Archive for the ‘General Articles’ Category

Ecumenical exorcism on the rise

Exorcism has been growing in Catholic and Protestant corners for some time, but the perception of high demand for the practice among church leaders of both traditions is leading to greater cooperation and consultation, reports Griffin Paul Jackson in Christianity Today magazine (October). According to Andrew Chesnut of Virginia Commonwealth University, “Pope Francis and many […]

Ethnic Lutheran congregations feel pressure under new drive for diversity

While German-speaking Lutheran congregations in America have long been agents for preserving a specific tradition, pressures for change are creating new dilemmas, writes Thorsten Wettich (University of Bremen, Germany) in the monthly Protestant journal Materialdienst der EZW (October). A researcher specializing in the study of German-speaking Lutheran congregations abroad, Wettich’s observations are based especially on […]


⚫ According to a study of congregational ties by Jennifer McClure of Samford University, African-American congregations have the strongest social networks while older clergy in general have weaker ties. McClure, who presented a paper at the recent meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion in St. Louis, studied ties between 438 congregations […]

New attention paid to training imams for the integration of European Muslims

Muslim imams are viewed in Europe with a mixture of fears about radical preachers and hopes that they might provide crucial help in the integration of Muslims, concerns which are drawing new attention to how they should be trained in the context of Western societies. As Hansjörg Schmid and Noemi Trucco (University of Fribourg, Switzerland) […]

African way of Orthodoxy emerging?

With dioceses covering the African continent, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria is increasingly ministering outside of Egypt, primarily to people with African roots who have felt attracted to the Orthodox faith and may come to add a new dimension to the church, writes Ciprian Burlacioiu (Ludwig-Maximilians University) in Religion & Gesellschaft in Ost und […]

Myanmar’s Buddhism provides legitimacy to nationalist agenda

Hybridizing indigenous and Western concepts, contemporary Burmese nationalist ideology presents the Buddha as a patriot and conceptualizes the nation from a Buddhist framework, writes Niklas Foxeus (Stockholm University) in the journal Religion (October). Following clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in 2012, Buddhist nationalist and anti-Islamic movements, led by monks, appeared in Myanmar, and the unrestricted […]

Findings & Footnotes

◼ While surveys have found that younger evangelicals are not substantially more liberal than their older counterparts, the media still regularly reports on the growing gap in political views between younger and older evangelical cohorts. The new book Rock of Ages (Temple University Press, $34.95), by Jeremiah J. Castle, confirms previous studies showing relatively minor […]

On/File: A Continuing Record of People, Groups, Movements, and Events Impacting Contemporary Religion

1) Hyattsville, Maryland has become a living example of what is called the “Benedict option,” the idea that Christians should form countercultural communities that eschew politics in the face of a hostile secular society. Young conservative Catholic families have been moving into the suburban town just outside of Washington, DC and the section known as […]

Litigating and legislating against clergy sex abuse rises amidst mounting secular pressure

Church-state issues surrounding clergy sexual abuse are becoming a pressing concern to church bodies, even as they draw up new regulations to punish perpetrators and establish ministries to help victims, according to scholars speaking at a recent symposium on religious freedom in New York, which RW attended. The trend of more legislative attempts to require […]

Christians retain strong edge as classical education diversifies and goes public

Classical education based on studying the “great books” of the pagan and Judeo-Christian traditions is now championed by a growing number of Christian homeschoolers as well as taking on a more public face, according to reports. Once the province of elite private schools, classical education caught on among an unlikely group of Protestants in the […]