Archive for the ‘spirituality’ Category

The '1 percent' in mainline Protestantism? Congregations attracting young adults

Is there a point of no return for the resurgence of mainline Protestantism? As the movement enters its second half-century of precipitous decline, new research suggests that not only is there no end in sight, but there are few signs of hope for revival in rapidly aging, shrinking groups such as the Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

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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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An environmental tipping point? Evangelicals going to the dogs . . . and cats . . . with major statement on animal welfare

Evangelicals are turning their attention to all creatures great and small. Scores of prominent evangelical pastors, scholars, theologians and other leaders took their place in a growing national dialogue over animal welfare with a declaration resolving to confront “any and all cruelty against animals.” Some analysts see the evangelical declaration as moving toward a tipping point in raising religious awareness of animal welfare issues, building on the momentum of Pope Francis’s encyclical in June.

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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.

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Older worshippers find it’s never too late to switch

Religious switching is not limited to the young. Nearly three in 10 older adults made a major change in spiritual homes within just an 11-year period, according to a study. The findings and related research indicate both why it is important for older adults to be in a supportive congregation and why leaving a long-established spiritual community late in life could jeopardize the individual’s well-being.

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5 ways faith can help parents of teens raise healthy, compassionate young adults

Parents who cultivate the spiritual lives of their children are more likely to help them develop into well-adjusted young adults, a new wave of research indicates. And adolescents with strong faith are more likely to have better mental health later in life and are less likely to succumb to a range of addictions, from drugs to online pornography, the studies suggest.

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How to build a better world: Jean Vanier on love, humility and the path to peace

What kind of a world would it be if the stories and ideas that captured our attention reflected our common humanity? It might be a world where we can envision ourselves as sisters and brothers in a large human family, says Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche, an international network of communities where people with and without intellectual disabilities live together. Today, at 86, as he joins the pantheon of Templeton Prize winners that includes individuals such as the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa, Vanier sees a world teetering between love and fear, where the culture erects walls of distrust that lead people to fear those who are different.

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‘Nones’ are ‘someones’ in vibrant U.S. religious landscape

The end is not near for religion in America – or elsewhere in the world. What analysts are trying to divine, however, is the mystery of whether the evidence fewer people are identifying with specific faith groups heralds a long-term loss of religious beliefs. While jeremiads of the decline of religion get a good deal of press, scholars said at a recent symposium, there is also evidence Americans are “living in one of the most religious countries on the face of the Earth.”

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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.

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