Religious Scrapbooking

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What is faithbooking?

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People are preserving their religious memories in scrapbooks.

Scrapbooking - creating photo albums and memory books with decorative papers - is one of the hottest hobbies around, bringing in $1 billion a year. As scrapbooking’s popularity has grown, people of faith have adopted it as an informal outlet for sharing their religious beliefs, both within and outside of their own faith communities. Some refer to this hobby as "faithbooking." There are clubs for Jews, Catholics, Mormons and other Christians all over the country. Many use pages and albums to commemorate religious holidays, such as Easter and Passover, and religious passages, such as first communions and bar and bat mitzvahs. In some places, members of different religions work side by side in scrapbooking classes and clubs, sharing religious ideas as well as paper, scissors and paste. All agree that scrapbooking the religious milestones in their lives is an innovative way to preserve family faith traditions for future generations.

One of the main characteristics of modern religious practice is the way many people seek religious fulfillment and meaning outside organized religion. Religious scrapbooking – which some people call "faithbooking" - is one of the newest ways people are carrying their religious beliefs over into their secular lives and activities.

In Dallas, Texas, Marni Kaner organizes a Jewish scrapbooking club. Most members are Jewish, and say scrapping religious milestones and holidays is an effective way to pass on Jewish traditions. “When my children look through their albums, it shows them the importance of all the Jewish things they do,” she says. "They know those things are important because mommy put them in their albums."

Sandra Joseph frequently speaks to groups to spread the gospel of scrapbooking and has just founded a company that will publish five how-to books on transforming scrapbooks into chronicles of family and individual faith. A Christian, she has used a Bible software program to discover that the Bible commands people to "remember" 262 times – a direction she says can lead to scrapbooking. She cites the Book of Joshua’s description of God's command to the Twelve Tribes of Israel to leave a stone in memory as they cross the Jordan River. "It was a scrapbook," she says. "A visual reminder of God's faithfulness. That is where I see the calling for us to document the day-to-day examples of God’s faithfulness in our lives."

Brent Plate is a professor of religion at Texas Christian University and he sees many reasons why scrapbooking lends itself well to religious expression. Both are about community and tradition, and passing on both through ritual. "We used to sit around and share stories of our ancestors and this is along the same lines," he says. "Now we sit around the living room and do the same thing. But the format of it – the formal arrangement of it – there is something in that that becomes religious. People are gathered together with a set of actions, intending to make meaning and continue memories. And one of the most important things of all to religious ritual is memory."