Archive for the ‘spirituality’ Category

How can secular and religious individuals share the same public space? Humility, humility and humility

Lifting up the virtue of humility may seem anachronistic in an age that extols self-adulation. But for Tomas Halik, a Czech priest and philosopher who won the 2014 Templeton Prize, the willingness of religious and secular individuals to engage in dialogue and learn from one another is essential to a civil society. “We must learn to share public space,” Halik declares.

[Read Full Column...]

Studies: Religion linked to fewer violent crimes; being ‘spiritual but not religious’ tied to increased risk

Can religion help reduce violent crime? Two new studies suggest the answer is yes, both by creating a moral climate that fosters respect among neighbors and by helping to form individual consciences of young adults. Communities with high levels of active participation in congregations may be particularly effective in reducing assaults, rapes and murders in some poor areas that are most likely to suffer from violent crimes, the research indicates.

[Read Full Column...]

Fire in the pews: Competition reviving Latin American religious landscape

Don’t cry for the Catholic Church in Argentina or anywhere else in Latin America. A church in Latin America that was in danger of becoming a stale religious monopoly – witness the malaise throughout much of Western Europe – is reasserting itself in what is a vibrant religious landscape from Mexico to Brazil, according to some researchers.

[Read Full Column...]

Media matters: R-rated films, violent video games may lower religious practice of teens, young adults

Can a steady diet of watching movies such as “Ted” and “Saw” through “Saw VI” or playing violent video games keep young people out of the pews? The answer may be yes, according to studies suggesting the viewing choices young people make also can influence their spiritual lives. It is more complex than a simple “content in, action out” principle where young people emulate the behavior they see on screen. Still, researchers are finding many young adults appear to struggle with the radically different messages of “Machete Kills” or “Grand Theft Auto” and the Sermon on the Mount.

[Read Full Column...]

U.S. Catholic women at crossroads as gender gap disappears: Will Pope Francis make a difference?

For generations, Catholic women have been the foundation of the church, filling the pews, doing much of the volunteer work that keeps parishes running and passing on the faith to future generations. But the day of reckoning for a church that excludes women from the priesthood and has alienated many with its emphasis on rules governing sexual morality may finally have come.

[Read Full Column...]

Who wants to join the Plain Mennonites and Amish? The real seekers of Anabaptist life

Young women, Baptists and seekers who have personal contact with Anabaptist life are some of the more likely candidates to be seriously interested in plain Amish and Mennonite communities, according to a new study. Distinctive, stable communities that place faith and family life at the forefront present an attractive alternative to some people, especially young adults, who appear to be seeking a genuine alternative to a modern world that glorifies technology, consumerism and secular lifestyles.

[Read Full Column...]

Reversing the exodus: 7 characteristics of congregations successfully attracting young adults

Eat, pray, read the Bible. Congregations with high levels of spiritual vitality and that placed a lot of emphasis on spiritual practices such as prayer and scripture reading were more likely to have significant numbers of young adults, according to a new report analyzing data from the 2010 Faith Communities Today study. The report provides insights into the distinctive characteristics of religious communities where 21 percent or more of participants were ages 18 to 34.

[Read Full Column...]

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.

[Read Full Column...]

The next pope, Pentecostalism and the Global South

More than half of the world’s Catholics reside in the Global South, and many Catholics are hopeful the next pope will be from Latin America or Africa. This, some observers say, would not only be a significant affirmation of the global nature of the church, but could help stem defections to Pentecostal congregations in those regions. But what may matter more than the nationality of the next pope, according to some scholars, is his commitment to allowing the growth of lay leadership and culturally sensitive worship that is at the heart of the success of the Pentecostal movement. “A new pope would do well to officially sanction some of this, rather than resist it,” one scholar says.

[Read Full Column...]

Five hopeful signs for U.S. congregations

How tough have times become for religious leaders? Benedict XVI became the first pope to resign in six centuries, declaring both strength of mind and body are necessary to oversee the church “in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith.” Yet there are also more hopeful trends about the health and mission of houses of worship. The latest wave of the U.S. Congregational Life Survey, now available for download and exploration on the Association of Religion Data Archives, shares elements of growth and ongoing strengths in congregations.

[Read Full Column...]