Pew follow up

HEADLINE 2 … 10 from PEW …
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 to me
show details 12:37 PM (3 minutes ago)
is an interesting week! Andy clearly activated his network (I can see
that in who is commenting) and they are responding. His network are
people who care about the environment and are politically active – the
sort of people who are likely to comment.

I’ll send my Friday post on Thursday evening (out of town now).

Your editing made Andy’s material sing!

Pew – thanks for getting me on. One thing that struck me was the level
of big media interest in religion. Another indicator of the strength of
religion in America. Religion is not newsworthy in most of European
nations – unless it’s about Muslim immigration.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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Interestingly, here’s David’s lede under Secret #1:

The biggest headlines on religion over the past year or so concern the
growing number of Americans who have rejected the time-honored social
pressure to at least claim they’re part of some religious group.

reminds me of Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age (which, yes, I’m still
reading (slowly) and planning to blog about more). Taylor’s contention
is that the rise of secularity in the modern West is not a failure of
religion, but is instead a reflection of this simple fact: For the
first time in human history, lack of belief in a divine being is
socially acceptable.

Methinks this is good news for those of us
who think religion is important and who encourage others to consider
faith in God. Faith is becoming voluntary instead of socially
mandatory. This will, in turn, lead to more robust faith among those of
us who do believe and, I think, result in great theological adventures
as we navigate an unprecendentedly globalized world.ore …

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Addition to #1

Pew Report and others indicate great variety among the “Nones”.  That
needs to be trumpeted in many places and often because there will be a
tendency to judge all “nones” as agnostic or atheists, wonderful grist
for those religious people who think in either/or categories.

other note I made from the Pew information on this subject is that most
unaffiliated youngsters become affiliated as they grow up.  Because I
have several grandchildren living in unaffiliated families that news
encouraged me. 

Response to #2

My own experience is
that I am becoming more skeptical of simple beliefs and unhappy with
ineptitude I see within churches.  Nevertheless, I will always have
ties to my faith, just not necessarily to a denomination or to a
particular congregation.

Addition to #3

The data will
make it harder for pastors who are not leaders to function because
pastors have been good followers of others’ ideas rather than creative
risk-taking in their own vineyards.  That’s one of the lessons mainline
Protestantism is losing the most ground.  Its leaders are seldom
disposed and even less encouraged or trained to be entrepreneurial in
their setting. 

Response to #4

This is a question more
than a response.  I thought that the Pew data indicated that because of
immigration and fertility rates the Roman Catholics were holding stead
in spite of the disaffiliation rate in their ranks.  You must have
heard or read something differently. 

Response to # 6

is among the trickiest output from the Pew study.  It continues the
claim over these past twenty years that churchgoing is consumerist. 
That may be the necessary because in America we live in what Pew and
others have called a “religiously competitive marketplace.”  It seems
to me that religious bodies are not yet sophisticated in meeting
people’s spiritual needs utilizing the gospel as opposed to marshaling
market responses.  We’re getting better but not as quickly as we need

#7 and #8

Great news for the churches. 



Caveat about #10

may be good at welcoming and training immigrants but the Pew folks
suggested that very few Jews are immigrating to this country.


Baker ought to be smiling because the Pew report reinforces his summary
of American religiousness in America’s Crisis of Values.  We Americans
continue to join “traditional values” with amazing “self-expression.” 
That nugget of truth is very valuable as leaders of religious
institutions go about their work. 

Al Bamsey


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