Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

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.

[Read Full Column...]

Not just gay issues: Why hundreds of congregations made final break with mainline denominations

Changing stances on gay ordinations and same-sex marriages were a key factor in the exodus of several hundred churches from mainline Protestant denominations. But new research into why congregations decided to leave reveal differences on sexuality issues were only part of a much larger divide.

[Read Full Column...]

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.

[Read Full Column...]

Language barriers: Orthodox, Catholic churches face delicate balance in meeting needs of ethnic ministries

Dividing congregations along ethnic lines has allowed many immigrants throughout the last two centuries to find familiar spiritual homes in the United States. But it also left a legacy of many declining congregations or closed churches as parishes failed to adapt to the needs of succeeding generations and changing neighborhood demographics. Many churches serving new immigrants today are also making efforts to integrate them into the larger parish community.

[Read Full Column...]

Creating creationists: Silencing the middle in the science-religion dialogue

The debate about whether science and religion are adversaries often misses the fact that many people are comfortable both with scientific findings on topics such as evolution and the idea God plays a role in the universe. Public opinion surveys that force people to choose between a Darwinian theory of evolution and their personal faith create an artificial division that can misrepresent their positions, research indicates.

[Read Full Column...]

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.

[Read Full Column...]

Faith 101: Supporting college freshmen through times of spiritual questioning

College freshmen undergoing spiritual struggles may be at risk for addictive behaviors, a study indicates. The finding is consistent with a developing body of research revealing the complex nature of religion and mental health. The assurance of a loving God concerned with their welfare helps many people deal with life’s stresses, but individuals with a less secure attachment to the divine may face greater problems with anxiety and depression.

[Read Full Column...]

Forgiveness in its own time: How faith communities can help trauma survivors heal

Forgiveness is linked to better mental and physical health. And religious traditions generally uphold the practice as a great virtue. But forgiveness is also a deeply personal act, one that can harm trauma survivors if it is coerced or demanded before they are able to come to terms with their pain and suffering, experts note. “The first thing is to surround the people with care and compassion,” one researcher says.

[Read Full Column...]

7 ways congregations can embrace people with special needs

Faith communities appear to have fallen behind the larger society in their understanding and inclusion of people with disabilities. But research is revealing several ways – beginning with attitudes of love and acceptance – that just about any congregation can be more inclusive.

[Read Full Column...]