Racially friendly denominations may surprise you

A sociologist tested what denominations were most open to new people from different races.  His team sent e-mails purportedly from whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians to different churches, asking the pastors about attending their church.

Evangelicals overwhelmingly answered the e-mails and encouraged the new people, of whatever race, to attend.   Mainline liberal denominations, on the other hand, for all of their emphasis on social justice, were not nearly so welcoming.  Catholics didn’t do so well either.

Interestingly, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, classified with the “evangelicals,” came in at second place in welcoming people of different races (after Willow Creek).  The much more liberal Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, however, came in third from the bottom.

Why do you think this is?

HT:  tODD

[Read more...]

Searching for the Church

Patheos has a blog called The Evangelical Pulpit that posts a wide range of material and that you can actually contribute to.  (I urge you to put together a submission if you have something pertinent to say.)  One of my prized students, Nick Barden, has written a post about his search for a church and a theological tradition. And, more broadly, for the “church Catholic,” how the different traditions all fit together.

He treats Baptists, Pentecostals, Calvinists, Lutherans, and Catholics, and is quite fair and illuminating about them all.  He “gets” some important facets about Lutheranism, though perhaps not completely.  I quote from his post after the jump, but you really need to read the whole thing from the beginning. [Read more...]

Church competition

More from Methodist minister Morgan Guyton’s post entitled “Six Ways that Capitalism Fails the Church.”  He discusses competition between churches, the way churches “with bling” take members away from churches “without bling.” [Read more...]

Moralistic consumerism

Methodist minister Morgan Guyton has written a post entitled “Six Ways that Capitalism Fails the Church.”  His main point has to do not so much with free market economics as with the way the marketing and consumer mentality is distorting how churches operate.  I don’t agree with a great deal of what he says, but after the jump, I quote him on what he calls “moralistic consumerism.” [Read more...]

Churches, sects, denominations, and non-denominations

Sociologist of religion Peter Berger (an ELCA Lutheran) discusses the phenomenon of the Sunday Assembly, which we blogged about yesterday.  He said the fact that atheists too are gathering together following the pattern of religious activities demonstrates the almost universal human need to worship (or the equivalent) and to join together with others who hold common religious or philosophical convictions.

In the course of his discussion, he draws on older sociologists who distinguish between different kinds of religious institutions:  a church (which a person is born into) and a sect (which a person chooses to join).  Such a distinction, it seems to me, grows out of the European state church.  American religion, according to Dr. Berger, has added the concept of the denomination, which a person may be born into or choose freely to join.  Dr. Berger further says that denominations of one sort or another–in the sense of “a community of value, religious or otherwise,” have become inevitable in America, extending even to atheists.

After the jump, read his argument and some questions I have about “non-denominational” churches.  [Read more...]


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