Archive for the ‘women’ Category

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.

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Leaning inward: Mothers at the margins find hope, support in faith

Research lifting up the experiences of mothers facing hardships, whether in a homeless shelter in the Southwest, or in a maximum-security prison in the Midwest, or ostracized with AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, suggests many women rely on religion and spirituality for a pathway beyond despair to having a sense of hope for the future. Their stories reveal a powerful faith that provides a vision of a better life for them and their children.

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Holy self-worth: Studies find religion promotes healthy body image for young women

Forget looking like Kate Moss. A developing body of research suggests faith can provide a safe haven from a secular culture that encourages women to fit into a body type that comes naturally to only about one in 20 females. Worship, prayer and a strong sense of the importance of religion may help teens and 20-somethings with eating disorders overcome feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness, one new study indicated.

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Online tool helps make sense of the great American middle in abortion debate

Scholars, journalists and the general public have a new tool to determine what trends are emerging as a national consensus on controversial topics such as abortion, homosexuality and the mix of science and religion. The Measurement Wizard of the Association of Religion Data Archives allows users to browse available ARDA data from some 7,700 questions asked in more than 750 major national and international surveys to analyze the major findings on hot-topic issues in religion and public life.

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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.

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Divine support may reduce parental stress, increase satisfaction

Do religious teachings set up impossibly high standards that increase parental guilt. Or does the idea God stands with them in times of both joy and anxiety reduce stress and lead to increased parental satisfaction? The answer is a little of both. But new research suggests that there is a positive relation between some faith practices and beliefs and being a happier mom or dad.

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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.

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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.

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Homosexuality and the pews: Seven signs influencing congregational acceptance of gays and lesbians

Much of the conflict over issues of sexuality takes place at the national level. But individual congregations, not denominations, ultimately decide how gay and lesbian worshippers will be accepted in religious communities. New studies are providing insights into which congregations are more likely to be welcoming to gays and lesbians, and what this means for the future.

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Faithful unions: Religion buffers high costs of marriage

The recession, the rising financial independence of women and cultural shifts and technological advances that make single-parent families more acceptable and feasible are contributing to fewer people walking down the aisle. Religious groups are not immune to these trends, but new research indicates faith is a powerful force slowing the decline in U.S. marriage rates.

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