In the weekly Resurgence Roundup, I compile some of the most interesting content I find online, as it pertains to the church and the people God has called us to reach. Keep in mind, I don’t endorse or agree with everything you’ll see included in the roundup.
No longer taboo, living together has become a more common arrangement for America’s couples who become pregnant while dating. Soon-to-be-released government figures show a major cultural shift since the days of “shotgun weddings” aimed at avoiding family embarrassment. With marriage on the decline, the shift is helping redefine the traditional notion of family.
A satanic group unveiled designs Monday for a 7-foot-tall statue of Satan it wants to put at the Oklahoma state Capitol, where a Ten Commandments monument was placed in 2012.
More than one in five middle-school aged children with behavioral or emotional problems has recently engaged in sexting, according to a new study. What’s more, researchers found those who reported sexting in the past six months were four to seven times more likely to also engage in other sexual behaviors, compared to adolescents who said they didn’t sext.
Catholic News Agency:
Despite religious opposition, the Belgian Senate voted Dec. 13 in favor of a bill which would expand legal euthanasia to terminally ill minors and persons with dementia. . . . The bill would allow minors, with no set age limit, to receive euthanasia if they suffer from terminal illness, are in great pain, and there is no way to treat their disease.
Bill Nye “The Science Guy” is set to visit Kentucky to debate evolution and biblical creation with the founder of the Creation Museum. . . . Nye [has argued] that steering children away from evolution and teaching creationism would hurt scientific advances.
Religion News Service:
[New York City] Mayor Bill de Blasio is now perhaps the nation’s most visible “none,” an icon of one of the nation’s fastest-growing religious groups—those without any formal religious identification. His election could reflect a new kind of American politician—one who is shaped by religion and religious values but is not expected to talk about or bow to religion as in years past.
For these fourteen predictions, I gleaned from several sources: Data-based research, particularly LifeWay Research; trends that are already underway and gaining momentum; conversations with hundreds of church leaders; [and] my own experiences, based on 25 years of consulting and research of American congregations. [The fourteen predictions are split into two posts: Part 1 and Part 2.]
More American Jews seem to be increasingly accepting of other Jews who accept Jesus. A Pew Research Center study released in October reported that 34 percent of American Jews think believing Jesus is the Messiah is compatible with being Jewish. Thirty-five percent of ultra-Orthodox Jews agreed.
Christian News Network:
A former Seventh Day Adventist pastor has announced his intention to live without God for one year. [After he] was asked to resign over his increasingly liberal views and his disagreements with Adventist theology, [Ryan Bell, 42] decided that he would take 2014 to “do whatever I can to enter the world of atheism and live, for a year, as an atheist.”
Twice as many Christians were killed for their faith in 2013 as in 2012, according to the latest report on the world’s top 50 violators of Christian religious freedom. . . . Overall, the 2014 list determines that pressure on Christians increased in 34 countries, decreased in five, and remained about the same in the remaining 14,” reports World Watch Monitor.
Religion News Service:
The Church of England has been accused of “dumbing down” the baptism service following the introduction of an alternative liturgy in which parents and godparents need not repent of their “sins” or reject “the devil” . . . . In the alternative version, now being tested in 400 churches, parents are instead asked to “reject evil and all its many forms and all its empty promises.”
An Islamic religious authority raided the Bible Society of Malaysia on Thursday and confiscated dozens of Bibles in the Malay and Iban languages because they contained the word “Allah,” which Muslims argue is exclusive to Islam.
Religion News Service:
The number of Roman Catholic adherents in England and Wales fell by more than 90,000 in 2012, despite a wave of immigrants from Poland and other Eastern European countries with historically Catholic backgrounds. . . . The number of Catholics attending Mass has fallen to 858,000 in 2012, from 985,000 in 2001, suggesting that only one-fifth of the Catholic population now goes to Mass.
Thousands of young men are plunging into icy rivers and lakes across Bulgaria to retrieve crucifixes cast by priests in an old ritual marking the feast of Epiphany. By tradition, a wooden cross is cast into the water and it is believed that the person who retrieves it will be freed from evil spirits.
from The Resurgence http://theresurgence.com/2014/01/10/resurgence-roundup-1-10-14