Archive for the ‘Features’ Category

“Hasidic paradigm” already at work in church-state relations?

The controversy surrounding the Satmar Hasidic Jewish sect of New York over its use of public funds for its schools already suggests that Americans are in the middle of a paradigm shift in how religious communities navigate church-state relations, writes Rita Koganzon in The Hedgehog Review (Summer). The way that the Satmar Hasidim, the largest […]

Washington, DC, now fertile ground for nondenominational Christianity

America’s capital city is proving to be highly receptive to nondenominational evangelical churches, Daniel Silliman writes in Christianity Today magazine (July/August). Nondenominational churches have been expanding across the U.S. for years now, but the number of these congregations established in recent years has been unique. Silliman writes that although Washington has been considered a “swamp” […]

New York the sending and receiving center for missionaries of all faiths?

New York City is emerging as the “missionary capital of the world,” says researcher and journalist Tony Carnes. In introducing his guest, missionary and researcher Chris Clayman, in an interview published on his website A Journey through NYC Religions and his television show, Journey TV (July 9), Carnes notes that “there are more missionaries moving […]

American Hindus’ borrowing from Jewish playbook pays contested dividends

The long-term alliance between American Jews and Hindus on issues of religious freedom and discrimination has spilled over into related conflicts over Hindu nationalism and Zionism. As American Hindus have faced increasing criticism for their support of Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi and his Hindu nationalist government in recent years, they have taken a new […]

AI as a dehumanizing or desecularizing force?

The seemingly sudden public emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), especially in its recent incarnation of ChatGPT, has led to a good deal of speculation in both the secular and religious media. Various observers see the technology as speeding up secularization, creating new religions and spirituality, or even making space for a more human-based religiosity to […]

LGBTQ influence and acceptance drive mainline Protestant, Jewish changes

The greater acceptance and political support of the LGBTQ community is a source of growth as well as change in liberal religious groups, according to two reports. In the Jewish magazine Tablet (June 26), Erica Silverman reports that Reform Judaism has seen a significant increase in members and conversions to Judaism, especially in urban areas. […]

Spirituality and religion at work aims for more diversity and voice in business

During and after the pandemic and with continuing disaffiliation from religious institutions, many people have found spirituality at their workplaces, as a growing number of corporations are making room for the religious needs of their employees. Under “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) policies at many leading companies, new faith groups based around spiritual practices, interfaith […]

New books keep religious culture wars and racism concerns alive

While discussing politics, race, and religion may increasingly be seen as off-limits in a polarized society, religion publishers are not shying away from these culture-war issues. In Publishers Weekly (May 22), Cathy Lynn Grossman reports that upcoming titles “take on the trauma of racism past and present, the force of Christian nationalism, and the tensions […]

Death dreams as the new near-death-experience frontier

The “death dreams” of dying patients that are usually about being reunited with deceased loved ones are coming under new scrutiny from medical researchers and are viewed by chaplains as adding a new spiritual meaning to dying, writes Paul Lauritzen in the Catholic magazine Commonweal (April 23). While those claiming near-death experiences make up a […]

Under second generation’s influence, African immigrant churches turn to social action while keeping traditional identity

While African immigrant churches continue to expand in the West, second- and third-generation members are seeking to maintain African traditions while reaching out to the wider society with evangelism and social action, write Allison Norton and Caleb Opoku Nyanni in the International Bulletin of Mission Research (47:2). African immigrants who planted churches in the West […]