Search for a Church: Attending Membership Classes

Some days it feels like my family has been searching for a church for many years and other days it feels like the journey hasn't been long at all. It has been long enough to allow us for visits to three dozen different churches, including repeat visits to nine. The search has given us enough clarity to select two congregations to learn more about through participating in their classes for perspective new members. These churches, hereafter Church A and Church B differ dramatically. These Read More …

The Disappearance of Young Pastors

Last week I saw a link to Kate Shellnutt's article, "Only 1 in 7 Pastors is Under 40" appear on my social feeds a few times before I clicked through to read it and to learn about the latest research on the topic. The research was conducted by the Barna Group and Pepperdine University. It included 14,000 pastors. Findings include: Average Age of Protestant Senior Pastors 2017: 54 1992: 44 Young Senior Pastors  2017: Only 1 in 7 is under age 40 Getting Personal This topic Read More …

Religion – Better Off?

At the beginning of each semester, I invite my world religions students to think broadly about how religion has impacted human history.  Based on life experience, watching a debate among scholars, completing some readings, and conducting a little outside research each student is tasked with deciding whether or not society has been better of with religion or if it would have been better off without religion.  While the breakdown of answers is generally between 80-90% in favor of the the world Read More …

MLK: Paul’s Letter to American Christians

Today is not Great Americans Day; it is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I invite you to read an excerpt from the Rev. Dr. King's creative "Paul's Letter to American Christians" message, which he preached at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, on 4 November 1956. But America, as I look at you from afar, I wonder whether your moral and spiritual progress has been commensurate with your scientific progress. It seems to me that your moral progress lags behind your scientific Read More …

The Least Educated Americans: Christians

A few weeks ago the Pew Research Center published a detailed chart showing a nation by nation breakdown of the educational attainment of those identified with select world religions. United States In the United States, the average educational attainment of all adults aged 25 and older was 12.9 years. In rank order by average educational attainment in number of years the report shows:  Hindus - 15.7  Jews - 14.7  Muslims - 13.6  Buddhists - 13.4  Christians - 12.6 Note: Read More …

Search for a Church: Repeat Visits

One of my resolutions  for 2017 is to "join (and be actively involved in) a local community of faith." Thankfully my recent experiences have helped prepare me to achieve this goal.  A few months ago I shared details of my visits to 34 different congregations.  Since that time, I have managed a few additional visits increasing the total to 36 congregations. The following chart offers a detailed accounting of the number of my worship experience by number of visits and the number of churches Read More …

8 Years of So What Faith

When I launched So What Faith back in 2009 I didn't really know what I was doing, but I had an adventurous spirit, adequate tech skills, and a desire to write about matters of faith that mattered.  The first year I managed to publish 59 posts, which I shared primarily with those in the congregation I was serving and a few former colleagues. Growth Once I got the hang of how to blog, I started to expand my horizons through more intentional use of a variety of social media and interactions Read More …

Top 5 Posts of 2016

I appreciate each and every one of my readers. Your activity on my blog indicates that the most read So What Faith posts of the year are (according to the number of page views during this calendar year among all posts made during 2016) are My Transition from Professor to Student Search for a Church: 9 Months and Counting Top 10 Books of 2016 Search for a Church: The Final Four In Politics and Beyond, #LoveUltimatelyWins Previous Lists Check out my top posts of the year for Read More …

Top 10 Books of 2016

There are so many good books published every year.  The best of the best among those I read this year follow in my seventh annual listing of my top ten books of the year. Top 10 Books of 2016 Author Title Lillian Daniel Tired of Apologizing for a Church I Don’t Belong To Robert P. Jones The End of White Christian America Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Carlton Abrams The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World Brian McLaren The Great Spiritual Read More …

The Fading American Dream

Are you living the American Dream? Most people consider several variables when constructing a personal response to whether or not they and their families are living the American Dream.  Rather than address all such factors, I invite you to consider the economic component. A couple of years ago I shared information that suggested the economic piece of living the American Dream required an income of at least $130K for a family of four. Yesterday I read a NY Times editorial that referenced Read More …