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.
Nine in 10 Americans will celebrate Christmas this year, but a new poll shows that increasing numbers see the holiday as more tinsel than gospel truth. This year more than ever, Americans prefer that stores and businesses welcome them with the more generic “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” than “Merry Christmas” . . . . And for one in four American adults (26 percent), Dec. 25 is simply a cultural holiday, not a religious holy day.
The Christmas holiday brings peak attendance for most churches, and an increasing number of U.S. religious groups are using the boom time to wow parishioners with virtual choirs on YouTube and Instagram advent calendars. More than 500 churches will stream Christmas sermons online this year, up from just a handful in 2007, said DJ Chuang, host of the Social Media Church, a podcast with church leaders about social media. Hundreds more started Instagram and Pinterest accounts this year to post photos of baptisms and quotes from the gospel, he said.
A federal judge in Utah has struck down part of that state’s law banning polygamy, after a lawsuit was brought by the stars of the television reality series “Sister Wives.” The ruling late Friday by U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups threw out the law’s section prohibiting “cohabitation,” saying it violates constitutional guarantees of due process and religious freedom.
A single mother feared the worst when an intruder broke into her home in the middle of the night in Dearborn Heights, Mi. Incredibly, she managed to get him to leave her house using nothing more than the power of her words and her faith. . . . Neighbor Julie Wilding said that the woman began preaching the Bible to her attacker, telling him, “God loves you, you don’t want to do this.”
Family breakdown disproportionately harms young males—and they’re falling further behind. . . . Among poor and working-class boys, the chances of climbing out of the low-end labor market—and of becoming reliable husbands and fathers—are looking worse and worse. . . . Girls and boys have a better chance at thriving when their own father lives with them and their mother throughout their childhood—and for boys, this is especially the case.
A recent survey of a Reddit community called NoFap, which is committed to abstaining from porn and masturbation, has helped researchers open the door to a better understanding of the effects of pornography on our lives. . . . For those addicted to porn, arousal actually declined with the same mate, while those who regularly found different mates were able to continual their arousal. It’s known as the Coolidge Effect, or novelty-seeking behavior. Porn, after all, trains the viewer to expect constant newness.
In reality, no pastor has a day off. It is a 24/7 call where the next phone call or email means a dramatic change in their priorities. Deaths, accidents, and emergencies know no clock or holidays or vacation. Pastors are often required to leave their families to meet those needs. And pastors worry about their families and their needs.
The American Conservative:
The BBC reports that Catholic exorcists have their hands full thanks in large part to the rise in devotion to Santa Muerte, or “Saint Death” . . . Over the years, more and more people started arriving to pay tribute to the skull figure in a dress. And now thousands gather for the cult’s most important ceremony on 31 October, the eve of Mexico’s Day of the Dead festival.
The Washington Post has produced six massively detailed maps showing the religious make-up of America. . . . The religious geography of America is changing—partly as a result of immigration (Hispanic, chiefly) but also because the Washington Post maps show how washed out and feeble Catholicism and mainline Protestantism have become.
A new Harris Poll finds that a strong majority (74 percent) of U.S. adults say they believe in God, but that’s down from the 82 percent who expressed such a belief in earlier years. Belief in miracles, heaven and other religious teachings also declined in the latest poll.
We recently came across this map, based on the 2010 census data, of the largest religious groups in each county of the U.S. . . . Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, and West Virgina appear to have the most diversity when it comes to dominant religious groups. On the other side is Vermont and New Hampshire, which are considered the Godless states.
from The Resurgence http://theresurgence.com/2013/12/20/resurgence-roundup-12-20-13