REM announced its break-up Wednesday, and as many reflect on the group's impactful legacy, thoughts might turn to how the popular song "Losing My Religion" has found resonance with many Christians.
In looking back on REM's imprint on music and culture over the years as a driving force in alternative rock and as the influence behind such bands as Nirvana and Radiohead, many will remember the 1991 album "Out of Time" and its hit single "Losing My Religion."
While "Losing My Religion" offered no allusions to the practice of religion, as Urban Dictionary, the popular slang reference website, explained, the misconception by many was that the popular song actually did.
Nevertheless, for many in the Christian community, "losing my religion" has become a common trend - in light of the popular formulation being employed by Christians who describe themselves as "spiritual but not religious."
A few weeks ago, the Rev. Lillian Daniel of United Church of Christ published a blog entry entitled "Spiritual but Not Religious? Please Stop Boring Me."
In her post, Daniel described her displeasure at encountering individuals on planes who describe themselves as "spiritual but not religious."
She then went on to relate:
"Being privately spiritual but not religious just doesn't interest me. There is nothing challenging about having deep thoughts all by oneself. What is interesting is doing this work in community, where other people might call you on stuff, or heaven forbid, disagree with you. Where life with God gets rich and provocative is when you dig deeply into a tradition that you did not invent all for yourself."
In a survey released last year, it was found that 72 percent of millennials were "more spiritual than religious." According to Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, the group that conducted the study. Rainer explained to USA Today that young adults today do not pray, worship, or read the Bible.
In studying the data of 1,200 18-29 year olds, Rainer found that among the 65 percent who described themselves as Christians, "many are either mushy Christians or Christians in name only; most are just indifferent," said Rainer. "The more precisely you try to measure their Christianity, the fewer you find committed to the faith," he added.
The study found that 65 percent rarely or never pray with others, and 38 percent almost never pray by themselves. In addition, 65 percent rarely or never attend worship services, while 67 percent don not read the Bible or sacred texts.
Rainer said, "We have dumbed down what it means to be part of the church so much that it means almost nothing, even to people who already say they are part of the church."
According to Urban Dictionary, the phrase "losing my religion" is a southern term for losing one's temper or "flying off the handle," still, one wonders how many Christians apply it to their own lives.
REM issued a statement to fans on Wednesday, which read:
"To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening."