Single Adults Among Largest Groups Leaving Mormon Church – Parallels to Evangelical Christianity

I regard Mormonism as being a cult, not a form of legitimate Christianity (Mormons don’t believe in the Jesus of the Gospels, for one thing), but I think there are some parallels between Mormons and Christians, such as the over-emphasis upon marriage.

When your church makes an idol out of marriage, as Mormons and Christians do, it drives people away. Because sometimes people stay single by choice, or due to factors beyond their control.

And if you’re single in a religion that over-values marriage, there is a tendency to be ignored, set aside. Churches care more about marriage than singlehood. Churches care more about meeting the needs of married couples than they do adult singles.

There is no incentive for a single adult to remain in a church or denomination that marginalizes them constantly, or that behaves as though singleness is a disease or a second-rate life station.

(Link):  Who is leaving the LDS Church? by Jana Riess

Excerpts

We know, or can infer, some things about them from prior research. There is a correlation between certain life situations and leaving. This does not mean that being any one of these things will cause a person to leave, only that there is a relationship.

  • Being single. There’s been some tantalizing research over the last two years about singles in the LDS Church.

Continue reading “Single Adults Among Largest Groups Leaving Mormon Church – Parallels to Evangelical Christianity”

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On Not Filtering Every Choice Through the Bible

On Not Filtering Every Choice Through the Bible

This is one of those topics I’m working my way through right now. Maybe a year from now, my opinion will flip on it. But here is where I am now.

I was first made aware of this post from John Piper’s “Desiring God” web site via someone posting to SCCL Facebook group.

Here it is:

(Link):  How to Drink Orange Juice to the Glory of God by John Piper

Excerpts:

  • I said that one of my reasons for believing this comes from 1 Corinthians 10:31. “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” I asked, “Is it sin to disobey this Biblical commandment?” Yes.
  • …Some of you then asked the practical question: Well, how do you “eat and drink” to the glory of God? Say, orange juice for breakfast?
  • ….Orange juice was “created to be received with thanksgiving by those whobelieve the truth.” Therefore, unbelievers cannot use orange juice for the purpose God intended—namely, as an occasion for heartfelt gratitude to God from a truth heart of faith.
  • But believers can, and this is how they glorify God. Their drinking orange juice is “sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”

Yes, it’s an entire post explaining why and how Christians may drink Orange Juice to the glory of God.

This is a part of Christianity that I am glad to leave behind. In my faith crisis of the last few years, there have been some advantages to ceasing turning to the Bible as an authority in decision-making in life in every area.

Continue reading “On Not Filtering Every Choice Through the Bible”

The Eclipse of White Christian America

The Eclipse of White Christian America

(Link): The Eclipse of White Christian America

Excerpts:

  • A once powerful demographic group is losing ground in American politics.
  • For most of the country’s history, white Christian America—the cultural and political edifice built primarily by white Protestant Christians—set the tone for our national conversations and shaped American ideals. But today, many white Christian Americans feel profoundly anxious as their numbers and influence are waning.
  • ..The key question is not why one white Protestant subgroup is faring worse than another, but why white Protestantism as a whole—arguably the most powerful cultural force in the history of the United States—has faded. The answer is, in part, a matter of powerful demographic changes.

Continue reading “The Eclipse of White Christian America”

Conservative Christians Anxious Over Declining Clout (news article)

Conservative Christians Anxious Over Declining Clout

I first saw this article Tweeted out by Janet Mefferd, who happens to be a conservative Christian. I happen to like her and respect her, although I don’t always see eye to eye with her on every single topic.

She Tweeted a link to this article (hosted on a Fox news site) and didn’t care for it, because she feels that the author is trying to make conservative Christians look like nuts, loons, or alarmists.

I differ with her a little bit here. I think the main point of the article is right on the money.

I was a conservative Christian since youth, I’m in my 40s now. I’m only very barely holding on to the Christian faith anymore (I am strongly questioning it lately), and I am now more moderate than a hard-right winger as I used to be (not that I was ever a total wing nut, though).

Anyway, my point is, I grew up in this culture.

And yes, conservative Christians do in fact become scared, unsettled, or angry when they see culture shifting away from Judeo-Christian values and beliefs to a more secular stance. The article is quite correct in that.

I have seen conservative Christians on various news shows, Christian shows, and social media screaming, worrying, complaining, or crying about how the nation is going after Christians now, how they are upset that the nation is turning its back on God, how church membership is declining, yada yada yada.

Continue reading “Conservative Christians Anxious Over Declining Clout (news article)”

Leaving Christianity gave me the fairy-tale ending I always wanted / Divorce and pre-marital sex destroyed my relationship with Christianity by T. Sheehan

Leaving Christianity gave me the fairy-tale ending I always wanted / Divorce and pre-marital sex destroyed my relationship with Christianity by T. Sheehan

Even though the details of my life and situation are different, I sure did relate to this lady’s story.

My eye brow did raise at one or two points of this essay, such as her claim that people at her church encouraged her to get an abortion when she became pregnant out of wedlock, and from the way she discusses her church, they sound pretty conservative and legalistic.

Perhaps she is telling the truth and that really did happen, it’s just that most conservative Christians are pro-life, not pro-choice, so I am having a hard time picturing any of them advising a pregnant woman to get an abortion.

With possibly a few wacko Protestant church exceptions, (Link): like this one, where the church’s preacher allegedly encouraged the women members to get abortions. But then, of course, there is information such as this: (Link): 2015 Poll: 70% of American Women Who Have Abortions Identify As Christian

By and large, though, most churches are pro-life, not pro-choice.

At one point in this essay, Sheehan says that although she and her male friend were not having sex, that due to being constantly suspected and accused of having sex by Christians at her church, is actually what in large measure drove her and her boyfriend to become sexually active with one another.

Major irony there. Or maybe not…

As I have said time and again at my blog, most Christians, just like secular culture, just blindly assumes that celibacy is impossible for anyone over the age of 25 or so, and that it is impossible for men and women to be platonic friends.

It is entirely possible for men and women to remain friends, and it is entirely possible for an adult to stay celibate for months or years at a time.

I have also explained before, in previous posts, that one reason there is so much fornication among Christian singles is precisely because most Christians have such low expectations: they expect that single adults will, or have, had sex outside of marriage. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy quite often.

The couple discussed in this post were expected, assumed to be, and suspected by their fellow congregants of sleeping together; this couple got tired of being falsely accused, so they figured, well, we might as well have sex, since everyone is already assuming we are and harassing us over it.

I also notice that one reason this woman’s husband, who was a Christian at one time, but is now an atheist or agnostic, began losing his faith over how miserably his grief (over the death of his father) was mishandled by Christians.

Oh yes, I relate: after my family member’s passing a few years ago, rather than receiving love, empathy, and encouragement from Christians in my family or churches I went to, I instead received judgment, criticism, platitudes, or indifference. This in turn is one of several things that caused me to partially leave the Christian faith.

One of a few things that caused Sheehan to leave the faith is over how one church she attended mishandled her abusive marriage – her priest told her to stay with the abusive husband.

This advice is also usually given in Baptist or Protestant situations. Christians often put keeping an (abusive) marriage before the welfare of the two persons who comprise the marriage.

Abused wives are usually instructed to stay with the abusive spouse and submit to the abuser more, or just pray about things. None of this resolves the situation but actually prolongs it.

I am not surprised in light of all the insensitive treatment that she and her husband endured at the hands of other believers, that they both developed major doubts about Christianity and walked away from it.

There were a few supportive comments to the woman who wrote this, in the comments area under the essay, but there were also a lot of hateful, judgmental, or naive posts left to her by Christians.

There were also a few annoying posts by atheists who were just there to say “all religion is idiotic, there is no God” to any of the well-meaning, yet naive Christians who were telling her to hold on to the faith, in spite of the Christians who had been mean to her at her prior churches.

Honestly, I wish those types of atheists would refrain from posting under articles like this one by Sheehan. I find their opportunistic, anti-theism drivel and rants to be about as bad as the nasty posts by the Christians who scolded Sheehan for leaving Christianity.

(Link): Leaving Christianity gave me the fairy-tale ending I always wanted 

  • Divorce and pre-marital sex destroyed my relationship with Christianity by T. Sheehan
  • My family has always been part of the Catholic Church, including being actively involved in fighting for those beliefs in Ireland and France through the centuries. It is all I knew and I never imagined a life without it. Even in today’s permissive society, divorce is still a huge don’t in the Catholic Church.

    When my priest advised me to stay in an abusive marriage rather than lose access to the Catholic religion, I stayed — until my husband left me for one of the many women he had been seeing.

    I went back to my priest for help but instead found myself without a church.

    Confused and directionless, I ended up seeking help at a Word of Faith Christian Church in Texas.

    Although the church and I both believed in Jesus, the similarities ended there. Everything was so different from what I had grown up with, it made the transition very difficult.

    They kept trying to break down my identity by using scripture to suggest that everything about me, from Catholicism to my Irish culture, was evil and against God. It was like going through spiritual boot camp as they attempted to rebuild me into a person that could gain access to heaven.

    During my time there, I met my current husband. He was also having a tough time as his father had died suddenly the year before, causing him to question the church he had been raised in and even the existence of God due to how they handled his grief.

    We became really good friends who spent hours talking as we each struggled with our sheltered worlds collapsing around us, no matter how hard we tried to fight to keep the walls intact.

    The damage in our lives, caused by blind devotion to a religion, forced us to question all the truths we had been raised to believe.

    Continue reading “Leaving Christianity gave me the fairy-tale ending I always wanted / Divorce and pre-marital sex destroyed my relationship with Christianity by T. Sheehan”

Unanswered Prayer and Diversity of Doctrine and Biblical Intepretation (podcasts)

Unanswered Prayer and Diversity of Doctrine (podcasts)

I was going over some of the other broadcasts of the Christian apologetics show “Unbelieveable” when I saw at least two topics that I’ve addressed on my own blog before.

A couple of problems I’ve been having with the Christian faith, among several, are unanswered prayer and the fact that Christians cannot agree on what the Bible says, how to implement what it says.

I wonder what the point is in having a book that is supposedly written by God, if those who say they believe in that book (and who say that they believe in that same God) never- the- less do not agree on what the book teaches, and that some of them use that book to justify abusing people (financially, sexually, emotionally, physically).

You would think if God wrote a book (through men or otherwise) that he would make all of that book’s points abundantly clear so that his followers would not mess things up and get into prolonged disagreements about what the book means or how to carry out that book’s teachings.

I also note that Christians who defend prayer try to “explain away” what the biblical text says about prayer.

Jesus does in fact say in one or more of the Gospels that what ever you ask for in his name he will do – but as quasi-Christians like myself point out to the true believers, many times, your prayers will go unanswered, to which they reply, well, Jesus did not REALLY mean to say that whatever you ask for his name will come to pass.

Here are the links to the podcasts:

(Link):  Does prayer make sense? David Wilkinson vs Ed Atkinson – PODCAST

(Link):   Can Christianity be true if Christians can’t agree on doctrine? Andrew Whyte vs Nabeel Qureshi – PODCAST

The ex-Christian guy who is on that show who argues that the conflicting interpretations of the faith and the Bible are problematic for Christianity, or may imply that Christianity is false, has a You Tube channel where he makes videos on this topic. Here it is:

After listening to both those podcasts a couple of days ago, I was not completely satisfied with the responses given to the skeptics by the Christians.

It seems to me that some Christians really under-estimate how damaging some of these particular doubts or criticisms of the faith really are.

Despite that, both shows were still interesting to listen to, and I related to what the ex-Christians or the skeptics were saying.

—–

Here are previous posts I’ve blogged about these subjects before:

Diversity of Interpretation:

(Link): Christians Who Can’t Agree on Who The Old Testament Is For and When or If It Applies

(Link): More Musings about Applicability of the Old Testament, Via One Man’s Testimony About Jeremiah 29:11

(Link): Christians Once Again Trying to Explain Who The Bible’s Promises Are For – TGC Article

(Link): Pat Robertson Contradicts Himself On Healing and God’s Will

Unanswered Prayer:

(Link): Critique of Pastor Groeschel’s “I Want to Believe But…” Sermon Series

(Link):  How to Deal with Unanswered Prayers via Pastor Bil Cornelius 

(Link): Christian Viewer Expresses Disappointment in God, Wants To Know Why, In Spite of Years of Service, God is Not Helping Him

(Link):   When All We Hear from God is Silence by Diane Markins

(Link):   Gordon Robertson’s Quasi Insensitive or Lacking Advice to Cancer Patient / Unanswered Prayer / Christians should just sometimes admit They Do Not Know

(Link): Blaming the Christian for His or Her Own Problem or Unanswered Prayer / Christian Codependency

(Link): On Prayer and Christ’s Comment to Grant You Anything You Ask in His Name

(Link): Gary Habermas joins Janet to discuss dealing with doubt in the Christian life (Re: Unanswered Prayer)

(Link):  When you show God you don’t want it, that’s when God will give it to you – according to Joel Osteen – I disagree

Additional:

(Link):  Gallup: Record Low 24% Believe Bible Is Literal Word of God (May 2017)

Some of My Thoughts Regarding ‘Why do evangelicals lose their faith?’ – Podcast by Unbelievable

Some of My Thoughts Regarding ‘Why do evangelicals lose their faith?’ – Podcast by Unbelievable 

The other day, I posted this (part 1 to this post):

I have re-listened to the podcast this evening and wanted to comment on some of what I heard.

In the program, there is a guy named Rodney who was once a conservative Christian, who drifted into liberal theology, and who now says he has a “deistic philosophy” and he says he is “agnostic about most religious questions.”

He says he has same sex attraction, and was put off to Christianity for (among other reasons):

How American conservative Christianity tends to over-identify with, or promote, the Republican Party (right wing American party), and that some preachers are too condemning of homosexual persons.

Rodney also says he does not accept the notion of an eternal Hell.

A few times, Rodney mentions that he has a deist- like view of God. He thinks all of us humans are rats, the earth is a big laboratory, and God is a scientist in a white lab coat observing us all but not intervening.

Rodney thinks if God is involved with human life, that God should do things like cause all members of ISIS (terrorist group) to drop dead of heart attacks. He does not believe that God helps people to pass school tests, find parking spaces, or cures diseases.

The show had a Christian author and guest on named Os, who replied to some of Rodney’s points.

_Some of my thoughts on the show and the topics Rodney raised._

1.) Politics and Liberal Vs Conservative Christianity

I am right wing politically and have been a Republican (GOP) my entire life.

I have very large misgivings about the GOP the last few years, though, so I’m not totally sure where I stand politically, though I do not ever see myself becoming a liberal or a Democrat.

I do agree with Rodney that too many conservative Christians conflate Christianity with the Republican party.

But then, a lot of liberal Christians or liberal Christian denominations entwine a lot of liberal beliefs and causes with the faith too, (such as support of abortion, the Democratic Party, liberalism, and homosexual marriage).

Continue reading “Some of My Thoughts Regarding ‘Why do evangelicals lose their faith?’ – Podcast by Unbelievable”

Why do evangelicals lose their faith? – Podcast by Unbelievable

Why do evangelicals lose their faith? – Podcast by Unbelievable

Off to the right hand side of this blog I have a blog roll. Linked there is “Unbelievable,” a podcast by a Christian guy who normally covers topics pertinent to Christian apologetics. He usually has some pretty interesting shows.

I was (am?) a life long Christian but one who’s been doubting the faith the last few years.

I have not totally left the faith itself, but there are parts of it that I’m having trouble accepting or grasping now.

At times, I am disappointed in or by, or angered by Christians, or the behavior of other Christians. That plays into some of the struggles I’ve been having with the faith.

I don’t think I can ever hop on board the Atheist train. I don’t think atheism is intellectually feasible. It seems so devoid of hope, too. And some of its adherents seem just as fundamentalist as some religious theist types. Some of the militant atheists are also smug and condescending as all get out, traits which I have always reviled.

So, this particular episode of Unbelievable looks to be pretty interesting, though I’ve not actually listened to it yet – I’ll probably listen to it later (if so, I may edit this post at a later time with my thoughts on it):

(Link):  Why do evangelicals lose their faith? Os Guinness & Rodney Wilson (pod cast / audio / radio show)

  • Christian author and cultural critic Os Guinness’ new book called “Fools Talk: Recovering the art of Christian persuasion” is aimed at helping Christians develop a confident and winsome approach to engaging those who are closed to faith.
  • He engages with ex-evangelical Rodney Wilson who has researched the reasons why evangelical Christians lose their faith in his book “Killing God” as they discuss the cultural and doctrinal barriers to embracing Christian faith.

EDIT: new post reflecting on this podcast:

—————————

Related Posts:

(Link): No Man’s Land – Between Agnosticism and Christianity / Also: It’s Emotional Not Intellectual (PART 1)

(Link):  Suffering and Misery Trend Du Jour (part 1) 

(Link): Permissiveness, Cheap Grace, and Easy Forgivism Run Amok in Christianity – Dallas Preacher Todd Wagner Says Christians Can Use Heroin / Why some Christians turn agnostic

(Link): Guilt Tripping or Shaming the Hurt Sheep to Return to Church

(Link): Why People Don’t Go To Church (various links and testimonies March 2014)

(Link): Christians Who Take the Bible Literally Cannot Agree On Much of Anything 

(Link): Power Point, Boring Churches, It’s all about Jesus, Church Quitters, No Community, Selfish Preachers, Churches As Stalkers / (Re: Why Some Drop Out of Church)

When Christians Love Theology More Than People by S. Mattson

When Christians Love Theology More Than People by S. Mattson

I first saw this mentioned on Defend The Sheep’s Twitter account.

I’ve been thinking the last few months of writing a similar essay. The guy who wrote this arrived at some of the same conclusions I have.

(Link):  When Christians Love Theology More Than People by S Mattson

Here is how the introduction starts:

  • Beyond the realm of churches, religious blogs, and bible colleges, nobody really cares about theology. What does matter is the way you treat other people.

Continue reading “When Christians Love Theology More Than People by S. Mattson”

White Christians No Longer Majority in U.S.A. (2015 Pew Study)

White Christians No Longer Majority in U.S.A. (2015 Pew Study)

Possibly one good thing about white Christians being in the minority is that perhaps they will re-evaluate how they treat marginalized groups, such as adult singles.

(Link): Pew: White Christians No Longer in Majority

  • by Nick Glasss, November 2015
  • White Christians now make up less than half of the U.S. population, largely receding from the majorities of most demographic groups, with one notable exception: the Republican Party.
  • According to the latest results from Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape survey published Monday by (Link): National Journal’s Next America project, just 46 percent of American adults are white Christians, down from 55 percent in 2007.

Continue reading “White Christians No Longer Majority in U.S.A. (2015 Pew Study)”

Weird, Sexist PreOccupation with Female Physical Appearance, Including Christian Males – vis a vis Preacher Doug Wilson

Weird, Sexist PreOccupation with Female Physical Appearance, Including Christian Males – vis a vis  Preacher Doug Wilson

I have blogged on this subject before, or something very similar to it, the weird and worn preoccupation with Christian men with women’s looks and sexuality. Of course, Non Christian men can be just as bad about this and sometimes are.

One of the reasons I am writing this blog post is due to this recent post at Christianity Today:

-But more on that specific post farther below.

There was recently a story in the media about two or three weeks ago about a woman on a site, Linked In, which is a site for professionals to network. This woman received a response from a much-older man on that site who told her how attractive she was in her Linked In site photo.

When this woman wrote him back and told him how sexist and inappropriate his message was, and this story somehow made its way into the public eye, this woman started getting screamed at and criticized by other parties online.

Her story resulted in editorials such as this:

(Link): LinkedIn Is Not a Dating Site (from August or Sept 2015)

  • The case against your dad’s favorite social-media platform being used to “connect” with younger women

The reason I have a difficult time taking articles like the following seriously…

Is precisely because of stuff like this is still taking place:

(Link): LinkedIn Is Not a Dating Site

  • The case against your dad’s favorite social-media platform being used to “connect” with younger women

If we were REALLY living in a society where men were terrified of being accused of sexual harassment by women (especially in the workplace), would we still find men using professional work sites such as Linked In to tell women they don’t even know how gosh-durn sexy – purty they are? No, I think not.

Men are still acting in a sexist and inappropriate fashion towards women, even on professional job-based web sites. Ergo, men cannot be all that afraid of being smacked with sexual harassment labels or lawsuits as the other article is claiming.

That article once more:

Excerpt from that page:

  • Tellingly, Elsesse [female author] adds that companies themselves are contributing to this mess, as they are now so terrified of legal action they send staff on sexual harassment training courses, and are duty-bound to follow up on any allegation, however minor.Ludicrously, Elsesser cites examples of men who have been dragged in by their HR departments for simply opening a door for a female colleague or complimenting her on a new suit. “Stories like these spread around workplaces, instilling a fear that innocent remarks will be misinterpreted,” she says.

Why would a male co-worker find it necessary to tell a female co-worker that her suit is snazzy? Why not instead tell her what a killer job she did on Tuesday’s staff meeting presentation?

You know, praise the woman’s brains, skills, accomplishments or job performance – instead of her appearance?

I am not a left winger, nor am I a secular feminist. I am right wing.

Any time a woman complains about getting a comment about her physical appearance from a man, even if it is a positive comment, my fellow right wingers will howl in protest. They cannot fathom how or why any woman would find getting compliments on her looks to be derogatory, demeaning, unwanted, or annoying.

You are thought to be overly sensitive, or a woman’s studies major who never shaves her arm pits, or a bra-burning, man hating harpy, if you object to a man telling you in any way, shape or form, that you are pretty or sexy.

My fellow right wingers chalk up any female dissent on receiving compliments on looks from a man as being from a left wing, frothing at the mouth, man-hating feminist.

Reminder: I am a right winger who disagrees with secular left wing feminists over 90% (or more) of the time on 90-95% of topics, but on this one, they are totally correct: as a socially conservative, right wing woman, I find it insulting when men call attention to my looks – even in a personal capacity, let alone a professional one.

I don’t like guys on the internet telling me I am hot, sexy, or pretty (which they have done on sites where I have used photos of myself and my real name, and this is not even on dating sites), nor do I enjoy men I don’t know in stores or streets cat-calling me or making comments about my appearance.

Hell, I grew to resent my ex fiance’s continual ‘You are so beautiful’ comment to be tiresome. I asked him several times to stop commenting on my looks, and that if he wanted to praise me, to do so based on some other quality, like my achievements at my job, my sense of humor – anything but my looks.

But the moron would never do it. It made me feel as though he only valued me for my looks, not my personality or anything else I brought to the table (well, he did love my bank account).

In my particular case, I was an ugly duckling as a kid -by some people’s standards- when I was a pre-teen. I was picked on.

I eventually slimmed down, got contact lenses, started wearing mascara, and boom, the male gender suddenly changed their minds about me. I really don’t like being judged or valued primarily or solely upon my physical appearance, but this has happened repeatedly from my teen years into my adult years.

Men don’t get this, they do not comprehend it. They don’t seem to care to know what it feels like to be accepted or rejected based on their looks alone (or primarily), yet this happens to women from the time we are girls and only grows worse as we get to our pre-teen and teen years and older.

It’s very frustrating and dehumanizing to be evaluated only on your physical appearance. Not to have people notice your intellect, your wit, your talents, your skills, to be appreciated for YOU, for who you are, not for what you look like.

One of the things I find annoying about the usual right wing, anti-feminist come-back to women who object to receiving comments from men about their looks is that such women should chill out and learn to appreciate a compliment.

One of the objections I have to that position: it assumes I need or want male validation and at that, for my appearance, and in a job setting.

However, I do not need or want a man’s validation about my physical appearance, especially not in a work-related context.

Continue reading “Weird, Sexist PreOccupation with Female Physical Appearance, Including Christian Males – vis a vis Preacher Doug Wilson”

One Woman’s Experience With ‘Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome’

One Woman’s Experience With ‘Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome’

I regularly blog about topics pertaining to singleness, dating, and marriage and so on, but – as someone who has been undergoing a faith crisis the last few years, I am also interested in topics like this one:

(Link): One Woman’s Experience With ‘Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome’ by Carol Kuruvilla

Excerpts:

  • What do you do when the faith you grew up in just doesn’t make sense anymore?
  • This is the dilemma Reba Riley, a 33-year-old from Cincinnati, faced in her late 20s. She was brought up in an evangelical Christian household, but soon realized that the questions she had about her faith weren’t being answered by the theology preached by her family’s church.
  • The spiritual crisis prompted her to embark on a wild journey through 30 different religious traditions in just one year. Half of these were various strands of Christianity — from Mormonism to the practices of the Amish — and the other half included Hinduism, Paganism and others.
  • The purpose of the quest wasn’t necessarily to find a new faith, but to combat the bitterness that had grown in her heart when she thought about God.
  • Three years after her experiment concluded, Riley told The Huffington Post she now calls herself a Christian, but with many, many qualifiers. Her faith is now about practicing love and finding God in unexpected places.

Continue reading “One Woman’s Experience With ‘Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome’”

Pastor Jim Staley Confesses to Cheating Elderly Investors Out of $3.3M and Pocketing $570K for Himself

Pastor Jim Staley Confesses to Cheating Elderly Investors Out of $3.3M and Pocketing $570K for Himself

And notice that this guy’s church or ministry is called “Passion For Truth.” He is anything but truthful.

(Link): Pastor Jim Staley Confesses to Cheating Elderly Investors Out of $3.3M and Pocketing $570K for Himself

  • BY LEONARDO BLAIR , CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER
  • May 1, 2015|6:26 pm
  • Passion for Truth Ministries Pastor Jim Stanley, 40, who told his St. Charles, Missouri, congregation last summer that he didn’t realize he had been arrested after a federal grand jury indicted him last June for defrauding investors, admitted in federal court Thursday that he cheated his elderly victims out of $3.3 million while making $570,000 for himself.
  • In a courtroom packed with supporters, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Staley, who owned a financial consulting form, pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud rather than taking his case to trial. He admitted that he cheated 16 investors, and his defense attorney, Scott Rosenblum, says his client was ashamed and “completely accepted responsibility.” The attorney stressed that the crime “had nothing to do with his role as a pastor.”
  • Assistant U.S. Attorney Dianna Collins said some of the investors trusted Staley because he was a “nice religious man” who referred to several of them as “Grandma.”
  • “Seniors tend to be more trusting and give people the benefit of the doubt, particularly people who hold themselves out as religious leaders,” said Collins.
  • At his sentencing on July 29, Staley will face six to eight years in prison. His attorneys will reportedly ask for less.

Regarding:

  • “The attorney stressed that the crime “had nothing to do with his role as a pastor.””

Oh yes, buddy, yes it does have everything to do with him being a pastor and claiming the name of Christ.

From the Bible, in describing people in positions of leadership in the church, 1 Tim 3.2

  • It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.
  • An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.…

More Women Are Leaving Behind Religious Identities For Something More Spiritual

More Women Are Leaving Behind Religious Identities For Something More Spiritual

(Link): More Women Are Leaving Behind Religious Identities For Something More Spiritual

Excerpt

  • Posted: 02/20/2015 4:29 pm EST Updated: 02/20/2015 4:59 pm EST
  • (RNS) Nadia Bulkin, 27, the daughter of a Muslim father and a Christian mother, spends “zero time” thinking about God.

    And she finds that among her friends — both guys and gals — many are just as spiritually disconnected.

    Surveys have long shown women lead more active lives of faith than men, and that millennials are less interested than earlier generations. One in three now claim no religious identity.

    What may be new is that more women, generation by generation, are moving in the direction of men — away from faith, religious commitment, even away from vaguely spiritual views like “a deep sense of wonder about the universe,” according to some surveys.

    Michaela Bruzzese, 46, is a Mass-every-week Catholic, just like her mother, but she sees few of her Gen X peers in the pews.

    “I have women friends who grew up Catholic who think my choice to stay Catholic is like I choose to keep believing in Santa Claus. They just don’t get what is in the church for me,” said Bruzzese.

    “For me, Catholicism is a verb — it is the action of being in the world and trying to live the gospel,” said Bruzzese, who teaches theology at a Catholic high school in Albuquerque, N.M. Many of her students go home to parents who no longer observe the faith.

  • In 1974, CARA research found 46 percent of men and 45 percent of women considered themselves to be “strong Catholics.” By 2012, both groups had dropped significantly on that question — men to 24 percent and women to 30 percent.

    On the rise: Those who call themselves “not very strong” Catholics. That self-description by men climbed to 67 percent in 2012, up from 44 percent 1974. Among women, 57 percent said their faith was “not very strong,” up from 43 percent 40 years ago.

  • …Bulkin was born in Indonesia then moved to Nebraska when she was 11. Today, her mother, a self-proclaimed atheist, attends a Unitarian Universalist congregation. But Bulkin, a consultant in Washington, D.C., is more inclined to use her Sunday morning for a calming yoga class.
  • “Sometimes I do say I’m spiritual but not religious, but it depends on your definition,” said Bulkin. “I’m more an agnostic when I think about it. But I spend zero time thinking about it.”
  • Her male friends who do claim a religious identity are more culturally attached than religious, she said. “I know more girls who are religious Christians who struggle to find a guy who is the same.”

  • …Woolever also points to the marriage rate as an influence in religiosity, if not necessarily spirituality. “It’s married women who go to church and they take their kids. Certainly single women go to church, too, but at a much lower rate,” said Woolever.
  • Protestant scholar and author Phyllis Tickle, 80, who has observed American spirituality for decades, also cited the changing cultural context of women’s lives.
  • “In evangelical and even in some progressive parts of Christianity, women are getting very mixed signals,” said Tickle. “There is a view that a woman should be subordinate on Sunday, equal to men the five workdays of the week and Saturday is up for grabs. She’s told at home and at church the man is to be the ‘servant leader,’ but then she goes to work where she has to be as tough as the guys to succeed.”
  • Tickle called it “religiously imposed schizophrenia. My generation didn’t have the pressure to be the perfect wife and the perfect professional. It doesn’t leave you any time for spirituality — or any internal time at all. Whatever the female of the 22nd century is going to be spiritually, we just don’t know,” Tickle said.

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Related Posts

(Link):  Why are Working Women Starting to Unplug from Their Churches? by Sandra Crawford Williamson (Also discusses never married adult women)

The Rise of the ‘Done With Church’ Population by T. Schultz

The Rise of the ‘Done With Church’ Population 

Julia Duin already called this out in her book, Quitting Church, which came out around what, 2005? 2006?

(Link): The Rise of the ‘Done With Church’ Population

Also visit that page, scroll to the bottom, and read the visitor comments – not that I agree with all comments; I disagree with the one person in the comments who is dragging up the moldy oldy chest nut, “you should go to church to serve not be served.” Sorry no… the Bible teaches that one function of the body is that they are to meet the needs of each other.

(As I type this, their web site is currently down though).

Excerpts

  • by Thom Schultz
  • John is one in a growing multitude of ex-members. They’re sometimes called the de-churched. They have not abandoned their faith. They have not joined the also-growing legion of those with no religious affiliation—often called the Nones. Rather, John has joined the Dones.
  • At Group’s recent Future of the Church conference, sociologist Josh Packard shared some of his groundbreaking research on the Dones. He explained these de-churched were among the most dedicated and active people in their congregations. To an increasing degree, the church is losing its best.
  • For the church, this phenomenon sets up a growing danger. The very people on whom a church relies for lay leadership, service and financial support are going away. And the problem is compounded by the fact that younger people in the next generation, the Millennials, are not lining up to refill the emptying pews.
  • Why are the Dones done? Packard describes several factors in his upcoming bookChurch Refugees (Group). Among the reasons: After sitting through countless sermons and Bible studies, they feel they’ve heard it all. One of Packard’s interviewees said, “I’m tired of being lectured to. I’m just done with having some guy tell me what to do.”
  • The Dones are fatigued with the Sunday routine of plop, pray and pay. They want to play. They want to participate. But they feel spurned at every turn.
  • Will the Dones return? Not likely, according to the research. They’re done. Packard says it would be more fruitful if churches would focus on not losing these people in the first place. Preventing an exodus is far easier than attempting to convince refugees to return.
  • Pastors and other ministry leaders would benefit from asking and listening to these long-time members before they flee. This will require a change of habit. When it comes to listening, church leaders are too often in the habit of fawning over celebrity pastors for answers. It would be far more fruitful to take that time and spend it with real people nearby—existing members.

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Related

(Link): Hypocrisy Among Christians and how it leads some to question or leave the Christian faith

(Link): It’s Okay To Get Your Needs Met At Church ~ The Expression You Go To Church To Serve Not Be Served is False and Unbiblical

(Link): Guilt Tripping or Shaming the Hurt Sheep to Return to Church

(Link): The Unchurched

(Link):  Why Even Middle Aged Married with Children Christians Are Leaving Church Not Just Unmarried Singles | 40 Somethings

(Link): Single Adults – Why They Stay and Why They Stray From Church – Book Excerpts

(Link): Southern Baptists – Still Majoring in the Minors and ignoring the never married (singles) – Why Church Membership is Down

(Link): U.S. Churches Cancel Services for Football – Superbowl – People who are unchurched, dechurched, and preachers who say not attending church is a sin

Hypocrisy Among Christians and how it leads some to question or leave the Christian faith

Hypocrisy Among Christians and how it leads some to question or leave the Christian faith

I have a few other topics or news stories I wanted to blog about today and the other day, but I find myself getting sidetracked to discuss these other issues. Maybe I’ll blog about the rest tomorrow or next weekend.

This topic is (for me anyhow) rather complex. I don’t want to spend a lot of time explaining it, but it’s one I’ve seen crop up recently on other sites or in my personal life, and this will probably be another one of my long posts. Even though I have other things I wanted to do today, like bake a batch of cookies.

Whether Christians like it or not, some Christians, including lifelong Christians such as myself, are either considering leaving the faith, or have done so already, and all because the hypocrisy they see in self professing Christians.

Continue reading “Hypocrisy Among Christians and how it leads some to question or leave the Christian faith”