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A Ministry to the Local Churches of America
A recent article highlighted some sickening quotes from church leaders that can be compared to God's words about an unrepentant Israel in Jeremiah 4:22.
The complexity and coordination of flagella attest to the work of a Master Engineer who designed and created them to function in a wonderfully intricate manner.
What is the biblical response to complicated medical situations in pregnancy?
If current rates continue, most religious communities in America will shrink by more than half within three generations. But nondenominational Christianity might buck the trend.Birth rates in the United States are near record lows, but not for everyone.Under the surface of the fertility decline is a little-noticed fact: Births have declined much more among nonreligious Americans than among the devout.Data from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) from 1982 to 2019, along with data from four waves of the Demographic Intelligence Family Survey (DIFS) from 2020 to 2022, point to a widening gap in fertility rates between more religious and less religious Americans.In recent years, the fertility gap by religion has widened to unprecedented levels. But while this difference may comfort some of the faithful who hope higher fertility rates will ultimately yield stable membership in churches and synagogues, these hopes may be in vain. Rates of conversion into unfaith are too high, and fertility rates too low, to yield stable religious populations.Past religious fertilitySince 1982, the NSFG has asked respondents about their religious attendance and their recent fertility history. In recent years, it has operated as a continuous annual survey.As a result, data from over 70,000 women surveyed from 1982 to as recently as 2019 can be used to estimate fertility rates for three broad groups of women: those without any religious affiliation, those with religious affiliation but less than weekly attendance, and those with at least weekly attendance.Total fertility rates are estimated by using a given group’s current birth rates by age to guess how many children a woman would end up having over the course of her life. In practice, however, birth rates shift as women get older, and of course religious identity can change over time, as well, so fertility measures of this kind are unlikely to perfectly ...Continue reading...
Church and pastoral abuse can trigger a unique form of PTSD.I first encountered the concept of moral injury during my MDiv program at the University of Chicago in an anthropology class called Humans After Violence.The MDiv program required each of us to intern at a site of our choosing for the middle year of the program, and I’d opted to work with the clergy at my church. Earlier that year, our church had discovered reports of our priest’s abuse of power, and he was removed from leadership.Initially, my school supervisors worried it might be a bad idea for me to work at a church where so many of us still felt betrayed and uncertain. But I wanted to conduct my internship at a church that was asking questions about how to do community and how to steward power well—rather than at a church that could gloss over these conversations simply because they were functioning better.Halfway through the internship, I signed up for the class hoping it would help me understand what our community was experiencing. The professor told us she aimed to explore “where violence leaves us—or rather, how violence doesn’t leave us.”Through examining various case studies, I learned that trauma is not necessarily about the way someone is hurt but about how they carry their hurt. I also discovered that the concept of PTSD was developed by mental health professionals who worked with Vietnam veterans.What captured me the most, though, was the concept of moral injury—a term developed by these military therapists after they noticed that some classic PTSD symptoms in vets were sparked not by a reminiscence of physical threat to life but by a profound violation of their moral sensibilities. Moral injury could occur, for instance, after obeying a trusted superior’s ...Continue reading...
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