Choosing a Church – New Research

Yesterday, the Pew Research Center released a report titled "Choosing a New Church or House of Worship: Americans Look for Good Sermons, Warm Welcome." (I encourage you to read the full report or the associated detailed article about the findings.) It's Personal This new report is incredibly valuable to me for both professional and personal reasons.  Professionally, I have served eight Mainline Protestant congregations in a variety of roles.  Personally, my wife and I have been searching Read More …

Mainline: Lacking Racial Diversity

Race related topics have been featured in the news more in recent months than any time I can recall.  Mainline Protestants generally tend to have healthy perspectives on race.  Such philosophical and even theological understandings do not necessarily translate into action (for example: read my summary and reflection of Bradley Wright's recent research showing that Mainline Protestant congregations had the highest rate of discrimination to prospective visitors) nor do they lead to racially Read More …

Fewer and Fewer Christians (& Even Fewer Mainline Protestants)

In 2007 the Pew Research Center conducted their initial U.S. Religious Landscape Study.  The 2014 edition, published earlier today, shows Christianity declined by 8% in America over the last seven years (78.4% to 70.6%).  Allowing for the margin of error, this means the number of Christian adults in the U.S. has shrunk by somewhere between 2.8 million and 7.8 million. Decline Impacts All Christian Traditions Mainline Protestants and Catholics top the list for experiencing the greatest Read More …

Religious Diversity in the US

While I often hear people state as fact the idea that the United States is a land of considerable religious diversity, it is important to note that such claims are simply untrue.  According to a new Pew Research Center study, the United States is nowhere near making the list as one of the world's most diverse countries or territories (we ranked #68). So What? Just how diverse are we?  The research shows that only 1 out of every 20 people living in America is an adherent to a religion other Read More …

The Francis Effect

Pope Francis has been incredibly popular, especially for considering the radical shift he represets.  Despite high favorability ratings, early research from the Pew Research Center suggests there isn't strong evidence for a "Francis effect" that is leading to changes in how American Catholics approach their religion.  More specifically:  There has been no measurable rise in the percentage of Americans who identify as Catholic. Nor has there been a statistically significant change in how often Read More …

Christmas: Cultural or Religious?

Just in time for Christmas, the Pew Research Center released information about how Americans view the holiday. While 92% of Americans celebrate Christmas, there is considerable diversity when it comes to the basis of such celebrations: 51% - more of a religious holiday, 32% - more of a cultural holiday, and 9% - both/other (which includes those who celebrate but did not comment on whether they felt it was more religious or cultural). So What? Notably there is a generational Read More …

Average Marrying Age

A Global Perspective Priceonomics recently created an image showing the average age of marriage across the world based on UN data.  When comparing the age of marriage across many countries, higher income is associated with later age at marriage.  The differences in average age for those nations near either extreme exceeds 10 years.  Regardless of geography or income, men marry later than women.  The gap, however, is wider in less developed countries. An American Update According to the Read More …

US Jews = Less Religious

A recently published Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project survey shows that American Jews are becoming less religious.  Currently, just over one-in-five Jews (22%) self-identify as having no religion.  While the rise in the percentage of Jews who label themselves as not being religious is noteworthy, the generational divide is of even greater significance.  The percent of Jews who have no religion increases from the oldest living generation to the youngest with no Read More …

Most Americans Bank Online

According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center  in April and May, the majority of Americans now bank online. More specifically: 51% of U.S. adults, or 61% of internet users, bank online; and 32% of U.S. adults, or 35% of cell phone owners, bank using their mobile phones. So What? Over the last several years more and more people have joined the online world.  In general, the adoption rates are highest among the youngest adults.  While the percentages decline as age Read More …

Global Islam

Writing for the CNN Belief Blog, Dan Merica distills the newly released Pew Research Center study on Islam into five major takeaways: Differences between U.S. and international Muslims are vast, Sharia law favored, especially by more devout Muslims, Most Muslims believe religion, politics should be intertwined, Around the world, Muslims heralded religious freedom, and Islamic extremism widely rejected, but still a concern. Says Who? This four year long study included a total of Read More …