Sunday, August 27, 2006

The stained-glass ceiling

Half of all Protestant seminary students are women -- but when it comes to big, multi-staff churches, only 3% have been willing to put a woman in charge. (And even many of the little-bitty churches that can't get anybody else will only accept a woman pastor as a last resort.)

Want to know what you can do?
  1. Invite a woman to preach in your pulpit.
  2. Click on the title of this post for the relevant article in the New York Times.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

God's Own Party takes a hit

47% of Americans surveyed think the Republican Party is "friendly" to religion -- down from 55% a year ago. The drop was sharpest among two groups that have been key to recent GOP victories: Catholics and white evangelical Protestants.

But no, this isn't good news for the Democrats -- only 26% of those surveyed say that party is "friendly" to religion!

Other finds:
  • 69% think the Left has gone too far in trying to keep religion out of public life, while 49% think the Right has gone too far in trying to bring religion into public life.
  • 51% think it's okay for their pastor to discuss politics in the pulpit, while 46% think it's wrong.

And when pastors do talk about politics, what do they say? Based on the people surveyed who attend church regularly, the most common topics are:

  • hunger and poverty (92%)
  • abortion (59%)
  • Iraq (53%)
  • homosexuality (52%)
  • evolution or intelligent design (40%)
  • stem cell research (24%)
  • immigration (21%)

Click on the title for a link to the article in The New York Times.

Monday, August 21, 2006

This is not your parent's Bible commentary

Chapter by chapter, book by book, David Plotz has been blogging his way through the Bible. He's almost done with the Book of Numbers -- and if you want to know what a post-modern Jew with a quirky sense of humor thinks of the Good Book, then have I got a blog for you!

Monday, August 07, 2006

All truth is God's truth

Interesting interview in Salon with Francis Collins -- head of the Human Genome Project, and a devout Christian. (And no, you're probably not going to like some of the things he says -- he believes in both miracles and evolution, in both the Virgin Birth and the Big Bang -- but as Jesus once pointed out, "God's kingdom is a net that catches all kinds of fish.")

Is it "dispensational premillennialism" or "premillennial dispensationalism"?

Click on the title for a thorough (and amazingly fair) explanation of the way many American evangelical Christians read prophecy -- and the impact this has on American foreign policy.

Friday, August 04, 2006

It's not a Moral Majority -- just a very loud minority.

When it comes to "moral" issues --issues such as abortion or gay marriage -- most Americans are in the middle.
  • They don't like abortion, but want to keep it legal.
  • They don't like gay marriage, but favor some kind of "civil union" for gay couples.

In fact, only 12-percent consistently favor the "conservative" stance on these issues -- and while the article doesn't say it, I'd suspect that an even smaller number consistently favor the "liberal" view.

What the articles ignores, however, is the power of these relatively small groups to set the agenda for the rest of us. (Click on the title for a link to the article.)

The one thing that makes us a pastor

The Christian Science Monitor did a "feel good" piece on a day in the life of a young priest -- the kind of stuff you'd expect to find in People magazine. ("He golfs! He eats cereal! He had a high school sweetheart!")

But in the midst of all that puff, there was one paragraph that is pure gold: "We often, often, often get called in the middle of the night. The callers don't want to see me," [the priest] says. "They want to see Christ."

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I wonder if he could do the church bus next?

Okay -- this has absolutely nothing to do with pastoral ministry as it is currently practiced in the Adventist Church . . . but some things are just too cool not to pass on.

So click on the title of this post for a link to Ron Patrick's web-site. He's got a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. A Volkswagen Beetle. A jet turbine engine. A waaaaaaay too much time on his hands.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Bible speaks to teens (kind of)

The good news: 70% of US teens say the Bible speaks to their lives -- and roughly half say they read it at least once a week.

The bad news: only one-in-five consider the Bible's message when they're making decisions about sex.

Click on the title of this post for the link to EURweb.