Popular Presbyterians

NYT

Last week I happened upon a chart showing how common certain words related to mainline Protestantism appeared in the New York Times.   I was immediately intrigued to see that Presbyterians have received better coverage than others since 1860 and that the use of the term peaked in 1937, appearing that year in 2,149 articles. After determining how to create my own charts, I made one reflecting the names of the four traditions with which I have had formal affiliation:  Christian Church Read More …

August Book Recommendations

Real Good

Here are the ratings for my most recent reads: (4.5) Real Good Church: How Our Church Came Back from the Dead and Yours Can Too by Molly Phinney Baskette (2014) (4) The Question that Never Goes Away by Philip Yancey (2013) (4) Happy Professor: An Adjunct Instructor's Guide to Personal, Financial, and Student Success by Erin Lovell Ebanks (2014) (4) How to Be a Christian Without Going to Church: The Unofficial Guide to Alternative Forms of Christian Community by Kelly Bean Read More …

The Great American Religious Decline

GallupAverage

Tobin Grant, political science professor at Southern Illinois University and associate editor of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, recently blogged about what he calls "The Great Decline" of American religion over the last two decades.  From 1994-2014 Gallup surveys show significant declines in religious identity, worship attendance, membership in churches or other religious communities, religion's importance in life, and religion's relevance for today.  When these five are Read More …

A Personal Experience of God

spong

In his latest essay, Bishop John Shelby Spong explores how it is one can know God: The fact is that I do believe in God deeply and profoundly, but I cannot tell you either who God is or what God is. Nor do I think that anyone else can do so either. All any of us can ever do is to tell others how we believe we have experienced God. God and our experience of God are not the same. So What? The only way one can know God is to experience God.  This understanding can be refined in many ways, Read More …

Fort Myers Congregational UCC

FMUCC

    This summer continues to be marked by new opportunities.  I am currently spending four Sundays (July 20, July 27, August 3, and August 10) as the guest preacher at Fort Myers Congregational UCC (Fort Myers, FL). Check out last Sunday's message: "A Holy Invitation."       Read More …

The Day the Mainline Disappeared

thermometer

According to a new Pew Research Survey: People think more positively about their own religious groups, or about groups that their friends belong to, and On a scale of warmest/most positive feelings to coolest/least positive feelings, Americans have warm feelings toward Jews, Catholics and Evangelical Christians, neutral feelings about Buddhists, Hindus and Mormons, and cooler feelings toward Muslims and atheists. While this data is interesting, it is also troubling.  As a lifelong Read More …

Living the American Dream?

American Dream

Price tag for the American dream: $130K a year.  The first few times I encountered that statement on social media, I dismissed it.  Finally, I decided to check out the story or, more precisely, read Howard R. Gold's July 4, 2014, USA TODAY article with that title. While I hesitate to define the American dream solely in economic terms, I recognize it is the simplest place to begin.  Household finances have become an area of greater concern and awareness thanks to the Great Recession.  This Read More …

Churches & Social Media

mgould

Meredith Gould is the author of The Social Media Gospel: Sharing the Good News in New Ways, which I named as one of my top books of 2013.  On a more personal level, I have benefited from her wisdom as a communications consultant and as the founder and frequent host of #chsocm. As the World Cup has progressed, I have been involved in more conversations about social media than usual.  Interestingly, this has even carried over into church life and conversation.  During this time I stumbled upon Read More …

End of the White Majority

Public Schools

I have always been (and will always be) a non-Hispanic white person. I am well aware of the shifts in the American culture. Even so, I only recently learned that the next school year will be the first year when non-Hispanic white people will no longer be the majority in the public schools in the United States. So What? The chart at right offers a visual representation of what has happened as well as what is projected to happen according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Read More …

Vital Christianity

Gushee

David Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life Mercer University, recently shared his vision of vital Christianity.  It is this sort of Christianity to which Gushee himself is drawn, and it is the type of Christianity he believes will be attractive in a post-Christian America. In short, vital Christianity as I see it is Christ-centered and wholly committed, passionate, loving and just, personally and socially Read More …