Posts Tagged ‘worship’

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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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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Religion and volunteering: What motivates people of faith to serve thy neighbor

What motivates religious individuals to volunteer at a community food bank, or to care for the sick or to build houses and schools for neighbors in their community and across the world? The answer is complex, with personal faith, worship attendance and social networks all playing a role, according to new research.

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U.S. congregations report major gains in accepting gays and lesbians, racial, ethnic diversity

America’s pews are becoming dramatically more welcoming to gays and lesbians and increasingly reflective of the nation’s racial and ethnic diversity, according to the latest results from a major study of U.S. congregations. Nearly three in ten U.S. congregations permit gays and lesbians in committed relationships to hold volunteer leadership positions, almost double the 19 percent of congregations in 2006-2007 that allowed such opportunities, the National Congregations Study found. And the percentage of U.S. congregations with only non-Hispanic whites declined from 20 percent in 1998 to 11 percent in 2012, the study found.

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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.

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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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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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The ties that may not bind: Race, religion and marriage

In a scene from the movie “Lincoln,” a Democrat arguing against passage of the 13th Amendment derisively mentions the idea of interracial marriage to ridicule the legislation that would abolish slavery. A century-and-a-half later, as an African-American president is inaugurated for a second term, interracial unions still are relatively rare. And faith groups may be part of the reason Americans still find it so difficult to transcend race and ethnicity in matters of the heart, new research indicates.

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As religious tensions cross borders, nativist fears fuel global hostilities, restrictions

When it comes to religious tensions, what happens in one part of the world does not necessarily stay in that part of the world. Influences from abroad in recent years were reported to have contributed to religious hostilities or government restrictions in more than six in 10 countries across the globe, according to a new study.

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Experiencing is believing: Odyssey into the heart of American religion punctures stereotypes

Forget the popular cultural images from shows such as HBO’s “Big Love” that revive stereotypes linking Mormonism with polygamy or the ubiquitous images in the news associating Islam with terrorism. Look past the cultural crossfire that lumps religious liberals and conservatives into separate boxes defined by extremist political and social agendas. The reality, as presented in a new book by two respected scholars, is that if you walk into a mosque, synagogue, temple or church next weekend, you will most likely find groups of believers in prayer and meditation seeking spiritual growth.

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