May 24, 2022

"Peoplehood is the spiritual practice of connected conversation. Our Gathers are 55 minute group conversation experiences led by trained Guides in our digital sanctuary."

Says the Instagram page of Peoplehood, quoted in "From the founders of SoulCycle, a new (flawed) kind of church." 

The link goes to a column by Christine Emba in WaPo. She writes:

Peoplehood’s tone is studiously nondenominational and stringently open-ended, without a hint of judgment or expectation.... The occasional Martin Luther King Jr. quote shows up, signaling social justice bona fides without being too alienating. “The problem isn’t you,” Peoplehood’s website coos, “it’s just life.” 

Here’s the thing: The religious structures Peoplehood is attempting to emulate kindle purpose by asking things of their adherents — hard things. They cultivate meaning by providing ethical frameworks and moral visions to strive for that are not solely opt-in consumables.... 

For all its trendy branding, Peoplehood’s commoditized church is merely religion in an impoverished, attenuated form. If it succeeds? It’ll only confirm the depth of our collective desperation.

But a lot of people do traditional church in a lightweight fashion. I think I'd be more upset by a bullshit commoditized church that did ask hard things of its devotees.

I will say that I find the use of "gather" as a noun irritating. It's easy to see what it means, but I sense some weird pride in cutting the "-ing" of "gathering" and offering what you're doing as something deeper and cooler.

Here's a doggedly uncool alternative:

64 comments:

Roy Jacobsen said...

“The problem isn’t you,” Peoplehood’s website coos, “it’s just life.”

According to traditional, orthodox Christianity, the problem IS you.

iowan2 said...

“The problem isn’t you,” Peoplehood’s website coos, “it’s just life.”
go
I know its not a church, but 'church' like. But, 'just life', is God's will. The problem is 100% your reaction to 'just life', or more accurately accepting life on life's terms, not you terms. You can't change 'just life'. You can only change how you react to it.

Michael said...

Read "Blather" for "Gather" and it all makes sense.

Nancy said...

Ok, you made me look. I checked 2 scores of that beautiful hymn and as I suspected, the conductor really was putting the downbeat on the 2nd beat.

Sebastian said...

"It’ll only confirm the depth of our collective desperation."

Wait, so progressivism, social justice, and identity politics leave people desperate?

Left Bank of the Charles said...

“I will say that I find the use of "gather" as a noun irritating.”

At least they didn't call them Garners. Merriam-Webster does have definitions for gather as a noun, but of its eight Recent Examples on the Web: Noun , only one actually uses gather as a noun, the rest use it as a verb.

Lurker21 said...

Don't name your spiritual community after a horror movie, or somebody will make a horror movie about your spiritual community. But maybe it's named after the occult card game.

Gathering or garnering? The eternal dilemma. We gather to garner, to ask the Lord's blessing.

Quayle said...

I ask: is it possible to build a strong community without asking hard things of its members?

Example: here is 97 year old President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, asking hard things of the community in early April 2022.

Excerpt (if you don't want to watch):

"Some trials are deeply private burdens no one else can see. Others are played out on the world stage. The armed conflict in eastern Europe is one of these.... Any war is a horrifying violation of everything the Lord Jesus Christ stands for and teaches.

"None of us can control nations or the actions of others or even members of our own families. But we can control ourselves. My call today, dear brothers and sisters, is to end conflicts that are raging in your heart, your home, and your life. Bury any and all inclinations to hurt others—whether those inclinations be a temper, a sharp tongue, or a resentment for someone who has hurt you. The Savior commanded us to turn the other cheek, to love our enemies, and to pray for those who despitefully use us.

"It can be painfully difficult to let go of anger that feels so justified. It can seem impossible to forgive those whose destructive actions have hurt the innocent. And yet, the Savior admonished us to “forgive all men.”

"We are followers of the Prince of Peace. Now more than ever, we need the peace only He can bring. How can we expect peace to exist in the world when we are not individually seeking peace and harmony? Brothers and sisters, I know what I’m suggesting is not easy. But followers of Jesus Christ should set the example for all the world to follow. I plead with you to do all you can to end personal conflicts that are currently raging in your hearts and in your lives."

Enigma said...

Conservative and traditional church events are heavy on repeating standard phrases for what came before. Many phrases have become ritualized, whereby they now have no actual meaning.

Contemporary churches built next to the freeways in the Bible Belt are heavy on the entertainment (e.g., electric guitar music) and creating a big social event. But, they stick with traditional right-and-wrong teachings.

Many people raised with no moral training beyond the last few Marvel Comics movies...flail about in the vacuum. There's likely a growing market in church content for the never churched, and there will be a lot of shopping.

Ignoring the grammar, "Gathers" are perhaps better for mental health than what many likely do now: sit home alone scrolling through social media posts for hours on end.

Lurker21 said...

Okay, Peoplehood is this spiritual group. The Gathering is another spiritual group. With a better, spookier name.

Ice Nine said...

Frank hucksterism. This anemic scheme reminds me of Twain's 'Royal Nonesuch'. (And yes, I know; that wasn't intentional.)

Kate said...

"emulate kindle purpose"

Good gawd. Where was the editor?

rhhardin said...

The -ing leaves you in doubt whether it's a present participle, deverbal noun or gerund.

Jonathan said...

"The problem isn't you...." is the polar opposite of Christianity, which holds that we are by nature sinful and unclean. The problem is always us, as Christians.

robother said...

"I will say that I find the use of "gather" as a noun irritating."

Garner would be so much more appropriate.

Narr said...

One of the newish, speculative student housing complexes near the campus is "Gather on Southern." The noun usage is an archaism that sounds new, I think.

Tina Trent said...

Their terms and contract are pretty funny:

"By accessing the Services, you warrant that:

-You are legally capable of entering into binding contracts;
-All registration information you submit is truthful and accurate;
-You will maintain the accuracy of such information; and
-Your use of the Services does not violate any applicable law or regulation ... you may not do any of the following while accessing or using the Services:

-Use the Services for any revenue generating endeavor, commercial enterprise, or other purpose other than for personal, non-commercial use, without our express written consent;
-Express or imply that any statements you make are endorsed by Peoplehood;
-Scrape the Services or use other automated or manual means to take our content without our express prior written consent;
-Modify, adapt, translate, reverse engineer, decompile, disassemble or convert into human readable form any of the contents of the Services not intended to be so read;
-Take any action that imposes or may impose (as determined by us in our sole discretion) an unreasonable or disproportionately large load on our or our third party providers’ infrastructure;
-Interfere or attempt to interfere with the proper working of the Services or any activities conducted on the Services;
-Bypass, circumvent, or attempt to bypass or circumvent any measures we may use to prevent or restrict access to the Services, including without limitation other accounts, computer systems or networks connected to the Services;
-Run any form of auto-responder or “spam” on the Services;
-Access or use the Services for any illegal or unauthorized purpose, including to harass, abuse, defame or otherwise infringe or violate the rights of any other party; or
-Otherwise take any action in violation of these Terms."

I wonder which of these are venal sins, versus mortal sins.

William said...

It's in the nature of human beings to believe in a higher power. My higher power is random selection in a life destined for ultimate futility and then eternal nothingness. Among Pascal's gamblers, I don't get a lot of comps or free drinks at Caesar's Palace, but, on the plus side, here at the nickel slots I'm a bigger winner than anyone who came with the Jonestown charter bus.

Jason said...

Wait til you hear about "meeting!"

YoungHegelian said...

Oh, come now. If you're going to do a hymn with "gather" in it, you can't do any better than this.

n.n said...

An ethical religion a la Pro-Choice, including: political congruence ("="), diversity [dogmas], redistributive change, labor and environmental arbitrage, Mengele mandates, etc. Witch hunts, warlock trials, #MeToo? A Twilight faith, where they receive knowledge in emanations from penumbras, and indulge conflation of logical domains. Perhaps planned parenthood, planned parent/hood, planned people... personhood for social, redistributive, clinical, and fair weather causes. Social justice anywhere is injustice everywhere. #NoJudgment #NoLabels

Randomizer said...

"It’ll only confirm the depth of our collective desperation."

I don't own a Peloton or do Crossfit, so no surprise that Peoplehood doesn't really make sense, but the collective desperation is there and maybe Peoplehood will help some.

Decades before Covid, Moose Lodges and bowling leagues were going away and church attendance was also declining. Covid showed us that social media as a community isn't sufficient.

Church leaders, like most of the people in charge of Western civilization, have been managing the decline for two generations. Universities have moved away from deep thought toward trendy post-modern thought. Are Catholic universities like Georgetown, Boston College or Notre Dame much different?

I share a property boundary with a thriving non-denominational church. When I called the pastor to discuss property issues, the secretary told me of the groups they have for nearly every personal circumstance. It's a full-service church that is responsive to congregant needs.

The traditional denominational churches don't seem interested in filling the gap that people feel. Post-Covid, many people feel disconnected. If existing organizations don't step up, the new institutions, like Peoplehood, will give it a try.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

We garner a gather. We garner a gathering. We gather a gather. We gather a flock. We garner a flock. Flocks. Gathers. Lots of people. Lots and lots of people. Who had to be brought together somehow. Or come on their own--that would work too. Garner ye my peoples. Comfort ye while yer at it. Gather ye me gathers.

ga6 said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lBaiylYeho&ab_channel=DollyParton35Yrs

wildswan said...

We sing that gathering song pretty often at all the churches in different places I attend and I've always hated it. Catholic music was "reformed" at Vatican II by a group led by Archbishop Weakland of Milwaukee who was then Abbott of a Benedictine monastery. He therefore was a "trusted adult" on the subject of the liturgy and his ideas still prevail. Weakland went on as Archbishop of Milwaukee to embezzle church funds to pay blackmail to his gay lover. That's the kind of "trusted adult" we had in many places in the Church back then. There have been major reforms but areas "off to the edge," such as the liturgy, which Weakland influenced have never been restudied. Weakland might have never been exposed were it not for the secular press and the criminal justice system. But I don't think we can expect help with true liturgical reform from those agencies. Or from the current Pope and his Cardinals. Well, you always have to get past sin in the Church to see it for what it is. Read Dante.

bobby said...

In old England, there was always conflict between the Established churches and the Gathered churches. "Gathered" is a religious term of art, with specific meaning. Interpreting this label through common usage will of course yield dumb results.

Ann Althouse said...

I accept “gather” as a noun in the sense of fabric being sewn into gathers, but not as a replacement for “gathering.”

I do see this in the OED for gather as a noun:

“ a. The amount gathered, crop, harvest.
1555 W. Waterman tr. J. Boemus Fardle of Facions ii. i. 114 He that is lorde and gouernour among them, when the whole gather (of Cinamome) is brought together, deuideth out vnto euery man his heape.””

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may. Yea, and gather ye gathers. Gathers of rosebuds. Gathers and garlands. If buds come in garlands. Gather ye gathers of flowers of all kinds, ye virgins. Yea, gathers of virgins.

mikee said...

"As a lapsed Roman Catholic, I assure you, each and every one of y'all, you're ALL going to Hell."

That was the line I used on Evangelical Southern Baptists being God-botherers at my small, southern, Baptist-affiliated university almost half a century ago. Worked then, works now. Start out hard with an absolute condemnation and see if they can find a way to redemption within their limited religious beliefs. Make 'em work, and give 'em more work when they are working hard. It is the only way to keep them from bothering you endlessly.

Ann Althouse said...

Garner is a noun: it’s a place for storing grain

n.n said...

garner

Garner is a binary word used either as a noun, or verb since the late 15c.

Scott Patton said...

I would expect that Gather in this context is trademarked. I very quick search was unfruitful.
Is a Gather of Peoplehoods like a murder of crows?

Scott Patton said...

There always seemed to be some subtle bar bouncer humor at the end of mass... "Mass is ended; go in peace". No lingering! Or, like a waitress trying to clear a table for the next party.
Gather has ended, you are now a Disperse.

iowan2 said...

Thanks for the garner explanation. Never would have looked it up on my own. I just assumed ( I know) it was some trivial pet peeve. Should have guessed you had etymological reasons. I really enjoy the rare knowledge I learn here. Now I have to figure out how to insert it into a conversation.

n.n said...

“The problem isn’t you,” Peoplehood’s website coos, “it’s just life.”

You are the subject. Life is the forge. Ethical religions think that they can abort the baby, cannibalize her profitable parts, and have her, too. Been there, done that, since time immemorial. #NoJudgment #NoLabels is the progressive liberal cause du jour.

tcrosse said...

Do you need an invite to attend a gather?

iowan2 said...

Qualye

That is a great excerpt.

Something I learned way to late in life. Hate and resentment harm me. It is a stupid way to go about life. I have no power to change a person. My only power is to change me. When I can do that, for some reason, almost all conflict leaves my life. Conflict has to be fed. So I don't feed it.

Trying to explain it the to the grand kids. It's a process, maybe they will pick up on the concept long before I came to.

Kevin said...

Peoplehood is the radical proposition that girls grow up to be women.

Quaestor said...

I wonder why the choristers arise on cue only to cluck-cluck like a flock of chickens for twenty-nine seconds... but that's mainstream Protestant reverence for you.

I can't say I find the snake handlers' liturgy very inspiring, but at least they're serious about it. Among the Charismatic Pentecostals "lightweight religion" means you stick to the Cooperheads and leave the Diamondbacks strictly alone, contrasting sharply with the Methodists, who almost couldn't be bothered getting dressed on Sunday, unless it's their shift.

Nancy said...

Garner is a binary word? It's a verb that identifies as a noun?

Marc said...

You can compare Christine Emba's and Katherine Rosman's essays, if you like. (I notice that Emba relies on Rosman's essay for her information, apart from whatever she harvested from the Instagram page.)

[https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/07/style/self-care/soulcycle-peoplehood.html]

I thought I had read something about this nonsense. Was amused by the fact that Rosman (seemed to me) to bend over backward not to indulge in some polite mockery but couldn't help herself in one or two places-- but that was almost three weeks ago so who knows.

traditionalguy said...

Garnering people. Social animals need each other’s company. Christianity gathers former sinners together to enjoy loving one another.

Danno said...

Has anyone been so curious to see how much money they extract to have access? A tithing?

rcocean said...

Isn't current Catholic dogma, according to the Pope, that Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc. are all finding their own path to God?

If people want some Pop Religion, so what? Its better than nothing. Or more accurately, not worse than nothing.

tim maguire said...

Real religion is hard but the rewards are great. People want the rewards and are striking out for an easier softer path. There isn't one. Just as most woke congregations are dying on the vine, alternatives like the Gatherings also don't last. People check them out, they may be fun for a while, but ultimately there's no there there and people drift away looking for the next easier softer path.

farmgirl said...

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2022/05/pelosi-responds-san-francisco-archbishop-denying-holy-communion-due-support-abortion-video/

Speaking of religions…
This woman needs to shell out a little of her ice cream $$$ and buy herself a Catechism of the Catholic Church.
This is unadulterated ignorance wrapped up in hypocrisy (hidden)inside hubris.

She is dumb.
Dumb, dumb…. Dumb.

farmgirl said...

Is a gerund a gerbil that’s had it’s nuts cut off?
Asking for a friend…

farmgirl said...

True true, wildswan.
Judus was handpicked by Christ, Himself.
Human, fallible DNA.

Narr said...

"Be the change you want in the world."

As for my hates and resentments, they were hard-garnered and I'm very attached to them now.

Jupiter said...

Tough call. Cult, scam, or both?

Quayle said...

And when it comes to church choirs, I'm partial to this approach.

bentoak said...

Do you have a religious preference?
I belong to First United Gather over on Elm St.

bentoak said...

Or better...
First United Peoplehood Gather!

Dave said...

My appellation for this sense of gather would be "CEO-speak". When physicians employ the locution "micronutrient protocols", or when the director of SOX auditing speaks to "coming into cadence" as business unit onboarding, that is CEO-speak. I garner and curate such content as prophylactic..

Dave said...

n.n.
Althouse has elsewhere explained that garner means gathering with an intent to store. Some things that are got, like votes, should not be stored, though were I Democrat, I would be right to say that I garner votes.

boatbuilder said...

Young Hegelian--Very beautiful.

I am fairly certain I recognize the church--I can see it from my front steps. I used to attend services there--its a long story.

Marc said...

…words that annoy gaffers or other gawker gabbering gaXXerphobics…


Dave said...

Dear Farmgirl,

Nancy Pelosi is not dumb, dumb, dumb. She is smart, smart, smart.

Amen.

--Dave

n.n said...

Garner is a binary word? It's a verb that identifies as a noun?

Garner exists in two forms: state and process, which are equal and complementary in language.

This binary form is similar to the sexes: male and female, binary genders: masculine and feminine, respectively. Equal and complementary in Nature/nature.

n.n said...

Garner is a binary word? It's a verb that identifies as a noun?

A verb that identifies as a noun is a trans/neo-noun.

Kai Akker said...

---Many phrases have become ritualized, whereby they now have no actual meaning. [Enigma]

Yes, but.... their familiarity can also work as a touchstone that provides comfort and does a lot of the work of connecting the congregant to the emotional impact of their tradition.

God, who art the lover of peace and author of concord.....

iowan2 said...

Real religion is hard but the rewards are great. People want the rewards and are striking out for an easier softer path.



“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”

"When a man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes anything."

The fist is Chesterton, the second often attributed to him, but never tracked down.

Narr said...

I hate to disappoint the GKC fanboys, but no, when a man stops believing in God he does NOT replace that belief with belief in something else. (Some might; others, no.)

It's a stupid observation, and if Chesterton said it he was a fool.

BudBrown said...

Gather's at the garner, soon to garner at the trap.