The religious landscape of the United States continues to change at a rapid clip. In Pew Research Center telephone surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.
The data is speaking a clear message: the assumptions that undergirded church growth from two decades ago no longer apply. If churches are sitting back and just waiting for all their young people to flood back in as they move into their thirties, they are likely in for a rude awakening. Inaction now could be creating a church that does not have a strong future.
It seems we’ve gone from Jesus-is-my-boyfriend to Jesus-is-my-savior, but we’re missing Jesus-is-our-Lord. Christian worship should express our collective hope in Christ of a rescued, renewed and restored world, a world in which injustice, racism, hatred and violence have ended, once and for all.
When we read Exodus 22:2-3 in this same light, it would suggest that the law was not necessarily written to place God’s stamp of approval on killing home invaders at night. Instead, it seems as if this law, like all the others in the surrounding context, were written to point Israel towards a more loving and gracious treatment of their enemies by placing restrictions on when an attacker could be killed.
- Most pastors are underpaid.
- Too many pastors refuse raises.
- Few pastors give sufficient thought to retirement.
- Many pastors have too much debt leading into retirement.
- A number of pastors have given little thought to health care costs.
- The common theme of many of these Boomer pastors is over-spiritualizing their financial reality without the wisdom of planning for their future years.
This net loss in meal time can beget a nagging tension. There’s that lingering moralistic pressure that it’s important for you to cook wholesome food, sit down with people you care about, breathe, enjoy. But for many people, the trade-offs it would take to get there push the ideal dinner farther and farther out of reach. This can weigh especially hard on parents, who often simply don’t have the time that preparing family meals requires.
Most people never thought they would use their old records again. But, according to a report by the Recording Industry Association of America, vinyl records are expected to out-sell CDs in 2019.