The Common Good

Results for Faith and Spirituality

Baptism Rates Slide Despite High-Profile Boosts
Originally Posted: 10/23/2013 - 11:16am | Type: Blog

But in both years, Catholics were 23 percent of the national population. Catholic baptism rates fell ...

Have Churches Abandoned the Elderly?
Originally Posted: 10/23/2013 - 7:22am | Type: Blog

Christians have suffered from the sin of apathy, being guilty of ignoring a large segment of believers — the elderly — who are continually forced into the shadows of our ministries, leadership structures, publ ...

Oprah Interview Stirs Debate: What is an Atheist?
Originally Posted: 10/21/2013 - 5:05pm | Type: Blog

What was supposed to be a touchy-feely, one-on-one interview by Oprah Winfrey with long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad has morphed into a broader, sometimes angry exchange about what it means to be an atheist. ...

The Isolating Power of Family-Centered Language
Originally Posted: 10/21/2013 - 4:41pm | Type: Blog

Until recently, I had always been in the majority. I am Caucasian, middle-class, healthy, and always did well in school. I had never had a personal label others would speak carefully about so as not to offend me. I had never been hurt by words people to ...

'Israeliness' May be Answer for Secular American Jews
Originally Posted: 10/21/2013 - 4:56pm | Type: Blog

The recent Pew survey of American Jews caused a fluster in the organized Jewish community. The recent Pew survey of American Jews caused a fluster in the organized Jewish communit ...

Pope Francis: Holy Humility In Community
Originally Posted: 10/21/2013 - 11:14am | Type: Blog

Daring leaders in every age have responded with their own bold visions regarding what makes for faithful community — something we can see in the unusually humble ministry of the new Bishop of Rome. Pope Franci ...

The Pope Francis Effect: ‘Francesco’ Now Italy’s Most Popular Baby Name
Originally Posted: 10/18/2013 - 5:06pm | Type: Blog

Moved by the election of Pope Francis seven months ago, the name “Francesco” has leapfrogged to No. 1 on the list of the most popular baby names in Italy, according to a study. Mo ...

Breaking Bread in Faith and Love
Originally Posted: 10/18/2013 - 4:49pm | Type: Blog

In the Bible, few dine alone. Small wonder that Christians and Jews see sharing a meal with family, guests, and strangers as a form of spiritual nourishment and hospitality — as valuable as the bread passed ar ...

Why I Cry in Church
Originally Posted: 10/18/2013 - 3:20pm | Type: Blog

There are so few places where we can bring our raw emotions without a self-conscious need to explain or escape to the nearest bathroom, which happens when we get teary-eyed at work or in line at Home Depot. Pe ...

Could Pope Francis Make Women Cardinals? A Pipe Dream, and an Opening
Originally Posted: 10/17/2013 - 4:24pm | Type: Blog

Could a woman vote for the next pope? Could a woman vote for the next pope? Pope Francis has said repeatedly that he wants to see greater roles for women in the Catholic Church ...

Hispanics Increasingly Identify as 'Nones'
Originally Posted: 10/17/2013 - 4:01pm | Type: Blog

The number of Hispanic-Americans who say they adhere to no religion is growing and now rivals the number of Hispanic evangelicals, a new study has found. The number of Hispanic-Am ...

Hollywood’s Depiction of Nuns a Case of ‘Veiled Desires’
Originally Posted: 10/17/2013 - 12:30pm | Type: Blog

From Julie Andrews’ performance as Maria in the 1965 film “The Sound of Music” to Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Sister Aloysius Beauvier in “Doubt” (2008), many Hollywood actresses are particularly conspicuous f ...

Beyond 'Kony 2012': Jason Russell’s Attempt at a Comeback
Originally Posted: 10/17/2013 - 12:29pm | Type: Blog

A campaign to arrest an African warlord generated awareness in more ways than the effort’s co-founder Jason Russell could have ever imagined. A campaign to arrest an African warlo ...

November 2013 Sojourners Magazine (Downloadable PDF)
Originally Posted: 10/21/2013 - 5:44pm | Type: Product

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On Eid al-Adha, Tradition Gives Way to Online Innovation
Originally Posted: 10/16/2013 - 4:11pm | Type: Blog

Muslims in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and elsewhere went online to buy live cows and goats for the traditional Islamic Feast of Sacrifice, known as Eid al-Adha, because shopping on the Internet was easier than goin ...

Challenge and Disruption
Originally Posted: 10/15/2013 - 3:19pm | Type: Blog

After nearly 50 years of relentless decline in mainline churches, business as usual is a sinking ship. The way forward lies in fresh ideas, turnaround strategies, entrepreneurial enthusiasm for risk, and learn ...

Mainline Protestants: Vintage or Vibrant?
Originally Posted: 10/15/2013 - 2:52pm | Type: Blog

Half a century ago, the denominations under the mainline umbrella dominated the American faith landscape. Now, after decades of declining numbers, only about one in five U.S. adults identifies with a mainline ...

The Welfare of the City
Originally Posted: 10/15/2013 - 10:51am | Type: Blog

We struggle mightily with what it means to be American when what we need to be more concerned with is what it means to be Christian no matter where we may find ourselves. " ...

Dear Young Christians: Reject Legalism, NOT Discipline!
Originally Posted: 10/15/2013 - 9:02am | Type: Blog

In many ways, discipline and legalism share many of the same characteristics: repetition, rules, accountability, and work (to name just a few). But there is one important difference: attitude. ...

Looking to Get Married? Try a Christian College
Originally Posted: 10/14/2013 - 11:41am | Type: Blog

When Dordt College graduates Jordan Harmelink and Rachel Tennant said “I do” at their July wedding, they joined the masses of graduates who meet their spouse at private Christian colleges. ...

Can Online Communion Be a Substitute for the Real Thing?
Originally Posted: 10/11/2013 - 4:34pm | Type: Blog

As online worship becomes more common in some churches, leaders within the United Methodist Church are debating whether the denomination should condone online Communion. As online ...

'Like If You Love Jesus!' The Gospel According to Facebook
Originally Posted: 10/10/2013 - 12:30pm | Type: Blog

It is one thing to have a faith and have that faith inform your life, but it is another to have a faith and guilt trip others into following your actions. Christ did not call for us to plaster our faith across ...

8 Ways to Survive Christian Culture
Originally Posted: 10/09/2013 - 7:20am | Type: Blog

Christian culture, along with the spiritual leaders, churches, institutions, communities, and other entities it consists of, are supposed to make our faith stronger. But in many cases the opposite happens, and ...

AUDIO: Keeping the Faith?
Originally Posted: 10/09/2013 - 1:56pm | Type: Magazine Article

The Editors "Not all who wander are lost."—J.R.R. Tolkien Many people of faith experience periods o ...

Middle Eastern Virus May Mar Hajj Pilgrimage
Originally Posted: 10/08/2013 - 3:47pm | Type: Blog

The annual pilgrimage to Mecca, known as the hajj, presents a gantlet of health challenges. This year’s pilgrimage, which falls Oct. 13-18, is no different. The annual pilgrimage ...

Proclaiming Souls
Originally Posted: 10/08/2013 - 12:02pm | Type: Blog

Last week, social media were alive with speculations of terrorism, domestic or international, with connections between [the D.C. incident] and the government shutdown, with any number of theories about gun vio ...

Ex-Mormons Aren’t ‘Lazy or Sinful,’ Church Leader Dieter Uchtdorf Says
Originally Posted: 10/07/2013 - 3:18pm | Type: Blog

It is wrong to assume that Mormons who leave the faith “have been offended or lazy or sinful,” a top leader told members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday during the church’s 183rd ...

Following in the Footsteps of Francis
Originally Posted: 10/04/2013 - 1:57pm | Type: Blog

Eager to deepen my understanding of the saint, I had returned to Assisi to walk in the footsteps of St. Francis. Ancient stones, steep stairs, and sparkling fresh air greeted me ...

Yes, Community. But Then What? A Conversation with Brian McLaren, Stephanie Spellers, and Doug Pagitt
Originally Posted: 10/04/2013 - 3:17pm | Type: Blog

Following is an audio interview I conducted with these three key voices in the CANA conversation. We talked about why CANA is needed now, more than ever, and what sort of transformation they hope to affect wit ...

Remembering Francis: From 12th Century Rebel to 21st Century Pope
Originally Posted: 10/04/2013 - 9:45am | Type: Blog

Today, Oct. 4, Christians around the world remember one of the great heroes of our faith, and the current pope’s namesake – Francis of Assisi. But Francesco Bernadone (Francis of Assisi), who died on Oct. 3, 1 ...

First Anglican Woman Bishop in India Says Critics Have Been Silent
Originally Posted: 10/03/2013 - 10:50am | Type: Blog

A Christian nun who became the first woman bishop of South Asia’s Anglican community said that so far her appointment has silenced critics who believe only men can play leadership roles in the church. ...

Replacing Faith with Curiosity
Originally Posted: 10/03/2013 - 10:17am | Type: Blog

Rather than trying to claim, and lean on, a steadfast and immovable certainty about the existence and nature of God, and the existence and nature of Jesus, I find myself more curious about them – in an active, ...

Becoming Fluent in the Language of Hope
Originally Posted: 10/09/2013 - 9:13am | Type: Magazine Article

NOVEMBER 24 ] The Church’s New Year Jeremiah 23:1-6; Psalm 46;  Colossians 1:11-20; Luke 23:33-43 The church brings its liturgical year to a close by evoking the theme of Christ the King. ...

Meet the ‘Nominals’ Who Are Drifting From Judaism and Christianity
Originally Posted: 10/02/2013 - 4:45pm | Type: Blog

Meet the “Nominals” — people who claim a religious identity but may live it in name only. They’re rarely at worship services and indifferent to doctrine. And they’re surprisingly  ...

Skeptics Wonder if Ex-Clergy Should Lead Atheist Movements
Originally Posted: 10/02/2013 - 3:29pm | Type: Blog

By definition, skeptics are pretty skeptical. They question what they see as unfounded claims or dubious motivations, whatever the source. Now, they are questioning some of their own leaders. ...

In Scotland, Nonreligious Surpass the Church of Scotland
Originally Posted: 10/02/2013 - 2:41pm | Type: Blog

For the first time on record, the number of Scots with no religion outstrips those who belong to the Church of Scotland. For the first time on record, the number of Scots with no ...

Pope Francis Holds ‘Encouraging’ Reform Talks with Cardinals
Originally Posted: 10/02/2013 - 2:34pm | Type: Blog

The special committee of eight cardinals created by Pope Francis with the goal of dramatically reforming the Vatican’s governance got off to an “encouraging” start, the Vatican’s chief spokesman said Wednesday ...

Pope Francis Fires Warning Shot at Church’s ‘Top-Down’ Bureaucracy
Originally Posted: 10/01/2013 - 4:26pm | Type: Blog

Pope Francis has once again given a startlingly candid interview that reinforces his vision of a Catholic Church that engages the world and helps the poor rather than pursuing culture wars, and one “that is no ...

Billy Graham’s Legacy Fading ‘Into the Mists of History’
Originally Posted: 10/01/2013 - 3:29pm | Type: Blog

We gathered at Billy Graham’s alma mater over three days to explore his ministry’s place in American history and chronicle its meaning for the future. It was a fascinating conversation, and poignant, too, as G ...

Being Jewish Means Being Funny, and That’s No Joke
Originally Posted: 10/01/2013 - 1:41pm | Type: Blog

Yoo-hoo! Sarah Silverman, Jon Stewart, Larry David! No matter how unreligious you comics may be, American Jews seem proud to claim you. Yoo-hoo! Sarah Silverman, Jon Stewart, Larr ...

Meet the Nones: Jewish Americans Increasingly Disaffiliating
Originally Posted: 10/01/2013 - 10:11am | Type: Blog

About 22 percent of Jews now describe themselves as having no religion, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. Jews. The top religion story of 2012 was the “rise of ...

Rewriting the Lord's Prayer: What If How We Prayed Matched How We Live?
Originally Posted: 10/01/2013 - 1:03pm | Type: Blog

Perhaps we should rewrite the Lord’s prayer and make it conform to what we really believe. In that spirit, here’s a rough draft of what it might sound like if the Lord‘s prayer was actually our prayer. ...

Who’s a Jew? Few American Jews Say It’s a Matter of Belief
Originally Posted: 10/01/2013 - 8:57am | Type: Blog

In the most comprehensive study of American Jews in 12 years, a strong majority said being Jewish is mostly about ancestry or culture, not the religious practice of Judaism. WASHI ...

Help Thou My Unbelief
Originally Posted: 10/09/2013 - 9:13am | Type: Magazine Article

Ryan Ahlgrim A pastor's journey of trust in the face of doubt. LAST YEAR on NPR’s “All Things Considered ...

A River Runs Through It
Originally Posted: 02/12/2014 - 12:10pm | Type: Magazine Article

Reta Halteman Finger Water in the New Testament "HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?" pondered the middle-aged wom ...

Saint G.K. Chesterton? Some Delight, Others Worry About Effort to Canonize Writer
Originally Posted: 09/30/2013 - 4:33pm | Type: Blog

Christians and Jews are mounting campaigns for and against a path to sainthood for British writer G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), one of the world’s best-known Catholic converts. Chr ...

Pope to Canonize John Paul II and John XXIII in April
Originally Posted: 09/30/2013 - 4:39pm | Type: Blog

Popes John Paul II and John XXIII will be formally declared saints on April 27, 2014, the Vatican said Monday. Pope Francis made the announcement during a meeting with cardinals gathered in Rome. ...

Are the Media Giving Pope Francis a Pass?
Originally Posted: 09/30/2013 - 4:32pm | Type: Blog

Are the media pulling their punches when it comes to Pope Francis? Are the media pulling their punches when it comes to Pope Francis? Whether it’s because he carries his own ba ...

On Scripture: The Modern Need for Lamentations
Originally Posted: 09/30/2013 - 3:09pm | Type: Blog

Twenty-first century readers of the Scriptures are likely uncomfortable with the book of Lamentations and its stories of weeping, groaning, and grieving. But, the act of lamenting is not unique to biblical Isr ...

Secrets of the Spiritual Paparazzi
Originally Posted: 09/30/2013 - 2:40pm | Type: Blog

Some people follow pop-star celebrities. I follow spiritual writers. Some people follow pop-star celebrities. I follow spiritual writers. Rather than tracking news about Lady G ...