Monday, February 25, 2008

A "New" Kind of Congregation in New Orleans

With the title "Blacks and Whites Merge to Forge New Future", beliefnet features the story of two united methodist congregations that "before the hurricane worshiped one mile- and a universe - apart.
The dynamics at "First Grace" today are shaped not only by the collaboration of the two root congregations, but a sizable third constituency -- new, post-Katrina members, many of them young, some with children, some Hispanic -- who are eager to build a new community without the pull of memory from either First or Grace.

Click here to read the article

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

U.S. Hispanic population to triple by 2050

USA Today highlights the projections of the Pew Research Center according to which The U.S. population will soar to 438 million by 2050 and the Hispanic population will triple.

The latest projections by the non-partisan research group are higher than government estimates to date and paint a portrait of an America dramatically different from today's.

Some of the insights of the research are:

  • Nearly one in five Americans will have been born outside the USA vs. one in eight in 2005. Sometime between 2020 and 2025, the percentage of foreign-born will surpass the historic peak reached a century ago during the last big immigration wave. New immigrants and their children and grandchildren born in the USA will account for 82% of the population increase from 2005 to 2050.
  • Whites who are not Hispanic, now two-thirds of the population, will become a minority when their share drops to 47%. They made up 85% of the population in 1960.
  • Hispanics, already the largest minority group, will more than double their share of the population to 29%.
Press here to read the USA Today feature

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Insights into the mind of the Unchurched in the US

America’s unchurched are willing to hear what people have to say about Christianity, but a majority also sees the church as a place full of hypocrites, according to a LifeWay Research study. Seventy-two percent of those interviewed think the church “is full of hypocrites.” Yet 71 percent said they believe Jesus “makes a positive difference in a person’s life” and 78 percent would “be willing to listen” to someone who wanted to share what they believe about Christianity, while 64 percent think “the Christian religion is relevant and viable for today.” Seventy-two percent of unchurched adults believe God, a higher or supreme being actually exists.

Only 48 percent agree there is only one God as described in the Bible, and 61 percent believe the God of the Bible is no different from gods or spiritual beings depicted in non-Christian religions. Up from 17 percent in 2004, 22 percent of Americans say they never go to church – the highest ever recorded by the General Social Survey. Seventy-nine percent of unchurched Americans think Christianity today is more about organized religion than about loving God and loving people; 86 percent believe they can have a good relationship with God without being involved in church.

Forty-four percent say Christians “get on my nerves.” Yet, 89 percent of the unchurched have at least one close Christian friend. While turned off by church, 78 percent are willing to listen to someone who wants to talk about their Christian beliefs. The number rose to 89 percent among adults ages 18-29. Additionally, 78 percent say they would enjoy an honest conversation with a friend about religious and spiritual beliefs, even if they disagreed. Only 28 percent think Christians they know talk to them too much about their beliefs. (Baptist Press 1/9/08, via Preaching Now)