Wednesday, November 24, 2010

More Couples Living Together

According to new U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the number of unmarried couples living together spiked nationally during the recent recession. Demographers believe the increase is due to couples delaying marriage because of the cost, avoiding marriage altogether or sharing living quarters without a long-term plan because of short-term financial pressures. In 2009, 6.7 million unmarried couples lived together and 7.5 million couples in 2010 — a 13 percent increase. [The Washington Post]

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Poll Reveals Christian Voting Trends

Exit poll data which was collected by CNN and then analyzed by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life shows gains by the Republican Party among Christian groups. Among Catholic voters, 54 percent voted for Republican congressional candidates in 2010 compared to 42 percent in 2008. The analysis also revealed:
  • Among all white voters who describe themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians, 78 percent voted Republican this year, compared to 70 percent in 2008 and 2006.
  • Among voters who attend religious services at least weekly, 60 percent voted Republican, while only 44 percent of those who attend services less often voted Republican.
  • Among voters with no religious affiliation, 66 percent voted for Democratic candidates, down from 72 percent in 2008.
For the complete report go to The Pew Forum

From FotF's Pastor's Weekly Briefing

Monday, November 22, 2010

Abortion Drops in Washington

Another recent abortion clinic closing, this time in Yakima, Washington, is a reflection of a national decline in the demand for abortion among women ages 15-44. Public opinion suggests abortion is increasingly unpopular among Americans. A Gallup poll released in May 2009 found that 51 percent of Americans called themselves "pro-life" on issues of abortion, compared to 42 percent of those who considered themselves "pro-choice." Cathy Ruse, senior fellow of legal studies at the Family Research Council believes this trend is a response to post abortive women speaking up, the partial-birth abortion debate and increased access to ultrasound images. "An ultrasound image brings you face to face with humanity," said Ruse. []

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Amazon Pulls Book

Due to public outrage, has pulled the e-book entitled The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure authored by Phillip Greaves of Pueblo, Colo. The content led to hundreds of tweets and a Facebook page was created calling for a boycott of Amazon, who has sold other questionable material in the past. Amazon responded by saying they, "believe it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable," but eventually, they pulled the book.[]

As a frequent customer of, I'd say this isn't censorship, but rather wisdom.

Court Upheld "God" in Pledge at Schools

Last week, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in New Hampshire's public schools. In 2007, the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit on behalf of two parents — proclaiming to be atheist and agnostic — whose three children were attending public school. 

The group challenged the New Hampshire School Patriot Act which requires that the state's public schools authorize a period during the school day for students to voluntarily participate in the recitation of the national pledge. The act allows students who choose not to participate to stand silently or remain seated and to respect the rights of those pupils electing to participate. FFRF argues that the schools' pledge practices are religious because the pledge itself is a religious exercise in that it uses the phrase "under God."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Are churches in America reaching the next generation?

The following stats come from Brandon Vetter via Granger Community Church, with some good questions of his at the end:

  • Polling usually shows that 40-50% of Americans attend church once a month. The real answer?
  • Less than 20%. And that number is shrinking
  • From 1990 to 2050, church attendance is expected to grow by 10 million people
  • The population is expected to grow by 272 million people
  • The church is China has grown from 200,000 to an estimated 120 million while facing intense persecution under the Communist regime
  • In 1900, an estimated 9 million Africans were Christians
  • By 2025, that number is expected to grow to 633 million
  • 15% of American churches are growing but less than 5% are growing by new Christians
  • In a recent five year period, 10,000 American churches disappeared

Monday, November 15, 2010

Advent Devotional - Gospel of John in Reverse

If you are looking for an Advent devotional tool, check out this one below that was sent to me by Stu Merkel:

Gospel of John in reverse - An Advent Discipline

40 Days to Christmas beginning November 16

Day 1 - Chapter 21
Jesus' Appearance to Seven Disciples Who Were Fishing (21:1-14)
Jesus' Final Words to Peter (21:15-23)
Second ending to the gospel (21:24-25)

Day 2 - Resurrection Narrative - Chapter 20
First Evidence of Jesus' Resurrection (20:1-10)
Jesus' Appearance to Mary Magdalene (20:11-18)
Jesus' Appearance to Thomas (20:19-29)
First ending: The Purpose of the Gospel (20:30-31)

Day 3 - Passion Narrative
The Crucifixion and Burial Of Jesus (19:16b-42)

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Most and Least Unchurched Cities in America

Warren Bird posted the following earlier this evening:

Many people wonder what U.S. city is least churched. Areas with the largest share of unchurched adults included San Francisco (44% of whom had not been to a religious worship service in the last six months), Portland, Maine (43%), Portland, Oregon (42%), Albany (42%), Boston (40%), Sacramento (40%), Seattle (40%), Spokane (39%), New York (38%), Phoenix (38%), Tucson (37%), and West Palm Beach (37%),  among 85 major cities studied by Barna Research Group based on 40,000 interviews conducted over the last 7 years.

By contrast weekly church attendance was highest among residents of Birmingham (67%), followed by Baton Rouge (62%), Salt Lake City (62%), and Huntsville (60%). In another approach to the same questions, cities with lowest share of self-identified Christians inhabited the following markets: San Francisco (68%), Portland, Oregon (71%), Portland, Maine (72%), Seattle (73%), Sacramento (73%), New York (73%), San Diego (75%), Los Angeles (75%), Boston (76%), Phoenix (78%), Miami (78%), Las Vegas (78%), and Denver (78%). Even in these cities, however, roughly three out of every four residents align with Christianity.

The cities with the highest proportion of residents who describe themselves as Christian are typically in the South, including: Shreveport (98%), Birmingham (96%), Charlotte (96%), Nashville (95%), Greenville, SC / Asheville, NC (94%), New Orleans (94%), Indianapolis (93%), Lexington (93%), Roanoke-Lynchburg (93%), Little Rock (92%), and Memphis (92%).

The research also pointed out some other interesting church engagement patterns.  For instance, the markets with the highest proportions of Christians who attend megachurches (1,000 or more adult attenders) included Las Vegas, Orlando, Dallas, San Diego, Tampa-St. Petersburg, and Houston. A similar pattern was discovered when it came to those who felt a “responsibility to tell others about their religious beliefs.”

Evangelism was firmly endorsed by a majority of those residing in Birmingham (64% said they agreed strongly that a person has a responsibility to share their beliefs with others) and Charlotte (54%); residents of Providence (14%) and Boston (17%), among other cities, were generally least supportive of such faith-sharing activities.

David Kinnaman, who directed the research project for Barna Group, commented that “one of the underlying stories is the remarkably resilient and mainstream nature of Christianity in America.  Nearly three out of four people call themselves Christians, even among the least ‘Christianized’ cities.  Furthermore, a majority of U.S. residents, regardless of location, engage in a church at some level in a typical six-month period.”

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Story - presentation of the Gospel

Read the Story 

The above image and link take you to an excellent presentation of the Gospel.

Stay-at-Home Dads

With the economy puttering along, households are shifting gears and rethinking their mechanics, allowing more dads to embrace the role of Mr. Mom. After a short- or-long term stint at home taking care of the kids, like the women before them, some men have been left wondering how to return to the labor market.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2009 unemployment rate for women was 2.2 percentage points lower than the rate for men — one of the largest work force gender gaps ever. The number of stay-at-home dads rose to 158,000 in 2009 from 140,000 in 2008 that were caring for children under 15 while their wives worked. The stay-at-home ratio for moms to dads continues to shrink, moving from 38 to 1 in 2008 to 32 to 1 in 2009.

Fathers staying at home find themselves building stronger ties with their children, but the adjustment from full-time employee to stay-at-home dad can take one to two years. One stay-at-home dad recommends others like him to stay in contact with people and not to isolate yourself from the public but to get involved. Continue to network and do some volunteer work, all which might lead to part-time work or full-time opportunities. []