TitleChildren as Religious Resources: The Role of Children in the Social Re-Formation of Class, Culture, and Religious Identity
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsGallagher, SK
JournalJournal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Pagination169 - 183
Date Published2007
ISBN Number0021-8294

Based on observations and interviews in two churches representing two different strands of American Protestantism, I assess the ways in which children contribute to the social construction of class, culture, and religious identity for adults. Evidence comes from observing how congregations incorporate children into adult worship services and talk about them in texts and programs, and from the ways in which newer and long-term congregation members describe valuing and understanding children's ministries. These styles and their meanings reflect the history, heritage, and theological distinctives of these two strands of American Protestantism. Religion, I suggest, is not just good for children; children themselves are a religious resource whose presence in worship, service, and discourse helps to create and maintain a sense of identity, place, and meaning in the lives of worshipping adults.