Archive for the ‘aging’ Category

How religion matters in the face of death

Religion can be a critical resource in reducing death anxiety, according to a developing body of research. Not all will benefit equally, and some may suffer greater worries if they believe they will be found wanting by a judgmental divinity. But the research opens windows of understanding for caregivers, family and friends seeking to help support others in their journey through the shadows of the valley of death.

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Older seminarians, especially minority women, face tough job market with rising student debt

Pursuing a clerical career in their 40s and 50s can be a dream come true for many women and men, a chance to follow what they consider God’s call and do meaningful work in their later years. But the realities of a shrinking clergy labor market, and seminary tuition costs outpacing inflation, leave some facing debts of $80,000 or more trying to find work in a relatively low-paying profession, researchers state. The burden is falling particularly hard on prospective minority clergy with the fewest resources.

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5 ways faith may promote healthier marriages

Comedian Henny Youngman observed, “The secret of a happy marriage remains a secret.” But several new studies indicate that cultivating practices such as selfless prayer, spiritual intimacy and compassionate love can help keep couples happily together through the challenges of marriage, from becoming parents to caring for one another amid the infirmities of old age.

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Parents No. 1 influence helping teens remain religiously active as young adults

The holy grail for helping youth remain religiously active as young adults has been at home all along: Parents. Mothers and fathers who practice what they preach and preach what they practice are far and away the major influence related to adolescents keeping the faith into their 20s, according to new findings from a landmark study of youth and religion.

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Cultivating gratitude: Being thankful with some help from religious friends

Having trouble being thankful? New research suggests one possible solution: Keep your friends close, and your religious friends closer. A national study of worshipers found that individuals who had more friends in their congregations were more likely to be grateful to God and ultimately report better health and fewer symptoms of depression.

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Finding the next T.D. Jakes or Joel Osteen: Keys to a successful pastoral CEO search

Pastoral transitions may lack the drama of networks choosing their next host of late-night talk shows. But saying goodbye to a longtime leader and deciding on a new spiritual CEO pose special challenges for congregations, where clergy and members bond through some of the most difficult and joyous moments of the life cycle.

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More than a platitude: Praying for others promotes hope, optimism, studies suggest

What does it mean when someone says, “My prayers are with you.” More than one might imagine, it turns out, particularly when the pledge comes from someone near to the person suffering, new research suggests. One national study found that people who were prayed for by someone close to them were the most optimistic about their future – even though individuals receiving prayer were more likely to be facing adversity such as mental or physical health issues or unemployment.

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Religion and mercy: Who is most likely to forgive?

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” The line from The Lord’s Prayer relating divine and personal forgiveness has substantial practical implications, new research shows. Individuals who believe that a loving God forgives them are far more likely to turn around and absolve others, several studies indicate. Trust in God’s forgiveness also may make it more likely for individuals to forgive themselves, a process that seems to make it easier to extend mercy to others.

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Investing in faith: Religion helps retirees stay mentally fit, studies indicate

Retirement planning is not all about money. It may be just as important for aging Baby Boomers to have invested in their spiritual lives as in their 401K plans, new research shows. The benefits of increased spiritual activity range from battling loneliness and depression through personal faith and church, synagogue and mosque attendance to reducing death anxiety through religious music, the studies indicate.

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Obesity rising: Religion and food can be unhealthy combination

Other than sexuality, food is one of the most difficult topics for religious communities to talk about. Just how difficult is shown in new research indicating weight control is a notable exception to a generally positive record linking religious activitiy to positive health outcomes. In one study of some 5,500 women and men ages 45 to 84, participants were more likely to be obese the more religiously active they were. Each step of the way, from those never attending worship to those attending weekly, greater religious activity was associated with significantly higher rates of obesity.

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