Are Clergy Underpaid?

New Research In the March 2016 issue of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Mark Chaves (author of one of my top ten faith enriching books) and Cyrus Schleifer offer the most in-depth quantitative analysis of American clergy compensation compared to American compensation in general and among the college educated workforce.  Unique to their work is the inclusion of housing allowances, conversion of income to hourly rates using self-reported working hours, and comparison to two Read More …

Top 10 Faith Enriching Books

Since launching this blog in 2009, I have reviewed over 150 books and recommended nearly 100 more.  Starting in 2010, I have published annual lists of my top books published each year (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014). Each year, I have concluded alphabetical top ten lists with the two books that had the greatest impact on my own faith journey during that year.  Together these ten volumes create a list of my Top 10 Recently Published Faith Enriching Books: Diana Butler Read More …

Striking Religious Findings from 2014

Pew Research Center continues to be a leader in providing research and commentary on matters of faith that matter.  During 2014 they published  150+ reports and  600+ blog posts considering what is happening in the USA and the world.  At the close of the year they reviewed this massive body of work and created a list of 14 facts they "found particularly striking, as they illustrate some major shifts in our politics, society, habits or families."  The list includes two religious items: Over Read More …

How Worship is Evolving

Data from the third wave of the National Congregations Study just became available last week.  While the first academic paper using the data won't be published till December, a number of blog posts have appeared in recent days focusing on specific shifts that have occurred between wave one (1996) and wave three (2012). Highlights of the latest wave include: Decline in the number of average regular participants from 80 in 1996 to 70 in 2012, Increased acceptance of gays and lesbians into Read More …

Top 11 Books Published in 2011

For the second year (last year's list is available here) I offer my list of the "top 10 books published this year."  Since this is 2011, I have expanded the list to include eleven titles. Aboujaoude, Elias Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality Borg, Marcus Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power – And How They Can Be Restored Chaves, Mark American Religion: Contemporary Trends Chittister, Joan Happiness Kinnaman, Read More …

American Faith at an All-Time High

Joel Osteen is truly unique.  He is Pastor of America's largest congregation; Preacher of happiness (above all else); and an Accidental popular author and preacher ("inherited" his dad's congregation and has no formal training - e.g. seminary). Cheryl Wetzstein's article in the Washington Post provides a look into his latest claim: "I see faith in America at an all-time high."   So What? Of course, Osteen bases this lofty assertion on nothing more than his own incredibly Read More …