Southern Religion

Ministerial holiday stress, resignation/firing?

Merry you’re fired and a very happy and prosperous new I quit.

How often do pastors leave not only the church where they’re employed but also the ministry, either because they want to or because they must and can’t get another job in their field?

According to SonScape Retreats, which specializes in helping vocational ministers, life pressures “drive 1,600 shepherds out of the ministry every month.”

They go on to say:

That’s 19,000 pastors each year – not including the missionaries and specialized ministers who add the pressures of crossing cultures and raising funds to the mix.

The intense combination of a frenetic Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years church activity schedule and church members facing holiday crisis can drain the most skilled and resourceful of ministers.

Reflect on it, and your credulity may not be strained by the report that, every Monday morning, 40% of all ministers consider changing professions.


December 31, 2008 Posted by | Science | Comments Off on Ministerial holiday stress, resignation/firing?

Why isn’t Billy Graham active in a local church?

Aging evangelistic warhorse Billy Graham recently moved his church membership from Dallas, Texas, to Spartanburg, S.C. Although he lives in Montreat, N.C., some 60 miles from his new church, which he apparently "attends" almost exclusively via television viewing.

Why isn’t Graham active in a church that is local to him?

Former Biblical Recorder editor Tony Cartledge thinks Graham should be.

Do you?

December 31, 2008 Posted by | Religion | Comments Off on Why isn’t Billy Graham active in a local church?

Women’s Missionary Union cutbacks are official

Ethics Daily reports that the WMU cutbacks are official. Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) organizations which could have prevented them, did not.

Is anyone smiling?


Overview of WMU cutbacks in the Jan2. Nasheville Tennessean.

December 31, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Women’s Missionary Union cutbacks are official

No inaugural prayer at all? Not likely

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed a 34-page legal complaint seeking to bar prayer from the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration.

There is some debate over the possibility that the suit filed by Michael A. Newdow, 17 other individuals and 10 groups has a chance of success.

We think Scott Walter, executive director of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty was on target when he told the Washington Post:

Newdow’s lawsuit over the inauguration is a lot like the streaker at the Super Bowl: a pale, self-absorbed distraction. And anybody who looks at it carefully can see there’s not much there.

December 31, 2008 Posted by | Religion | 2 Comments

Abstinence pledges are a public policy failure

Abstinence pledgers gain no sexual behavior advantage and are for some reason harmed, as George W. Frink explains:

Purity Ring

Premarital teenage virginity pledges don’t delay premarital sex and do result in more unsafe sex, concluded a large, well-designed study by Janet E. Rosenbaum at the Johns Hopkins School Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Earlier, nonpartisan studies of abstinence-only sex education similarly concluded that it doesn’t work.

This study compared similar pledgers and non-pledgers and did find one, telling difference, as CNN reported:

Unmarried pledgers, however, were less likely than non-pledgers to use birth control (64 percent of pledge takers and 70 percent of non-pledge takers said they used it most of the time) or condoms (42 percent of pledge takers and 54 percent of non-pledge takers said they used them most of the time).

Please read the rest.

December 31, 2008 Posted by | Politics, Religion | , , , | Comments Off on Abstinence pledges are a public policy failure

Broken Communion only God can fix?

Giving voice to the current spiritual division of attendance at a Southern Baptist Lord’s Supper, Ed Kilgore writes:

On the night in question, the pastor offered a brief homily reminding the congregation that the Lord’s Supper was limited to “believers” and “the godly.” Knowing what I know about contemporary Southern Baptist views these days, I had to wonder if I was outside the circle of fidelity and godliness.

It’s not as though the pastor’s warning was surprising in any sense. It was, in fact, a pale, watered-down version of the “fencing of the altar” exhortation that was central to the Calvinist eucharistic tradition from which Baptists originally developed. It was a faithful reflection of St. Paul’s strictures against “unworthy reception” in his first epistle to the Corinthians. And it was in no way as restrictive in its tone or scope as the Roman Catholic/Orthodox limitation of communion to members in good standing–and without unshriven mortal sin–of their own faith traditions, or even the Anglican/Lutheran requirement of baptism prior to communion.

But that Baptist pastor’s words did cause me to ask myself whether he or many of the people around me would consider me a “believer.”

For nearly two millennia, of course, Christian “belief” was measured by adherence to creeds, confessions, and such big theological issues as the Trinity or the Atonement. Receiving the eucharist “worthily” also usually revolved around more than the moral condition of the communicant, and required in most traditions a common belief about the nature of the celebration itself–transubstantiation or consubstantiation, real or symbolic presence, sacrifice or memorial.

Nowadays, in the United States at least, such ancient indicia of “belief” have largely receded into the background. And among Protestants, the old disputes have been supplanted by one big dispute: the proposition of biblical inerrancy, and with it, a host of highly political and cultural arguments over issues of gender and sexuality, from the preeminence of men in family and community life, to gay and lesbian “lifestyles,” to abortion.

Please read the rest.

December 31, 2008 Posted by | Religion | Comments Off on Broken Communion only God can fix?