Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

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 […]

Religion in 2021: different key but same melody as 2020

Although religion in 2021 was eventful on several fronts, last year’s trends also reflected shifts that were vividly on display in 2020: a continuation of the pandemic and its wide-ranging effects on religious institutions, the religio-political tensions and polarization leading to the January 6 riots, and the battles over teaching gender and race. But there […]

Venture capitalists bullish on religious apps

Religious apps are seeing not only a growing number of customers but also increased venture- capital funding, largely due to the dislocation and anxieties caused by the pandemic, reports Isaac Taylor in the Wall Street Journal (December 21). Startup founders and investors find that the apps are drawing more funding and customers from among those […]

Congregations striking truce on worship wars?

As mixed-use congregations become more common, the longstanding “worship wars” between evangelical congregations favoring traditional services and those using contemporary music and worship are simmering down, writes Thomas Kidd of Baylor University in a blog on the Christian Coalition website (December 13). Kidd reviews a new book by Melanie Ross, who argues that the fading […]

Hindus veering toward the GOP?

The recent Republican upset in Virginia’s gubernatorial race suggests an emerging shift of political views and affiliations among Hindu Indian Americans, writes Maggie Phillips in The Tablet (December 15). She notes that the demographics of Loudoun County, which was important in the victory of Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin, were largely overlooked by reporters. Asians are the […]

Upcoming generation of jihadists taking notes from alt-right

Young jihadists “are piecing together a new online aesthetic inspired by the world’s most notorious trolls” to sustain their militancy, even as they keep a critical distance from self- appointed leaders and others in their religious community, writes Moustafa Ayad in Wired magazine (December 8). Ayad writes that this generation of young jihadists seems “outwardly […]

Religion-based nationalism as the new normal for Republicans and conservatives

Populism has been positively and negatively associated with religion to varying degrees, but according to recent reports the religion factor is more established in the U.S., both in the Republican Party and in populist conservatism in general. While the religious right is regularly eulogized as a spent force, observers note that conservative religious politics has […]