Church Commutes

The Baylor Religion Surveys provide some of the best recent data on American religion. The surveys consist of five waves: 2005, 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2017.  Data from the latest wave was released last week, including the full 65 page report. The 2017 wave focuses on the religious, political, and ideological values of Trump voters mental health and religion in American today the intersection of technology and religion the geography of religion. Commuting As someone who spends a Read More …

Christianity is Always Political

If your preferred version of Christianity isn't political, then you have likely misunderstood the religion. Willimon on Politics and Christianity Popular author and long-time United Methodist Bishop William H. Willimon delivered the T. B. Maston Lectures in Christian Ethics last year at Hardin-Simmons University.  One address - "Say Something Polictical: A Christian Vision of Engaging the World" - appeared in print in the Winter 2016-2017 edition of the Window (a publication of the Logsdon 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 …

How Important is Religion in America?

Imagine if all American adults were represented by a town comprised of only 100 people.  In this small community, what would religion look like? Earlier this month the Pew Research Center published an article by Aleksandra Sandstrom and Becka A. Alper that answered the question by providing infographics built from data about religious beliefs and behaviors based on the 2014 U.S. Religious Landscape Study. For the question, "How important is religion?" the respondents answered: very: Read More …

My New (Church) Year’s Resolutions

A few days ago I suggested that Advent is a time for a new perspective. As the start of the church year, it is also a great time to plan for what is ahead. While such planning can take many forms, I have chosen to embrace a practice more commonly associated with the changing of calendar years: adopting new year's resolutions. Looking Back As I look back at this blog, I find that I have publicly declared resolutions a few times 2012 - I made several resolutions, but wrote about one: Read More …

My Transition from Professor to Student

While I have always believed in and committed myself to the task of lifelong learning, I have also wrongly concluded - more than once - that my formal educational journey was complete. Wrong The first time I decided I had finished my formal education was in 1998 when I earned my undergraduate degree.  I was already in the workforce, and had been advancing without a degree.  With the addition of a bachelor's degree I felt confident I had all I needed. Just 18 months later, I was back in Read More …

The Disappearing Religious Gender Gap

It is relatively well known that America is a more religious country than most and that in America women are significantly more religious than men based on most traditional measures of religious belief and behavior. When I discuss religious behavior with a variety of audiences one measure resonates more than any other: attending religious services.  New research suggests that the once wide gender gap in religious service is now narrowing. More specifically, it was was cut in half from 1982 to Read More …

All Time Most Popular Posts

I have now posted well over 1,600 times here at SoWhatFaith.com.  There are many reasons I keep writing, but none more important than you - my readers. Based on your views, my 16 most popular posts are Review of Not a Fan (2011) Lost, Found, Party (2015) Prayers of the People - Youth Sunday (2009) Reading the Whole Bible (2010) The Acceptable Year of the Lord - the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (2011) Top Church Websites (2012) 12 Marks of Convergence Christianity Read More …

Recent Reading: Politics & Bible

Politics are everywhere; I have yet to spend more than a few seconds scanning my social media feeds before encountering a political remark. Political experts are everywhere; 99% of the political remarks I read and hear are communicated as though the communicator is a subject matter expert.  In reality, of course, most are simply people who have strong feelings about their particular perspectives. Political writing is particularly popular.  As a non-expert, I have read three books this year 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 …