Saturday, August 10, 2013

All Around the Web - August 10, 2013

HT: Everyday Theology

Rod Dreher - The Dying (No, Really) Of Liberal Protestantism

The Atlantic has a story up about the decline in religious conservatism among younger Americans. I see no reason to dispute the data, however distressing I might find it, and in any case it’s no surprise. But I largely agree with the point Russell Moore makes in this passage from the story:

Not every conservative religious leader is sweating it. Russell Moore, the recently elected president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, says he doesn’t put much stock in surveys like PRRI’s. He believes that the type of religion that survives and shapes cultures shows up in local congregations.
“Congregationally speaking, Protestant liberalism is deader than Henry VIII. While survey after survey shows a secularizing American population, this hasn’t helped the growth of liberal Protestant churches,” he says. “Where are the Unitarian mega-churches, the Episcopalian church-planting movements?”
Moore doesn’t believe religious conservatives, particularly Christians, are fading. But he does think they will be culturally marginalized in the future.
“We will seem increasingly conservative,” he says, “not because we are passing out voter’s guides but because we believe in such culturally incredible things as that every life matters, that marriage is a permanent one-flesh union of a man to a woman, and, above all, that Jesus of Nazareth is alive, and Lord.”
I’ve written about this before, in talking about Robert Putnam and David Campbell’s book American Grace. It is undeniably true that affinity for religious conservatism has declined steeply among younger Americans, and that started in the early 1990s. The problem for liberal Protestantism is that the growing disaffection from religion among the young is costing conservative churches, it is not resulting in a gain for liberal churches. It’s true that younger Christians identify more with religious liberalism, but it’s also true that they tend not to affiliate with a church at all. This is what Moore means when he says that liberal Protestantism is “congregationally” dead.

Steve Lawson - 4 Ways Pastors Must Practice Evangelism |

1. To himself
2. To his family
3. To his flock.
4. To his community.

Christianity Today - The Surprising Countries Most Missionaries Are Sent From and Go To |

A new study reveals how the missions field continues to become increasingly global—in some surprising ways. One example: South Korea has lost its No. 2 sending spot to four unlikely contenders.

The Center for the Study of Global Christian (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary calculates that Christians sent out approximately 400,000 international missionaries in 2010. And nearly half of the world's top missionary-sending countries are now located in the global South.

The CSGC reports that "of the ten countries sending the most missionaries in 2010, three were in the global South: Brazil, South Korea, and India." Other notable missionary senders included South Africa, the Philippines, Mexico, China, Colombia, and Nigeria.

However, the United States still tops the chart by far in terms of total missionaries, sending 127,000 in 2010 compared to the 34,000 sent by No. 2-ranked Brazil.

io9 - 10 theories that explain why we dream

1. Wish fulfillment
2. An accidental side-effect of random neural impulses
3. Encoding short-term memories into long-term storage.
4. Garbage collection
5. Consolidating what we've learned.
6. An evolutionary outgrowth of the "playing dead" defense mechanism.
7. Threat simulation.
8. Problem solving
9. Oneiric Darwinism
10. Processing painful emotions with symbolic associations

Today I Find Out - Why There Are Bibles in Hotel Rooms

“Hotel Bibles” are also called “Gideon Bibles” after Gideon International, a group of male missionaries and Christian businessmen who took it upon themselves to provide this work to hotels across the nation.

Here’s how it all started. In 1898, John H. Nicholson stayed at the crowded Central Hotel in Boscobel, Wisconsin. The place was so crowded that he had to share a room with another person named Samuel E. Hill. They got to talking, as you might do if you were sharing a room with a stranger, and discovered that they were both Christians. That evening, they prayed together and talked about creating an association of traveling Christian businessmen.

In 1899, they put the idea to practice. Adding another to their number—William J. Knights—the men headed a meeting at a YMCA with the purpose to create an association of men who wished to achieve “mutual recognition, personal evangelism, and united service for the Lord.”

Initially, the three men mentioned above were the only people in the association because they were the only people who actually attended the meeting. Hills was named President, Knights Vice President, and Nicholson took on the roles of both treasurer and secretary. With that done, the men decided their new organization needed a name, and what better way to come up with one than to pray to God to lead them to the best one? The prayer apparently worked, or Knights simply had an epiphany, because not long after the prayer he directed the other two men to the Old Testament story about Gideon and declared, “We shall be called Gideons.”

New Hampshire disappeared.

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