The Liquidation of the Church

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Kees de Groot
Routledge New Critical Thinking in Religion, Theology and Biblical Studies
  • New York, NY: 
    , October
     200 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Kevin Staley forthcoming.


Is religion dying out in Western societies? Is personal spirituality taking its place? Both stories are inadequate. Institutional religion is not simply coming to an end in Western societies. Rather, its assets and properties are redistributed: large parts of the church have gone into liquidation. Religion is crossing the boundaries of the parish and appears in other social contexts. In the fields of leisure, health care and contemporary culture, religion has an unexpected currency. 

The metaphor of liquidation provides an alternative to approaches that merely perceive the decline of religion or a spiritual revolution. Religion is becoming liquid. By examining a number of case studies in the Netherlands and beyond, including World Youth Day, television, spiritual centers, chaplaincy, mental healthcare, museums and theatre, this book develops a fresh way to look at religion in late modernity and produces new questions for theological and sociological debate. It is both an exercise in sociology and an exercise in practical theology conceived as the engaged study of religious praxis. As such, the aim is not only to get a better understanding of what is going on, but also to critique one-sided views and to provide alternative perspectives for those who are active in the religious field or its surroundings.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Kees de Groot is lecturer in practical theology and religious studies at Tilburg University and Coordinator of the Master’s program Christianity and Society. He has studied sociology at the University of Amsterdam, wrote a doctoral dissertation on religion and mental health care at Leiden University (1995), and studied theology at Tilburg University. He has contributed to various volumes in and on sociology of religion, and has published on Zygmunt Bauman, Catholicism, theatre, and comics in the International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church, Social Compass, and Implicit Religion.

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