Archive for the ‘clergy’ Category

Worshipping alone: Studies find divorce retains its sting in faith communities

The religious stigma surrounding divorce remains a powerful source of anguish for believers, but few congregations have ministries for people recovering from failed marriages, new studies find. Believers are finding solace in a personal relationship with the divine, but many report feeling alone and judged at communal services across faith traditions, the research indicates.

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Saving grace: The leadership virtue that can help congregations work through conflict

Science is suggesting an effective pastoral response to working through conflict. Humility. Intellectual humility in particular. New research projects are finding the more pastors are perceived to be intellectually humble, the more likely they are to be forgiven by people who took offense at something they said or did. This was especially the case in one study for perceived transgressions in the area of religious beliefs, values or convictions, core areas of religious identity that have the potential to tear asunder congregations.

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Balancing sin and forgiveness on the path to a healthy life

How can believers buffer the negative effects of an unhealthy preoccupation with transgressions while benefiting from sin’s appeal to humility in being able to accurately assess one’s own strengths and weaknesses? Forgiveness may be one good place to start, according to a new study. Americans who reported experiencing being frequently forgiven by God were far less likely to show symptoms of depression and other mental health ills associated with strong beliefs in the fallen nature of humankind.

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Is your congregation a clergy killer? How churchgoers matter to mental health of pastors

Clergy who serve flocks that support them in their times of need and let their pastors know how much they mean to them are much more likely to be satisfied in their ministry and have a higher quality of life, according to a new study. However, the more clergy feel isolated in their work and forced to meet unreasonable demands, the more likely they are to suffer anxiety, depression and emotional exhaustion, research indicated.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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