Thursday, March 29, 2018

Is Christianity Crumbling in America?

" ... the major new (2015) survey of more than 35,000 Americans by the Pew Research Center  finds that the percentage of adults (ages 18 and older) who describe themselves as Christians has dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years, from 78.4% in an equally massive Pew Research survey in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014."

How are Christians to understand the data from the newest Pew study on Christianity in America? 

As I've said before, Christianity is not dying; nominal Christianity is.
Today, Pew Research Center released a report drawing a variety of headlines—everything from "Christianity faces sharp decline as Americans are becoming even less affiliated with religion" to "Pew: Evangelicals Stay Strong as Christianity Crumbles in America." 
So what are we supposed to think of Christianity in America?
The big trends are clear, the nominals are becoming the nones, yet the convictional are remaining committed.

In other words, Americans whose Christianity was nominal—in name only—are casting aside the name. They are now aligning publicly with what they’ve actually not believed all along.

The percentage of convictional Christians remains rather steady, but because the nominal Christians now are unaffiliated the overall percentage of self-identified Christians is decline. This overall decline is what Pew shows—and I expect it to accelerate.
As I have said before, not one serious researcher thinks Christianity in America is dying.  What we see from Pew is not the death-knell of Christianity, but another indication that Christianity in America is being refined.

As such, let me share three takeaways from the data.

1. Convictional Christianity is rather steady.

Evangelicals are not the only people who call themselves Christians and a good proportion take it seriously, but since this is an evangelical publication, let me share some data from there with one caveat.
You might say that I have a vested interested in evangelicalism's success. However, as an author, the opposite is true. If I announced the death of evangelicalism and Christian faith, I'd sell a lot more books, I assure you.
But, facts are our friends and math is math, so let's take a look.
First, from 2007 to 2014 the number of evangelicals in America rose from 59.8 million to 62.2 million.
Evangelicals now make up a clear majority (55%) of all US Protestants. In 2007, 51 percent of US Protestants identified with evangelical churches.
Within Christianity, the only group retaining more of their population than the evangelical church is the historically black church.
One of the primary reasons it appears as though “American Christianity” is experiencing a sharp decline is because the nominals that once made up (disproportionately) Mainline Protestantism and Catholicism are now checking “none” on religious affiliation surveys.
Nominal Christians make up a higher percentage of Mainline Protestants and Catholics than any other denomination of Christian, and this is why their numbers continue to sharply decline.
For those who have only ever considered themselves “Christian” because they’ve been to church before, or because they aren’t Muslim or Hindu, it is starting to make more sense to check “none” on religious identification surveys.
Yet, church attendance rates (though overreported) are not changing substantially. (I will be writing more on that soon.)

2. There have been significant shifts within American Christianity.

One of the most notable shifts in American Christianity is the evangelicalization of church in America. Fifty percent of all Christians now self-identify as “evangelical” or “born again,” up from 44 percent in 2007. In 2007, 44 percent of American Christians, who made up 78 percent of the US population identified as evangelical. In 2014, 50 percent of American Christians, who make up 70 percent of the US population identify as evangelical.
Pew notes, “The evangelical Protestant tradition is the only major Christian group in the survey that has gained more members than it has lost through religious switching.”
It should be noted that evangelicals’ share of the overall US population dropped by 0.9 percent over the last seven years, but the percentage of US adults who self-identify as evangelical actually rose from 34 percent to 35 percent over the same period of time. The drop in population share is based on denominational affiliation, whereas the 1 percent increase is based on self-identification.
(I will be sharing more on practice soon, which will actually be a surprise to many.)
The percentage millennial evangelicals remained the same (21%) from 2007–2014. The only decline was among the Greatest Generation (28–25%), who, because of their age, are not a growth demographic. Every other one stayed the same as well.
Sixty-five percent of those raised evangelical remain evangelical (behind only Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, and Historically Black Protestant). Sixteen percent switched to another version of Christianity, 3 percent switched to another faith, and 15 percent became unaffiliated.
The only region where evangelicals decreased—the South (37–34%). It remained the same in the Northeast and Midwest, and grew in the West (20–22%).
That's not to say that evangelicalism is doing well—it peaked a couple of decades ago in the United States—but one of the big shifts inside Christianity is toward Evangelicalism, oddly enough. Yet, in the culture as a whole, and as a percentage of the population, Evangelicalism is losing ground.

3. Mainline Protestantism continues to hemorrhage.

Only 45 percent of those raised in the Mainline Protestant tradition remain in Mainline churches. Those whose parents and grandparents were mainline Protestants aren’t carrying on the family tradition like those who align with other Protestant denominations. Since members of these churches are not gaining new members from the culture at-large, nor growing by birth rates, they continue to decline precipitously.
Mainline Protestantism isn’t experiencing growth as a portion of Americans generally nor American Christianity specifically. If Mainline Protestantism continues its trajectory it is only a couple of generations from virtual extinction.
For more on this issue, read a recent blog post I wrote on 3 important church trends in the next 10 years.

So What?

Christianity isn’t dying and no research says it is; the statistics about Christians in America are simply starting to show a clearer picture of what American Christianity is becoming—less nominal, more defined, and more outside of the mainstream of American culture.
For example, the cultural cost of calling yourself “Christian” is starting to outweigh the cultural benefit, so those who do not identify as a “Christian” according to their convictions are starting to identify as “nones” because it’s more culturally savvy.
Because of this, the statistics show (on the surface) that Christianity in America is experiencing a sharp decline. However, that's the path of those who don't read beyond the surface. If there remains a relatively stable church-engaged, convictional minority, and there is a big movement on self-identification, that means that the middle is going away.
As the Pew Forum's Conrad Hackett explained (before this release of the data):
To some extent, this seems to be a phenomenon in which people with low levels of religious commitment are now more likely to identify as religiously unaffiliated, whereas in earlier decades such people would have identified as Christian, Jewish, or as part of some other religious group.
In short, and as I put it, the "nominals" are becoming the "nones" and convictional Christian practice is a minority, but generally stable, population. If that is the case, and that is what the data is showing, than the decline is primarily (not exclusively) that nominal Christians are becoming honest reporters.
So, Christians, we need not run around with our hands in the air and say, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”
Christianity is losing, and will continue to lose, its home field advantage; no one can (or should) deny this. However, the numerical decline of self-identified American Christianity is more of a purifying bloodletting than it is an arrow to the heart of the church.

Pew Report: America's Changing Religious Landscape

Nominals to Nones

Christian "decline"


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Whoa! Stock Valuation is UP!

 recent company email: The ESOP Trustee (GreatBanc Trust) has completed its annual valuation and determined the value of ___ Stock to be $5,108 per share, an increase of 30.7% from the previous valuation.  ___'s strong performance in 2017 and outlook for the future were key drivers, but other factors contributed as well.  These included a strong stock market, good performance by comparable companies, solid global economic conditions and the positive effects of the recent change in U.S. Tax rates.

The value of ___ Stock in participants' accounts in both the ___ Legacy Stock and ___ ESOP Leveraged Stock Funds, has been adjusted by Vanguard to reflect this new price.  In addition, ___ has made the necessary contributions to the ESOP Trust for Plan year 2017 and a new allocation of ___ Stock will be made to the ___ ESOP Leveraged Stock Fund accounts of all eligible KSOP participants based on the new stock value.   Both the stock price change and the new contributions will be visible in participant accounts by March 30th.

Congratulations to our Team Member Owners!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Bathroom Renovation: Ceramic Tile Samples Ordered

Ordered samples at $4.99 a piece. They are meant for the wall tile behind the tub -- the accent wall. I am obviously drawn to mosaic-style tiles.  The various designs are on one tile.


Hydraulic Tile




Friday, March 23, 2018

Girl's Shock at Dog's Haircut by Groomer

Awww, poor thing.  Kids certainly wear their heart on their sleeves. There is no denying that the young girl is very upset.  Even the  dog knows it. Someone tell the little girl that the fur will grow back very quickly with the passage of time.

Recently, we've taken to cutting/grooming our dogs here at home.  

We save money:  $45 a pop at Groomers (plus tip) vs one-time-purchase of $30 for grooming kit. 

 It takes no talent to use clippers and/or cut for evenness.  There are no unpleasant surprises.  The tricky part is keeping the dog calm and still.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Decor Advice for the Novice

Lord willing, we are going to completely renovate our two bathrooms, re-do all of our floorings (except the bedrooms), replace our Roof, and maybe tear down a wall and re-do our entire kitchen. Talk about fear, numbness, and paralyzing indecision on my part!  Added to the mix is the inability of our busy Contractor to give us a firm starting date other than "...sometime at the end of April".  

 We must also make room in our packed-to-the-rafters home to accommodate the boxes and boxes of supplies and parts that will eventually be delivered.  What to keep, what to throw away, what to donate?!!  And dogs --- the bark at any and all strangers/noise variety -- I have 3 of those, eeeek.

pretty tiles & toenails

A very good hint from Domino Magazine:

"Hi! Melissa from @thefauxmartha here with inspiration for adding character to a new build.  To build something out of nothing is an amazing experience.  But it's also stressful from the sheer amount of decisions you have to make -- to everything from window selection to trim height to door hinges.  Don't be afraid to scale back and go simple.  A quote I live by from Leonard Koren: 'Pare down to the essence, but don't remove the poetry."

In my case: for each room that is to be renovated, I choose one or two essentials; things that I really, really like; at prices that aren't too excessive.  Then, I'll encourage hubby to decide on the rest.  He knows what I basically want (nothing tooooo ugly). He'll find them quickly and most likely at a bargain price. He's good at that.  Tada! My stress level will remain within normal range, and he'll feel like the boss-man that he thinks he is, ha!

Of "essence" to me at the moment:

1.  A modern light fixture I've had my eye on for 2 years; pricey, but discounted.

2. Patterned ceramic floor tiles for one of the bathroom floors at a price (89 cents each) that didn't break the bank. I needed 17 boxes of these. They will be installed in a random pattern which is quite popular nowadays.

3. Free-standing Tub


Monday, March 19, 2018

Colorado: Cannabis/Marijuana Use 5 Years Later

Last week (November 2017) marked the fifth anniversary of Colorado's decision to sanction the world's first anything-goes commercial pot trade.
Five years later, we remain an embarrassing cautionary tale.
Visitors to Colorado remark about a new agricultural smell, the wafting odor of pot as they drive near warehouse grow operations along Denver freeways. Residential neighborhoods throughout Colorado Springs reek of marijuana, as producers fill rental homes with plants.
Five years of retail pot coincide with five years of a homelessness growth rate that ranks among the highest rates in the country. Directors of homeless shelters and people who live on the streets tell us homeless substance abusers migrate here for easy access to pot.
Five years of Big Marijuana ushered in a doubling in the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for marijuana, based on research by the pro-legalization Denver Post.

Five years of commercial pot have been five years of more marijuana in schools than teachers and administrators ever feared.
"An investigation by Education News Colorado, Solutions and the I-News Network shows drug violations reported by Colorado's K-12 schools have increased 45 percent in the past four years, even as the combined number of all other violations has fallen," explains an expose on escalating pot use in schools by Rocky Mountain PBS in late 2016.
The investigation found an increase in high school drug violations of 71 percent since legalization. School suspensions for drugs increased 45 percent.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found Colorado ranks first in the country for marijuana use among teens, scoring well above the national average.
The only good news to celebrate on this anniversary is the dawn of another organization to push back against Big Marijuana's threat to kids, teens and young adults.
The Marijuana Accountability Coalition formed Nov. 6 in Denver and will establish satellites throughout the state. It resulted from discussions among recovery professionals, parents, physicians and others concerned with the long-term effects of a commercial industry profiteering off of substance abuse.
"It's one thing to decriminalize marijuana, it's an entirely different thing to legalize an industry that has commercialized a drug that is devastating our kids and devastating whole communities," said coalition founder Justin Luke Riley. "Coloradans need to know, other states need to know, that Colorado is suffering from massive normalization and commercialization of this drug which has resulted in Colorado being the number one state for youth drug use in the country. Kids are being expelled at higher rates, and more road deaths tied to pot have resulted since legalization."
Commercial pot's five-year anniversary is an odious occasion for those who want safer streets, healthier kids and less suffering associated with substance abuse. Experts say the worst effects of widespread pot use will culminate over decades. If so, we can only imagine the somber nature of Big Marijuana's 25th birthday.

-- Colorado Springs Gazette

Saturday, March 17, 2018

RITUALS Brand Cosmetics

Got more gifts of RITUALS cosmetic items.  Love the various aroma (though it is my goal to wean myself of any ingredients containing perfume). My daughters cannot get enough of these goodies. The source/ enabler has been my DIL, Barb, who says that RITUALS is a favourite among European women. 
 BTW, Barb now also happens to be the "source" of something far, far better: our new grandchild.  The baby will be born towards the end of Summer, God willing. We are ecstatic.  Thank You, Jesus!

Turning routines into RITUALS

a. Reviews

b. Reviews

c. Reviews

d. Reviews

e. Reviews


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Physicist Albert Einstein's Birthday

Today's post is in honor of Albert Einstein's date of birth, March 14, 1879.  His intellectual abilities go far above what I possess; his writings I can not say I completely grasp. He was one, smart man! Here are a couple of his quotes that I'd read recently that I *do* understand. 

God doesn't play dice with the universe.

The lot is cast into the lap;
but the whole disposing thereof 
is of the LORD
(Proverbs 16:33)

If I were not a Physicist, I would be a Musician ...

denaturing Plutonium
intelligent children

DENATURE (verb) -- destroy the characteristic properties of (a protein or other biological macromolecule) by heat, acidity, or other effects that disrupt its molecular conformation.


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Happy Birthday, Songwriter Neil Sedaka!

Oh! Carol is my favorite song by Mr Neil Sedaka  because:

1. My mom's name was Carol, and I can imagine her enjoying this catchy tune during her youth in the 1950s

2. The song is about the great songwriter, Carole King, whom Mr Sedaka dated while still in high school.

3.  Daughter recently saw a performance of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical


Monday, March 12, 2018

A Cure for Malaria

This Simple
 Dye Is Our
 Best Bet to Finally


New research has shown the dye methylene blue kills malaria parasites at an unparalleled rate and is safe for human use.
In the recent study, which was conducted in Mali by scientists at Radboud University Medical Centre, the University of California (UCSF), and the Malaria Research and Training Centre (MRTC), malaria patients were treated with a combination of the blue dye and artemisinin-based combination therapy (a fairly standard treatment).
Within two days, the patients were cured of malaria and were also no longer able to transmit malaria parasites if they were bitten by a mosquito again.

The research, which will be published in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases this week (February 2018), marks a significant breakthrough in the treatment of malaria.
Malaria parasites are growing increasingly resistant to existing drug treatments.
When they are effective, current medications still do not prevent the spread of parasites - meaning that even if a patient's symptoms are treated successfully, when they are bitten by another species of mosquito that spreads malaria, it could transmit the disease to someone else.
Malaria can still be transmitted from a person to a mosquito for at least a week using traditional treatment methods.
Malarial parasites stay in an infected person's blood for a long time, and while they're there they split into gametocytes - male and female sex cells.
When a new mosquito comes along and bites an infected person, they suck in those gametocytes in the person's blood.

In the new mosquito, they become fertilised, and when the mosquito bites someone else, the cycle continues, spreading the parasites.
With the addition of the blue dye, researchers saw that they could stop transmission of the parasite in just two days.
Teun Bousema (Radboudumc), who coordinated the study, explained in the team's press release that its ability to prevent the spread of the disease so quickly is what makes methylene blue so promising.
Bousema added that the treatment also seems to work well "in species that are resistant to certain medicines".
The researchers have noted just one side effect of using the blue dye.
"I have used it myself," Bousema said "and it turns your urine bright blue. This is something that we need to solve because it could stop people from using it."
While the side effect may be strange and could be alarming if patients weren't aware that it could happen, it doesn't appear to be harmful.
As Bousema pointed out, if researchers aren't able to suppress the dye's effect on urine, providers who use the treatment will need to communicate the possible side effect, its cause, and explain that it isn't a cause for concern in order to assure it doesn't dissuade patients from starting or completing treatment.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), each year around the world 212 million people contract malaria and an estimated 429, 000 die.
wikipedia: distribution of malaria in the world

The group of people that most often die as a result of malaria infection are children, specifically those living in Africa.
While preventative measures like insecticides and mosquito nets have helped reduce the number of annual deaths by nearly half in the last decade, the spread of malaria continues to take lives.
The new treatment shows promise, and although there are still a few small hurdles (such as the blue urine) that need to be worked out before the dye would become widely available for treatment purposes, having another treatment - especially one that helps prevent the spread of the parasite - could certainly contribute to our goal of eliminating malaria once and for all.
This article was originally published by Futurism. Read the original article.

Treatment for Malaria

Dye for Malaria

Mosquito-Bourne Disease