Monday, August 30, 2010

Gen X kids are more loyal to religion

From the Scientific American website: (Thanks Jay!)

"Research published this week reveals a surprising trend among the American generation X—the group who came of age in the late 1980s and 1990s and are known for their rejection of all things conventional. It appears that in comparison to the baby boomers, Gen-Xers are significantly more loyal to religion.

Scientists analyzed survey responses from more than 37,000 people between the years 1973 to 2006. Their results are published in The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. They found that boomers are 40 to 50 percent more likely to abandon their religious faith, than gen-Xers.

Interesting to note, from those surveyed, the number of Americans with no religious affiliation doubled in the 1990s and continues to increase through the first decade of this century.

The researchers attribute this drop off to the boomers who were likely to have abandoned religion in young adulthood perhaps due to the rejection of organized authority or what the researchers call the “1960s effect.”

So what’s up with this newfound loyalty in the younger generation X?

Well the authors note that it probably has to do with the expansion of the “religious marketplace” in recent decades, and suggest that instead of this trend watering down religious faith, they say that more choices is influencing the increase in affiliation and commitment to religion."

—Christie Nicholson

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bob and Audrey Meisner

Earlier this summer I had the chance to spend a couple days with Bob and Audrey Meisner, Christian Broadcasters up in Winnipeg, Canada.

I've spent some time thinking about and analyzing Christians' behavior that break their moral beliefs. In talking to Bob and Audrey, I realized that I've missed half the story. It's not just whether Christians act immorally (or, how much, I should say), but how they respond to it.

Bob and Audrey had a very public ministry for years, three kids, and all seemed well, except Audrey had an affair and got pregnant. In response, they fought hard for their marriage and incorporating the child into their lives, and they now use the whole situation to teach others about marriage.

From their website:

"She had an affair,
They kept the baby,
Through pain they were rescued,
Their life now exceeds their wildest dreams"

I appreciate how hard they've worked to bring beauty out of pain.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Why do adults become Christians?

Here's a very interesting article about the adult conversion process.

In it the author, Mike Fleischmann, a pastor from Southern California, sets out to learn how many Christians become so in adulthood (rather than childhood), and what is the process they take.

He speaks of the 85/18 rule which is an axiom that 85% of Christians become so before age 18. He concludes that:

"I must admit that the "85/18 Rule" was partially confirmed in my research. In fact 84.5 percent of evangelicals do accept Christ before that age. However, the statistic only holds true if they were raised in a home where both parents were Christians with either a high or moderate level of spiritual activity. If, however, they were raised without that benefit, the percentage drops by two-thirds. The rest of the unchurched make their faith decisions throughout the course of adulthood and even into retirement."

He also has some interesting observations about the conversion process for adults.

Thanks Ed!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Why I went to the hospital during our family vacation

For the first time in years, we got away for a family vacation. We only had five days, so we took our pop-up camper to the Rhode Island coast, near some fun beaches. (By the way, when we pulled into our camping spot, I noticed that the amazing pop-up camper in the camping spot next to us was a lot nicer than our $500 1970s era off-Craigs-List tent. When I got home, I looked it up, and I estimate that their camper alone cost about ten times more than our camper and car combined. No wonder they looked at us funny when we completed the camper set-up using duct tape.)

Anyway, I managed to spend the last several days of the vacation in the local hospital, and rather than just tell you what happened, I'll make it a multiple choice test (in preparation for the upcoming semester).

I was in the hospital because:
A) The clam cakes we ate were too greasy, so they had to remove my gall bladder
B) We set up our tent at night, so I didn't see the patch of poison ivy that I was crawling around in, and they had to treat me with steroids via an IV drip
C) While swimming I got entangled with a large jellyfish and had to be pulled out by the lifeguards. The hospital treated the second- and third-degree burns I had on my legs.
D) I really wanted some peace-and-quiet.

Give up?  Here's a hint. I'm home now, but very sore, and it may take a couple more years to be ready for another family vacation.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Research on Religion Podcast

Tony Gill, out at U. Washington, has done us a big favor by starting the Research on Religion podcast.  On a regular basis, he uploads extended discussions with religion scholars about their work.  Through good fortune, I got to be one of his guests, and he podcast was just posted recently.  You can listen to it here.

Unlike some of the other interviews that I've done, this one is a conversation with a fellow researcher, so we're able to go into a little more depth about the research.

Enjoy, and check out his other guests too.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hey, it's me on almost-TV

FoxNews has a web channel called The Strategy Room, and one of their segments is GodTalk.  I got to talk about my book on it this morning, down in NYC. I think it came out okay?

Here's the link for the video

Monday, August 09, 2010

Monday, August 02, 2010

Depressing stats for pastors

I've not studied surveys of Christian pastors, but from the sounds of this article, it's a tough profession. That doesn't surprise me, because it has so many diverse demands. A good pastor has to be a theologian, psychologist, CEO, accountant, speaker, and lots of other things, all with a smile on his or her face.

I think that I'll stick to the cushy life of a professor.

(thanks Eric)