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Collective identity is the root cause of so much that is, and has always been, ugly, petty, foolish and even soul-killing about organized religion: the tribalism, the judgments, the us-versus-them jockeying for position, the holier-than-thou attitudes, the fetishizing of local liturgical practices (“We do it this way but they don’t!”), and all the rest. These things have contributed significantly to the radical reduction in the numbers of churchgoers nationwide in recent decades; to say that they do more harm than good is an understatement. Continue reading