Archive for the ‘economics’ Category

Are black Americans the most religious – and virtuous – of all?

In a nation where rising numbers of people are dropping out of organized religion, one dynamic religious movement continues to display remarkable strength. The black church. Several studies and surveys reveal black Americans retain remarkably strong levels of religious beliefs and practices. And that spiritual core is having an impact on community life in areas from health to economic empowerment.

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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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Catholic churches most likely to be on the front lines of issues from abortion to poverty

The nation’s largest religious body is also by far the most likely to have its congregations take to the streets in public demonstrations or lobby the halls of power on moral issues, a new study finds. While Catholics were most active on the abortion issue, they also were more likely than other groups to lobby and demonstrate on a wide range of issues, from combating poverty to advocating for immigration reform.

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It is most blessed to give and to receive, studies suggest

In a culture that prizes rugged individualism, many Americans find it is more acceptable to give than to receive. Yet the blessings appear to multiply when one is able to do both, according to new research. People who both meet the needs of others and are cared for in a nurturing community are much more likely to love and trust their neighbors, studies indicate.

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Morality study: What would you do for a million dollars?

A major new study now available on the Association of Religion Data Archives offers insights into how Americans apply ethical principles in the moral choices they make in their everyday lives. While most of us like to think of ourselves as merciful, kind, generous human beings, personal interests may take precedence when it comes to making real-life decisions.

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Racial power vs. divine glory: Why desegregation remains an elusive goal for U.S. congregations

It is tempting to think of America as a nation that is transcending an historic racial divide. But a developing body of research is revealing just how pervasive racial differences are in one of the nation’s most powerful voluntary institutions — the houses of worship where people gather for spiritual and moral guidance and fellowship.

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What price a religious calling? Record seminary debt shows need for financial as well as divine guidance

Record seminary debt and rising tuition costs are forcing both prospective clergy and theological schools to reconsider the price of a religious calling. More than a quarter of students graduating in 2011 with a Master of Divinity degree had more than $40,000 in theological debt and 5 percent were more than $80,000 in the red, a new study found. Many of these students discovered that not only they or their spouses had to moonlight to make ends meet, but some had to choose another job besides the ministry to pay the bills.

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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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As black-white gap widens, Americans do not want to talk about race

New findings from the second wave of a major study on religion and race lay bare the dramatic and growing gap in racial attitudes and experiences in America. We do not live in a post-racial nation, the 2012 Portraits of American Life Study suggests, but in a land of two Americas divided by race, and less willing than ever to find a common ground of understanding.

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