Living Faith: Everyday Religion and Mothers in Poverty by Susan Crawford Sullivan

By Susan Crawford Sullivan

Scholars have made city moms residing in poverty a spotlight in their examine for many years. those women’s lives may be tricky as they pass approximately trying to find housing and respectable jobs and struggling to deal with their teenagers while surviving on welfare or operating at low-wage carrier jobs and infrequently dealing with actual or psychological illnesses. yet before little recognition has been paid to an immense strength in those women’s lives: religion.
 
Based on in-depth interviews with girls and pastors, Susan Crawford Sullivan provides bad moms’ usually neglected perspectives. Recruited from quite a few social provider courses, many of the girls don't attend non secular prone, as a result of logistical demanding situations or simply because they believe stigmatized and undesirable at church. but, she discovers, religious religion usually performs a robust position of their lives as they cope with and check out to make feel of the demanding situations they face. Supportive non secular congregations prove vital for ladies who're concerned, she unearths, yet understanding everyday faith includes exploring past formal spiritual organizations.
 
Offering a worldly research of ways religion either motivates and every now and then constrains negative moms’ activities, Living Faith unearths the methods it serves as a lens by which many view and interpret their worlds.

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Alan Wolfe writes that the language of damnation and sin has been replaced by empathy, understanding, and nonjudgmentalness; the Lord to whom Americans turn “rarely gets angry and frequently strengthens self-esteem” (2003, 3). ” My respondents hold images of God that do not fall neatly into either of these categories. God is both loving and judgmental. Their primary image of God is that of a caring, tender, loving father who is deeply involved in the details of their everyday lives. They believe God hears their prayers and understands the hardships they face and will help them and be with them.

Twentynine of the women told me they had no religion or were not currently practicing any, but the majority of these women would fall into the category of “unchurched believers” (Hout and Fischer 2002). 26 Overall, twenty-one women said faith or religion was very important to them, eighteen said it was of medium importance, and six said neither personal religious faith nor organized religion was important to them. Twenty-eight women prayed very frequently—once a day or more; nine mothers prayed several times a month; and eight rarely or never prayed.

Studies find religion to serve as a source of strength for people who have experienced trauma. Religion can foster resilience through several pathways. It can help provide people with a sense of meaning in adverse life events or situations. It can buffer negative emotions such as depression. Religion can promote “relational resilience,” as religious people often have more social networks and social support. Furthermore, religion can serve as a force for personal transformation during crisis or adversity (Pargament and Cummings 2010; Pargament 1997; Pargament and Park 1995).

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