As homelessness surges, could churches be used as crisis accommodation?
By Ashleigh Barraclough
A growing number of churches are teaming up in their local areas to provide beds for the homeless in winter, with a group of ministers in north-west Tasmania hoping to create a blueprint for others.
Palestinian Christians cancel the celebration of a joyous Christmas, given the genocide Israel is perpetrating in Gaza.
Statement by the churches: https://elcjhl.org/patriarchs-and-heads-of-churches-in-jerusalem-statement-on-the-celebration-of-advent-and-christmas-in-the-midst-of-the-war
Screenshots attached of a newsletter from the ELCJHL explaining the decision.
What will international media say, that normally include broadcasts from Bethlehem at Christmas: will they report this accurately?
Maybe the UK should ban lightning rods as being out of character too? Churches should use purely prayer based measures to protect, heat, and power themselves.
My selective beliefs are better than yours.
I don't think Christian Churches are facing enough persecution today.
That's why they have time to spew the hate that they do. Silence them.
Who really wants special status?
The Southern Baptist Convention wants to allow workplace discrimination related to abortion, sexual orientation and gender identity views.
https://baptistnews.com/article/sbc-ethics-agency-opposes-eeoc-guidance-on-what-constitutes-workplace-harassment/ #Churches #Church #Christ #Christian #Hate #Biblical #ideology
"A recent survey by Lifeway Research found that 52 percent of American churchgoing Protestants say their church teaches God will bless them if they give more money to their church and charities. That figure is up from 38 percent of churchgoers in 2017."
And, as Elle Hardy reports, at the same time, the prosperity gospel now dominating the thought of many US churchgoers is increasingly blaming the poor for being poor.
A small and historic church that is located in Doyle, California. #BuyIntoArt #Art #ThomZehrfeldPhotography #PhotographyIsArt #Photography #Fotografie
#ArtForSale #ArtMatters #MastoArt #Mastodon #ArtforInteriorDesign #HospitalityInteriors
#InteriorDesign #Wallart #InteriorDecorating #WallArtForSale #oldchurch #church #architecture #churches #oldchurches #churcharchitecture #California #churchphotography #churchesoftheworld #churchlovers
"As Southern Baptists and other evangelicals rally support for Israel in its retaliatory war with Hamas, they are outliers compared to most other Christian groups in America — from Quakers to Catholics.
Other denominations and religious leaders have expressed more nuanced statements calling for an end to violence perpetuated by both Hamas and Israel."
~ Mark Wingfield
"Public Religion Research released a survey on faith and concern for the climate revealing that, among U.S. religious groups, no single faith community exceeds one-third of its adherents viewing Earth’s current situation as a 'crisis.' That’s right. We are living through the hottest year ever experienced by humankind — and only a minority of religious folks think this is a problem."
~ Diana Butler Bass
“'Stampede' may be an exaggerated word for the exodus out of the church in America, but no one can escape the reality. A date has been attached: 2070, the projected date when there will be more non-Christians than Christians in our nation. …
I want to take seriously the spirituality of those outside the church and outside the category of religious faith and belief."
~ Stephen Shoemaker
Really interesting report on the growing numbers of #students working part-time, and how that risks worsening inequalities. I had a student grant, and lived at home when a student in the 1980s. It would have been difficult to work part time as I also had to do extra work in #churches as part of my training. Apparently #UK #universities are now advertising part time jobs for their students- something I never came across until I heard about it in my final year in the US/...
"When we see and hear the phrase 'welcoming,' it tells us that we are allowed to come to church and sit in the pews but not have any meaningful participation in the life of the church. If we do happen to attend, people might not be outwardly mean to us (although that does happen), (but) some people may still be praying for us to be healed from our queerness."
~ Shylo Rosborough
"We’ve all heard how everyone’s equal at the foot of the Cross. That doesn’t seem to apply to LGBTQ+ people, however, according to many Christians. In fact, the disgust and hatred of LGBTQ+ people among many Christians (are) so great that they eagerly accept, tell, create and repeat lies and falsehoods about the queer community and work actively to limit, roll back and deny civil and human rights to (them)."
~ Susan Shaw
Beautiful historic churches to visit in Kansas City, Missouri
Beautiful historical catholic churches to visit in Montreal, Quebec
Title of John Pavlovitz's latest posting at his blog:
"Don’t Feel Guilty for Leaving The Evangelical Church. Jesus Has."
Right now millions of good, faithful people are sobering-up and realizing that they have been lied to. The scales are coming off of their eyes, and they are beginning to see that what they believed was Christ’s church, has morphed into something quite terrible."
Protestant and orthodox historical churches to visit in Montreal, Canada
"The [recent] PRRI survey [about mainline Protestants] finds that mainline clergy are more supportive than their congregations of LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws, more likely to oppose the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and less likely to believe the U.S. is in danger of losing its culture and identity."
"Nearly a quarter of Americans say they used to follow a different religious tradition or denomination than the one they practice now — a percentage that keeps growing.
The jump in religion-switching comes as many Americans say they no longer believe in their initial religion's teachings — or, in many cases, disagree with a religion's stance against LGBTQ+ people."
~ Russell Contreras
“The Trump years unleashed the willingness of many who call themselves Christian to lie about all manner of things if it meant achieving their goals, one of which seems to be the eradication of queer people, especially if they’re people of color, poor, old, disabled and disenfranchised.”
“The church has no problem telling lies if it works to advance their political ambitions, and we see now the extent of Christian nationalist desire for a theocracy rooted in white supremacist, patriarchal values which have nothing to do with the gospel and everything to do with power."
~ Susan Shaw
"Centuries of complicity in violence and oppression, followed by denial and repression, have taken their toll. Across the board, attendance is dramatically declining, seminaries are closing or merging, Christian colleges are struggling, and churches are facing widespread sexual abuse scandals."
"I’ve thought a lot about James Baldwin’s description of White people, and I believe this particularly applies to White Christian people, as the 'slightly mad victims of their own brainwashing.' No one can look at the current state of White Christian churches and other institutions and make a serious argument that they are healthy."
~ Robert P. Jones
“More people have left the church in the last twenty-five years than all the new people who became Christians from the First Great Awakening, Second Great Awakening, and Billy Graham crusades combined."
~ Jim Davis and Michael Graham, The Great Dechurching
Hmm: I wonder precisely what might be spurring that exodus, which has grown even larger after 80% of white evangelicals and 60% of white Catholics and Mormons elected Trump in 2016?
Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa – the capital of the Roman province of Dacia
Sarmizegetusa Regia, the capital of the Dacian Kingdom
History of #Worcester, #Massachusetts, with historical tourist attractions
The modern history of #ShetlandIslands, with museums and other historical tourist attractions
Llangelynnin (old) church, Conwy.
A holy well within the grounds dates from the 6th century, probably the date of the first church. Earliest part of the existing building is late 14th century, with elements from the 15th and 16th centuries.
"To people waking on a Sunday morning in March to the prospect of the fiftieth straight sunless day, struggling to maintain a sense of purpose, reaching for phones on which millionaires and Tik Tok influencers pump alternate lifestyles and alternate facts into cortexes, the megachurches offer real community around a vengeful God who hates commies,"
"It’s always us versus them at the megachurches. So many white American Christians, arguably the best defended human beings on planet Earth, have been brainwashed into thinking of themselves as one election away from facing lions in the Roman colosseum.
Guns are practically sacramental in this worldview."
~ Nina Burleigh
2. The Gospel According to James Baldwin: What America's Great Prophet Can Teach Us about Life, Love, and Identity, by Greg Garrett
3. The Urgency of Indigenous Values, by Phillip Arnold
4. Defending Democracy from Its Christian Enemies, by David Gushee
5. The Exvangelicals: Loving, Living, and Leaving the White Evangelical Church, by Sarah McCammon
At his White Too Long site today, Robert P. Jones highlights books being released this fall that he recommends, in addition to his own The Hidden Roots of White Supremacy and the Path to a Shared American Future:
1. American Idolatry: How Christian Nationalism Betrays the Gospel and Threatens the Church, by Andrew Whitehead
"'So when you show up at events, take over, center yourself and promote your organization, you need to realize that MANY people are triggered and harmed just by your BRAND.'”
Amber Wylde adds,
"It’s true that many people, not just LGBTQ people, have walked away from the church — especially over the last seven to 10 years. Whether it’s LGBTQ inclusion, the election of Trump, the SBC fallout or the pandemic, there has been a mass exodus from Christianity in recent years."
As a friend of Mark Wingfield says,
'No matter how welcoming, affirming, accepting, loving and wonderfully incredible you and your particular church are, the BRAND that you cling to as part of your name isn’t. In fact, you represent an organization called CHURCH, that has a clear and consistent 2,000-year history of abuse and control.'"
Mark Wingfield reports on a recent dialogue he had with Amber Wylde about how the churches preach love and talk about God is love, but in effect in all too many instances, communicate that God is full of rage and hatred directed against LGBTQ people.
And this is not lost on LGBTQ people and those who love them, for whom the very word "church" is increasingly a trigger.
"but a majority of those who have made such a change (56%) say it was because they stopped believing in their former religion’s teachings. Another 30% indicate they were turned off by the religion’s negative teachings about or treatment of LGBTQ people, 29% say their family was never that religious growing up, 27% say they were disillusioned by scandals involving leaders in their former religion,
"As the United States becomes more religiously diverse and Americans become more likely to identify as religiously unaffiliated (27% as of 2023), a growing number of people are departing from their previously held religious traditions. PRRI’s Health of Congregations survey finds that people’s reasons for switching to a new religious tradition or denomination vary, "
"In a new report, we show how #municipal ##planning agencies, parks departments, local #health agencies, community-based organizations like #churches and nonprofits, multiple state agencies, #hospitals, public health professionals and #emergency response personnel, as well as individuals and families, can play a vital role in reducing risk."
It's absolutely not accidental — or beside the point — that the January 6 insurrection attempt was filled with wall-to-wall Christian symbolism, crosses everywhere you turned, people blaring Christian prayers on bullhorns, the Christian flag (whatever that is) marched into the Capitol beside the Confederate battle flag.
The problem here needs to be faced squarely, not evaded or minimized.
It's easy to pretend that this is a "bad Christian" problem, this penchant for dressing up white supremacist ideas in Christian garb and voting accordingly — while "good Christians" don't behave that way.
But the data, vis-a-vis voting patterns and professed beliefs of white Christians in the US across the board suggest there's a problem embedded in white Christianity itself, and that this problem has long been there.
Hence the votes of over half of US white Christians across the board — not just evangelicals, but also mainline Protestants and Catholics — for Donald Trump. Twice. In two elections.
And what will white Christians do with the following observation from Jones's article?
That research is readily available in his books The End of White Christian America and White Too Long.
As he notes, it's easy for white US Christians who don't hew to the right-wing evangelical line to pretend that the problem he's identifying exists ONLY among white evangelicals.
But solid empirical evidence shows white US Christians in general strongly committed to white supremacist ideology, and voting accordingly.
"Both historical analysis and contemporary public opinion data demonstrate that such anti-democratic views regularly find a comfortable home among white Christians — not only among white evangelical Protestant Christians but also among white non-evangelical/mainline Protestants and white Catholics."
Note the stress on historical analysis and contemporary public opinion data. Jones's statement is backed by substantial research.
Robert P. Jones's statement about how white Christian churches in the US incubate anti-democratic sentiment has now appeared in Baptist News Global. I shared excerpts of it a day or so ago from his White Too Long substack site.
As I read Jones's statement again, I wonder what white US Christians intend to do with research-based findings like this:
Trio of Texas Churches Donated to Political Candidate Despite Clear IRS Prohibition
The law prohibits churches from endorsing political candidates, but in a City Council race already beset by claims of church electioneering, one candidate in #Abilene said three #churches made an honest mistake by donating to his campaign and that he is returning the money.
New from @JeremySchwartz & Jessica Priest
Many of the books had been seized from synagogues, churches, and library shelves. The heavy involvement of seminary students and their professors in this book-burning event orchestrated by storm troopers is discussed by Charles Marsh in his Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (NY: Knopf, 2014), p. 174.
So here, weirdly, I agree with the Guardian’s egregious Simon Jenkins: local communities should assume control over these underutilized #churches and convert them to what I call “Lifehouses”: they should be fitted out as decentralized shelters for the unhoused, storehouses for emergency food stocks (rotated through an attached food bank), and distributed water-purification, power-generation and agriculture sites capable of supporting the local neighborhood. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/apr/07/decline-churchgoing-english-churches-level-up
"Activities where Muslims visit non-Muslim houses of worship such as #temples, #churches, and #gurdwaras to learn about these #religions apart from their own should be rejected and restricted, the #Selangor #Islamic Religious Council (Mais) said today."