Thursday, January 04, 2007

Right now, I'm batting zero out of four.

In a study of 900 congregations, researchers at the Hartford Institute of Religious Research found that church growth is more likely when:
  • A church is multiracial.
  • Men make up at least 60 percent of regular participants.
  • Leaders describe worship as "slightly to not at all" reverent.
  • Drums or percussion are always used in worship.

Click on the title of this post for the article in The Christian Science Monitor.

Time Out

I'm going to take a brief vacation from this blog -- what with teaching two high school religion classes AND pastoring a two-church district, something had to give.

Fortunately, you have two great alternatives: both Spectrum the Walla Walla College School of Theology offer excellent commentaries (and both are readily available via the "Links" section in the lower left-hand column.) And if you'd like an excellent Bible commentary that will help you make sense of Eccesiastes and apply it to your life, try Iain Provan's book on Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs in The NIV Application Commentary Series. (For more information on this book, click here.)

And to all my readers -- thank you! I hope this blog has been as helpful to you as it has been to me!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Does this mean the alumni association is good for your health?

Click on the title of this post for an interesting article in the New York Times on the role of education in longevity -- simply put, stay in school and you'll live longer. (And no, despite what you may have thought in Greek class, it doesn't just seem longer!)

As part of this, the article touches on research among SDAs that seems to indicate it's not the diet that helps us live longer so much as all those "social networks" we've developed.

You know what I'm talking about -- if there are only "seven degrees of separation" between you and anyone else on the planet, it generally seems as though there are never more than three or four degrees of separation between members of the Adventist church. This has led me to develop :

Brothers' Second Law of Human Relations: Everyone in the Adventist church is related or went to school together.

This naturally leads to:

Brothers' Third Law of Human Relations: the investigative judgment is not just a doctrine but an everpresent reality; no matter where you go, your past will come up in judgment.

Apropos of nothing in particular, you can click here for an article in September's Slate on the perils of soy.

Tracking down the Phantom Hitchhiker

Remember the story about the couple who picked up the hitchhiker -- the one where they were talking about the Second Coming. And the hitchhiker said, "It will be sooner than you think." And the couple turned around to answer him, and . . .

Yeah, you remember that one; it's long been a favorite of Youth groups everywhere.

But if you'd like to check out the truth of that story (or any other urban legend), then click on the title of this post.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Just in time for this year's LIBERTY campaign . . .

The Pew Research Center recently ran a forum on religion in public life with Jon Meacham and Michael Novak. Both have written extensively on the topic -- Meacham is the managing editor of Newsweek and author of American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of the Nation, while Novak is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of Washington's God: Religion, Liberty, and the Founding of Our Country.

But no, these two were not twins who were somehow separated at birth. Meacham is an Episcopalian who argues for the separation of church and state, while Novak is a Catholic who favors a a closer relationship.

Click on the title of this post for the transcript.

Creation science

Click on the title of this post for an interview in Salon with Ron Numbers on creation science.