Archive for the ‘clergy’ Category

Secret shame: How online porn may cause spiritual struggles, disrupt families

As popular culture marches on in its acceptance of pornography, one group of Americans is not finding it as easy to adapt, research indicates. Many religious individuals are facing damaging spiritual struggles as they find themselves torn between the teachings of their faith and the same basic desires that have turned online porn into a multibillion-dollar business.

[Read Full Column...]

Religion, tolerance and the unmaking of prejudice in the Trump era

Politicians from Donald Trump to leaders of populist radical right political parties in Europe attempt to appeal to Christian audiences while blaming immigrants, Muslims and other minorities for social ills. Yet it is far from clear whether they are winning the hearts of individuals for whom faith matters. Two new studies call into question the idea faithful women and men in relatively peaceful democracies are swayed by appeals to close their borders to immigrants and Muslims.

[Read Full Column...]

Enough is never enough: Why most Americans donate little or nothing to charity

Americans like to think of themselves as a generous people. But the truth appears much different. Forty-five percent of Americans, including nearly four in 10 who said a generous self-identity was important to them, actually gave no money to charity in the past year, the Science of Generosity survey found. What we end up with is a nation where a relatively few people give freely and abundantly, while most of us give little or nothing, researchers report in a new book.

[Read Full Column...]

How faith can help young women - and men - take their body image higher

Faith may be a strong antidote to the pop culture worship of ultra-thin body types, new research indicates. But not just any kind of faith. Individuals who believe in a judgmental God often feel worse about themselves as they engage in activities such as binging or excessive exercise to win approval from a distant, demanding divinity. However, young people who have faith in a God who loves them as they are have much healthier body images, according to several studies.

[Read Full Column...]

The Amazon effect: Worshippers flocking to larger churches

Just as one-stop shopping behemoths such as Walmart and Amazon are fulfilling the retail needs of America’s consumers, larger churches are increasingly meeting the spiritual needs of America’s faithful. New research indicates a decline in attendance at the great majority of the nation’s churches, while churches attracting 400 people or more on Sundays are dramatically increasing their market share.

[Read Full Column...]

Walking through the darkest valleys: How religion can be a healing balm for veterans

Religion can be a critical source of spiritual and social support for service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, new research indicates. What also matters is that it be the right type of spiritual support. Veterans who are able to find a resource in faith in a loving God who cares for them appear to be better able to work through the stresses of combat. Those who continue to struggle with images of a judgmental God who is responsible for senseless suffering may be more likely to take their own lives.

[Read Full Column...]

Fewer cheerful givers: The financial crisis facing U.S. churches

Even as the economy improves from the depths of the recession, several U.S. religious groups are not keeping up financially, according to two new studies. Giving as a percentage of income continues to fall for many Protestant groups, while the Catholic Church faces several financial challenges from changing demographics to church embezzlement and the fallout from the clergy sex abuse scandal.

[Read Full Column...]

Pope Francis and 6 things you need to know about the Catholic Church in the U.S.

The sky is not falling on the Catholic Church in the United States, but it faces plenty of challenges as it welcomes Pope Francis for a six-day visit. Here are six key areas you may want to keep in mind when considering the evolving state of the nation’s largest religious group.

[Read Full Column...]

Why faith matters in battling global smoking epidemic

In addition to legal and social activism, there is another potential powerful tool in addressing a global smoking epidemic: Faith. New studies are adding to a growing body of evidence that religion may help deter smoking, particularly among marginalized groups that have the greatest health risks.

[Read Full Column...]

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.

[Read Full Column...]