While the Easter holiday traditionally has brought the biggest boost in attendance for many U.S. churches, a new survey from LifeWay Research has found that one in five Americans are unsure if they will even find themselves in a pew this year come Resurrection Sunday – and many Christians are among that number.
Easter, which reportedly leads Christmas and Mother's Day in drawing big numbers to church, is arguably the most important Christian holiday, as it marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his death by crucifixion, as described in the New Testament of the Bible.
However, LifeWay indicated that among the sample of 1,060 adult Americans surveyed who identified themselves as Christians, only 58 percent of Protestants and 57 percent of Catholics said they planned on attending Easter services. The research group found that 45 percent of nondenominational Christians said the same. more >>
A majority of Americans view same-sex marriage as a civil rights issue, according to a new poll by LifeWay Research. Most also believe its legalization in the United States is inevitable.
The findings showed that 58 percent of respondents believe that homosexuality is a civil rights issue like age, race and gender, while 29 percent disagreed with that statement. Sixty-four percent believe same-sex marriage will inevitably become legalized throughout the U.S., while 24 percent disagreed.
"Clearly, Americans believe the prerogative exists for individuals such as clergy or photographers to deny services for same-sex marriage," said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research. "However, the level of agreement changes with scenarios that could be interpreted as more basic rights such as housing and employment." more >>
Mandy Hale, who is affectionately known as "The Single Woman," chatted with The Christian Post on the eve of Valentine's Day about using singlehood as an advantage during the holiday traditionally celebrated in romantic ways by couples. Hale is one of several speakers featured at a Christian-based event for single women in Nashville, Tenn., on Thursday hosted by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Hale suggests that singles having a hard time with the celebration of romance on this day can cherish other types of love in their life, including relationships with parents, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
For singles, the holiday should not be "this horrible day that you need to 'cope with' or 'survive,'" she writes in her interview with CP via email. more >>
Christian missiologist Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, did his best this week to counter any further stereotyping of Christians as the result of a viral story about a pastor who refused to tip an Applebee's waitress and left a snarky note on the food receipt. Stetzer gave a generous tip and a complimentary note to his server after a meal. In both cases, the photo of the receipt was posted online.
"We should be known as a generous people. We should be known for our love. Not just with waitresses and waiters at restaurants, but with everyone," Stetzer, who is also a pastor, wrote in his blog post with an accompanying photo of his food receipt published Friday.
"So in response, I've been striking up conversations with servers and asking them about this perception," he added. "Yesterday, I talked to a server, and we discussed the 'pastor tip gate' scandal. I wanted to do a small thing to change the perception so I wrote a note on my bill." more >>
The headline of one pastor's blog post states: "If it can happen to General Petraeus, it can happen to you!" And so it goes after the recent revelation of an affair between former CIA Director David Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell. Many Christian leaders took the teachable moment as an opportunity to mostly make it clear that an affair is serious – it's adultery.
"Adultery can happen anywhere, to anyone. You do not have to be debonair, suave, handsome, articulate, successful, muscular, and every woman's dream. You can be dull and overweight, unattractive and without a shred of a personality, and still be caught up in this firestorm we call an affair," Pastor Joe McKeever, a former Director of Missions for Southern Baptist churches in New Orleans, wrote in his blog post referencing Petraeus.
"And, you can be mighty in the Lord, successful beyond your biggest dreams, and a warrior for Christ of the first dimension, and still be brought down by adultery," he added. more >>
The president of one of the leading Christian-based research organizations in the U.S. says it's time for believers to re-consider how the church in America should engage a culture that appears to be shifting away from Biblical values. This year's election results make it obvious that the country is embracing moral views that differ from evangelical Christianity, said LifeWay Research President Ed Stetzer.
"We must face the reality that we may be on the losing side of the culture war," wrote Stetzer in his blog posted the day after the election. "For decades, the 'religious right' has focused its energies on winning the day through political means."
He also wrote about the outcomes of key ballot issues in Tuesday's election that included victories in support of abortion and same-sex marriage. more >>