Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

Psychedelics’ long trip into mainline Christian and Jewish institutions

While psychedelic substances have been making the rounds of alternative and mystical spiritual groups for several years, they are only just being embraced in liberal Christian and Jewish circles, where a mood of skepticism and caution still surrounds them. In a two-part series on the topic in Lucid News (April 20 and May 4), Don […]

Evangelical congregations feel the brunt of political divisions after Trump and Covid

The combined effects of the pandemic and the populism driven by the Trump presidency have caused new divisions among evangelicals that have reached down into everyday congregational life, writes Tim Alberta in The Atlantic (May 10). While divisions between evangelical leaders and activists were on display for all to see during the Trump administration and […]

The rise and fall of “big-name spirituality” and its substitutes

The era of big-name spiritual leaders who packed stadiums in North American cities—figures like the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Rhonda Byrne, and Desmond Tutu—is fast fading, writes Douglas Todd in the Vancouver Sun (March 31). “There is not nearly as much mass-culture focus on trend-setting spiritual figures as there was […]

Judaism’s belated entry into online worship brings big dividends

While many congregations have been struggling to manage the challenges of meeting in-person while retaining an online presence, the online Jewish magazine Tablet (April 6) reports that synagogues have been particularly adept at such a balancing act. Ron Wolfson and Steven Windmueller write that there has been a revolution in synagogues since the Covid pandemic, […]

War in Ukraine likely to have lasting consequences for Orthodoxy

There is no doubt that the war in Ukraine and the support given by Patriarch Kirill and some Russian bishops to the Russian government will have lasting consequences for Orthodox Christianity, first in Russia and Ukraine, but also around the world. Within the Moscow Patriarchate, reactions have been ranging from distancing to taking a hard […]

African American Christians adapt homeschooling to own needs

Black Christians are among the new wave of homeschoolers that have been swept into the movement by the pandemic, but along with their interest in a Christian alternative to secular education, Christianity Today magazine (April) reports that a concern for African American heritage has been among participants’ motivations. Homeschooling rates have grown fastest among African […]

Black church facing disaffection of young and innovating

The black church is facing the reality of spiritual alternatives and growing non-affiliation through more aggressive evangelism and greater use of technology, according to scholars. In a lecture at Princeton University attended by RW in late February (via Zoom), sociologist Jacqueline Rivers of the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies argued that many […]

Ukraine crisis’s religious underpinnings and its impact on American churches

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has largely been interpreted by Western media and foreign policy experts within geopolitical as well as authoritarian frameworks, centered on its instigator Vladimir Putin. But Putin’s ruthless military strategy and designs owe much to his vison of Russia’s religious identity, writes Giles Fraser on the website Unherd (February 24). Fraser, […]

Evangelicals lacking strategy for a “negative world”?

While evangelicals have moved into an era where society views them negatively, they haven’t found a strategy to deal with their more marginal status, writes Aaron M. Renn in the magazine First Things (February). Renn writes that the increasing fragmentation of evangelicals is largely due to the different ways they have sought to extend their […]

Spiritual abuse developing as issue in Muslim circles

The issue of spiritual abuse by Muslim leaders is being tackled by ground initiatives and organizations, similarly to what has been taking place in other religious traditions, writes journalist and novelist Hanan Sulaiman in Ahram Online (January 6). Some Sufi spiritual leaders in particular are being targeted by groups confronting spiritual and sexual abuse in […]