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Out of the 46 million Americans with no religious affiliation, 13 millions are self-described atheists and agnostics, but another 33 million are people who ascribe to some faith -- just not to any house of worship. The old rhyme where you manipulate your hands to look like a church and congregation might need a revision:. Given these numbers, Oct. Those pastors probably aren't helping; the Pew poll said one of the leading reasons unaffiliated people stayed away from organized religion was they thought churches were too involved in politics.

In terms of weekly attendance of around , and a growing commitment to mission and service work even as the numbers were off the glory days of the s and s, Pilgrim Faith is the prototypical U. Our church is best known locally for its food pantry and seasonal homeless shelter site, which receives volunteer and financial assistance not only from our own members, but also from other churches, and Christian and non-Christian individuals. What pays the freight, though, is people showing up Sunday morning at , and electing to contribute their money and time to the church's everyday operations.

There's no food pantry and homeless shelter if we can't pay for the maintenance of the church building itself. Fortunately, Pilgrim Faith is attracting some new members, and my family, which started going there four years ago, was like just about all of them: coming from the local, dominant Catholic faith, and deciding that we and our families would rather have some church affiliation than leave organized religion entirely.

I'm involved in church publicity through helping maintain our Facebook and Twitter presences, and I'm involved in youth sports through this site and my involvement as a parent and coach.

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I've learned from following others through social media that churches need to do a better job of marketing themselves. I've also learned that the likes of Dick's Sporting Goods and Chevrolet see youth sports as an effective advertising medium. Before I brought the idea to our church council, I wanted assurance from Oak Lawn Baseball and Softball that, one, there was no ban on religious organizations providing sponsorship.

It said there was none. Then I wanted assurance that on players' uniforms, where the sponsor name and phone number goes, I wanted the phone number replaced with our web address , my thought being, there are going to be a lot of parents checking us out on their smartphones if for no other reason than to kill time during another two-hour T-ball game.

I was told we could. The other assurance I wanted was that Pilgrim Faith could sponsor my two daughters' teams, my thought being that either my wife or myself could be there to talk about the church or answer any questions something that has happened at games before. And then the church council said, let's do it.

Stepping Out In Faith

Our pastor promised to show up for some games to say hello. We figured that the sponsorship would let more people know about our commitment to serve the surrounding community. And we hoped we could get a few members out of it to allow us to have more resources to serve the surrounding community. Mainly, our target audience would be people who were like a lot of our newer members -- dissatisfied with their churches, but not willing to give up on organized religion as a way to express and live their faith, and influence how they passed it on to their families.

Second, when you're dealing with all-volunteer organizations, sometimes things don't go as planned, for better or worse. Unfortunately, my daughters' teams weren't among them, for some unknown reason. Also, because of renovations to the main field, our promised sign never materialized.

The people at the league were more than helpful and gracious about all of this, and surely it wouldn't have helped our reputation as a church for me to go on some profanity-laced tirade against them. We got our name in front of, I would estimate, about 6, sets of eyeballs figuring five teams, playing 15 games each, with about 75 players, coaches, parents, friends and relatives at each game for one to two hours straight at a time. Third, I learned those numbers don't automatically translate into people coming to church. So far, we have gotten zero members as a direct result of the sponsorship.

Declared Baha'is that have reached the age of maturity are expected to begin observing certain Baha'i laws , such as obligatory prayer and fasting. Theravada boys, typically just under the age of 20 years, undergo a Shinbyu ceremony, where they are initiated into the Temple as Novice Monks Samanera.

They will typically stay in the monastery for between 3 days and 3 years, most commonly for one 3-month "rainy season retreat" vassa , held annually from late July to early October. During this period the boys experience the rigors of an orthodox Buddhist monastic lifestyle — a lifestyle that involves celibacy , formal voluntary poverty , absolute nonviolence , and daily fasting between noon and the following day's sunrise. Depending on how long they stay, the boys will learn various chants and recitations in the canonical language Pali — typically the Buddha's more famous discourses Suttas and verses Gathas — as well as Buddhist ethics and higher monastic discipline Vinaya.

If they stay long enough and conditions permit, they may be tutored in the meditative practices bhavana , or dhyana that are at the heart of Buddhism's program for the self-development of alert tranquillity samadhi , wisdom prajna , and divine mental states brahmavihara. After living the novitiate monastic life for some time, the boy, now considered to have "come of age," will either take higher ordination as a fully ordained monk a bhikkhu or will more often return to lay life.

In Southeast Asian countries, where most pracitioners of Theravada Buddhism reside, women will often refuse to marry a man who has not ordained temporarily as a Samanera in this way at some point in his life. According to the Grand Historian , Zhou Gongdan or the Duke of Zhou wrote the Rite of Zhou in about years ago, which documented fundamental ceremonies in ancient China, the Coming of Age rite was included [4]. Then Confucius and his students wrote the Book of Rites, which introduced and further explained important ceremonies in Confucianism [5].

When a man turned 20, his parents would hold a Guan Li also named the capping ceremony ; if a girl turns to 15, she would receive a Ji Li also the Hairpin Ceremony [6]. These rites were considered the representatives of a person being mature and was prepared to get married and start a family; therefore, they were the beginning of all the moral rites [7]. The main dates, participants and procedures may differ in different historical periods or geology [8].

In Eastern Orthodoxy the baptising priest gives Confirmation to infants, directly after baptism. This is usually done by the Bishop laying his hands upon the foreheads of the young person usually between the ages of 12 to 15 years , and marking them with the seal of the Holy Spirit. In some denominations during this sacrament, the child now an adult in the eyes of God adopts a confirmation name which is added onto their Christian name. In Christian denominations that practice Believer's Baptism baptism by voluntary decision, as opposed to baptism in early infancy , the ritual can be carried out after the age of accountability has arrived.

Some traditions withhold the rite of Holy Communion from those not yet at the age of accountability, on the grounds that children do not understand what the sacrament means. In the 20th century, Roman Catholic children began to be admitted to communion some years before confirmation, with an annual First Communion service - a practice that was extended to some paedobaptist Protestant groups - but since the Second Vatican Council , the withholding of confirmation to a later age, e. In some denominations, full membership in the Church, if not bestowed at birth, often must wait until the age of accountability and frequently is granted only after a period of preparation known as catechesis.

The time of innocence before one has the ability to understand truly the laws of God and that God sees one as innocent is also seen as applying to individuals who suffer from a mental disability which prevents them from ever reaching a time when they are capable of understanding the laws of God.

These individuals are thus seen, according to some Christians, as existing in a perpetual state of innocence. In , Pope Pius X issued the decree Quam singulari , which changed the eligibility age for receiving First Communion to 7 years old. Previously, local standards had been 10 or 12 or even 14 years old. Historically, the sacrament of Confirmation has been administered to youth who have reached the "age of discretion" but it can be administered earlier. All persons younger than 8 are considered innocent and incapable of sinning. Note: Other denominations of Christian believe the age is not set at 8 and cannot be specified biblically.

In certain states in Ancient Greece, such as Sparta and Crete , adolescent boys were expected to enter into a mentoring relationship with an adult man, in which they would be taught skills pertaining to adult life, such as hunting , martial arts and fine arts. The puberty ritual for the young Roman male involved shaving his beard and taking off his bulla , an amulet worn to mark and protect underage youth, which he then dedicated to his household gods, the Lares.

Rome lacked the elaborate female puberty rituals of ancient Greece, and for girls the wedding ceremony was in part a rite of passage for the bride. Girls coming of age dedicated their dolls to Artemis , the goddess most concerned with virginity, or to Aphrodite when they were preparing for marriage. The garment was called recta because it was woven by tradition on a type of upright loom that had become archaic in later periods. Roman girls were expected to remain virgins until marriage , but boys were often introduced to heterosexual behaviors by a prostitute. Weddings, however, were often postponed until the girl was considered mature enough.

Males typically postponed marriage till they had served in the military for some time and were beginning their political career, around age Patrician males, however, might marry considerably earlier; Julius Caesar was married for the first time by the age of On the night before the wedding, the bride bound up her hair with a yellow hairnet she had woven. The confining of her hair signifies the harnessing of her sexuality within marriage.

Her weaving of the tunica recta and the hairnet demonstrated her skill and her capacity for acting in the traditional matron's role as custos domi , "guardian of the house. In Hinduism coming of age generally signifies that a boy or girl is mature enough to understand his responsibility towards family and society. Some Casts in Hinduism also has the sacred thread ceremony, called Upanayana for Dvija twice-born boys that mark their coming of age to do religious ceremonies.

A rite of passage males have to go through is Bhrataman or Chudakarma that marks adulthood. Girls often celebrate their coming to age by having a ceremony called a Ritushuddhi , upon receiving her first menstruation cycle.

Transitioning from Mormonism to Christianity

This ceremony includes dressing them in a sari, and announcing their maturity to the community. In the traditional faith of the Yoruba people of West Africa and the many New World religions that it subsequently gave birth to, men and women are often initiated to the service of one of the hundreds of subsidiary spirits that serve the Orisha Olodumare, the group's conception of the Almighty God.

The mystic links that are forged by way of these initiations, which typically occur at puberty, are the conduits that are used by adherents to attempt to achieve what can be seen as the equivalent of the Buddhist enlightenment by way of a combination of personalized meditations , reincarnations and spirit possessions. Children are not required to perform any obligatory religious obligations prior to reaching the age of puberty, although they are encouraged to begin praying at the age of seven.

Once a person begins puberty, they are required to perform salat and other obligations of Islam. A girl is considered an adult at the age of nine-to-twelve, while a boy is considered an adult at twelve-to-fifteen years old. The evidence for this is the narration of Ibn Umar that he said: "Allah's Apostle called me to present myself in front of him on the eve of the battle of Uhud, while I was fourteen years of age at that time and he did not allow me to take part in that battle but he called me in front of him on the eve of the battle of the Trench when I was fifteen years old, and he allowed me to join the battle.

When Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz heard this Hadith he made this age the evidence to differentiate between a mature and an immature person. In the Jewish faith, boys reach religious maturity at the age of thirteen and become a bar mitzvah "bar mitzvah" means "son of the commandment" literally, and "subject to commandments" figuratively. Girls mature a year earlier, and become a bat mitzvah "bat mitzvah" means "daughter of the commandment" at twelve. The new men and women are looked upon as adults and are expected to uphold the Jewish commandments and laws. Also, in religious court they are adults and can marry with their new title of an adult.

Nonetheless in the Talmud; Pirkei Avot , Rabbi Yehuda ben Teime gives the age of 18 as the appropriate age to get married. At the end of the bar or bat mitzvah, the boy or girl is showered with candies, which act as "sweet blessings. In various Chassidic sects when boys turn 3 years of age, they have an upsherin ceremony, when they receive their first haircut. Until then, their parents allow their hair to grow long, until they undergo this rite.

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Little girls light their first Shabbat candles, also when they turn 3 years of age. In the Romani religion, when boys come of age of 20, they become Shave , and girls become Sheya. Boys are then taught to drive and work in their family's line of trade, while girls are taught the women's line of work.

In the Shinto faith, boys were taken to the shrine of their patron deity at approximately 12—14 years old. They were then given adult clothes and a new haircut. This was called Genpuku. In Sikhism , when one reaches the appropriate age of maturity, Amrit is consumed in a ceremony called Amrit Sanchar. As the age of legal majority, being 18 legally enables one to vote, purchase tobacco and alcohol wine in Norway , get married without parental consent although one can do this at 16 in Scotland, Australia and New Zealand and sign contracts.

In some countries Humanist or freethinker organisations have arranged courses or camps for non-religious adolescents, in which they can study or work on ethical, social and personal topics important for adult life, followed by a formal rite of passage comparable to the Christian Confirmation. Some of these ceremonies are even called "civil confirmations". The purpose of these ceremonies is to offer a festive ritual for those youngsters, who do not believe in any religion, but nevertheless want to mark their transition from childhood to adulthood. In some Latin American countries, when a girl reaches the age of 15, her relatives usually organize a very expensive celebration.

the journey transitioning from religion to relationship with the living god Manual

For boys there is no formal ritual of transition. In North America, when a girl turns 16 years old, she may have a sweet sixteen birthday party. In the United States, teenagers are allowed to drive at 16 in all states except New Jersey, which requires drivers to be 17 and older, and sometimes receive the responsibility of owning their own car. Teenagers may drive at age 15 in Idaho and Montana. At 16, teenagers are also old enough to donate blood and work in most establishments. At 18 one is legally considered an adult and can vote and join the military.

The legal age for purchasing and consuming alcohol and recreational marijuana, the latter of which is only legal in the District of Columbia, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nevada, Michigan, and Alaska, is The legal age for purchasing and consuming tobacco products is 18 in most states; 19 in Alabama, Alaska and Utah; and 21 in California, New Jersey, Oregon, Hawaii and Maine.

Walking by Moonlight: My Journey Out of Islam

In Canada, a person aged 16 and over can legally drive a car and work, but are only considered to be an adult at age 18 like in the US. In most provinces, the legal age to purchase alcohol and cigarettes is 19, except in Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec where it is 18 years old. In Spain during the 19th century, there was a civilian coming of age bound to the compulsory military service.

The quintos were the boys of the village that reached the age of eligibility for military service 18 years , thus forming the quinta of a year. In rural Spain, the mili was the first and sometimes the only experience of life away from family. In the days before their departure, the quintos knocked every door to ask for food and drink. Years later, the quintos of the same year could still hold yearly meals to remember times past.

By the end of the 20th century, the rural exodus , the diffusion of city customs and the loss of prestige of military service changed the relevance of quintos parties. In some places, the party included the village girls of the same age, thus becoming less directly relevant to military service. In others, the tradition was simply lost. In , conscription was abolished in Spain in favor of an all-professional military.