring to Eden. There have been for a very long time people who said things like “I believe in God I just don’t like established religion” and there are denomination hoppers, there are people who consider themselves a particular denomination but do not believe all of its tenets. To suddenly call this “Sheilaism” just seems rude, to both Sheila and to other religious loners.
    Yes, the bible refers to groups of believers, calls us to walk together, etc. But when you cannot bring yourself to accept what is there, how do you find what you BELIEVE in a church? What is there is no such church? All of a sudden you are a wacko? I find it odd that such a person is looked more askance than an atheist.

    Personally, I sympathize. I have yet to find a church or denomination that espouses everything I believe. I make do mainly with how I was raised and wonder about having the courage to worship alone and if it would be better. Either that or starting a Messianic Jewish congregation in northern Mississippi, of which there are few/none.

  • FullTime

    This is nothing new, and I am not referring to Eden. There have been for a very long time people who said things like “I believe in God I just don’t like established religion” and there are denomination hoppers, there are people who consider themselves a particular denomination but do not believe all of its tenets. To suddenly call this “Sheilaism” just seems rude, to both Sheila and to other religious loners.
    Yes, the bible refers to groups of believers, calls us to walk together, etc. But when you cannot bring yourself to accept what is there, how do you find what you BELIEVE in a church? What is there is no such church? All of a sudden you are a wacko? I find it odd that such a person is looked more askance than an atheist.

    Personally, I sympathize. I have yet to find a church or denomination that espouses everything I believe. I make do mainly with how I was raised and wonder about having the courage to worship alone and if it would be better. Either that or starting a Messianic Jewish congregation in northern Mississippi, of which there are few/none.

  • martha

    the problem is searching to find a place that espouses “what you believe”. . .the historic Christian faith set down for all time in Scripture is a communal faith. If you’re outside of a church, how can you be a Christian? Messianic Judaism is not a catch all. . .in fact it’s very problematic with its emphasis on keeping feasts (read Galatians about Paul’s warning on keeping those). . .there are many, many faithful churches and denominations. We must submit our will to God’s word, which says we should not stop meeting with the Body. There are no “lone rangers”. . .only prideful who hold their standards above God’s. . .

  • martha

    the problem is searching to find a place that espouses “what you believe”. . .the historic Christian faith set down for all time in Scripture is a communal faith. If you’re outside of a church, how can you be a Christian? Messianic Judaism is not a catch all. . .in fact it’s very problematic with its emphasis on keeping feasts (read Galatians about Paul’s warning on keeping those). . .there are many, many faithful churches and denominations. We must submit our will to God’s word, which says we should not stop meeting with the Body. There are no “lone rangers”. . .only prideful who hold their standards above God’s. . .

  • sheila

    i just recently heard about this. the crazy thing is i already did some of the practices that are involved with sheilaism. my sister actually told me about all this and thought it was comical because my name is sheila. i did to i find this religion quite intrusting… not only because it has my name in it but because i unknoweningly practiced alot of the stuff that is used in the reliogions worship. i guess i probably dont know a whole bunch but im willing to get to know more. :D

  • sheila

    i just recently heard about this. the crazy thing is i already did some of the practices that are involved with sheilaism. my sister actually told me about all this and thought it was comical because my name is sheila. i did to i find this religion quite intrusting… not only because it has my name in it but because i unknoweningly practiced alot of the stuff that is used in the reliogions worship. i guess i probably dont know a whole bunch but im willing to get to know more. :D

  • Black Jaguar

    Awesome! The first of the RETURNED FEMININE RELIGIONS

  • Black Jaguar

    Awesome! The first of the RETURNED FEMININE RELIGIONS

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