Spiritual but Not Religious

[Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from the new book by James Emery White, The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated (Baker).] 

Marcus Mumford is the 26-year-old lead singer of the phenomenally successful British band Mumford & Sons. Mumford is the son of John and Eleanor Mumford, the national leaders of the Vineyard Church in the U.K. and Ireland, part of the international evangelical Christian Vineyard Movement. He recently married actress Carey Mulligan, whom he’d met years earlier at a Christian youth camp. As the main lyricist for the band, he has lavished the music of Mumford & Sons with the themes and imagery of faith, often drawing specifically on the Christian tradition. As Cathleen Falsani has observed, they “explore relationships with God and others; fears and doubts; sin, redemption, and most of all, grace.”
Yet in a Rolling Stone interview, Mumford declined to claim the “Christian” label as his own. The reporter asked Mumford whether he “still consider(s) himself a Christian.” Mumford replied, “I don’t really like that word. It comes with so much baggage. So, no, I wouldn’t call myself a Christian. I think the word just conjures up all these religious images that I don’t really like. I have my personal views about the person of Jesus and who he was...I’ve kind of separated myself from the culture of Christianity.”

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