A new Pew Research Center poll has found that a majority of American Catholics believe Pope Francis is ushering in positive changes for the Church, but he hasn’t actually caused them to change their behavior. About 85% of Catholic polled have a favorable opinion of the leader, with 71% saying his shift in Vatican direction is improving things for the Church. However, when it comes to actually expressing their faith—through attending mass, going to confession or volunteering—little has changed. Rev. Thomas Reese, a senior analyst at The National Catholic Reporter told The New York Times that though the numbers aren’t exactly positive, the fact the church isn’t losing members could be an indication of Pope Francis’ positive influence: “This could be interpreted as showing that Francis has had no impact. On the other hand, since church attendance has been declining since the 1950s, the fact that it did not go down could be considered a victory” ... Discuss
Slices | March 7, 2014
Presbyterian pastor and graphic designer Joseph Novak has created a series of minimalistic posters that offer cool looking, stripped-down, symbolic interpretations of each book of the Bible. On his website, Novak describes the ‘Minimum Bible’ as a way to “rely on simple symbolic shapes to introduce us to themes beyond the text.” Though some of the imagery (like a colorful harp used for Psalms) is an obvious connection to the text, others are intentionally more difficult to figure out. Novak says on his site, “The Minimum Bible is not trying to replace the Bible. Rather, it serves as a sort of visual diving board back into the text.” Each of the designs are available for purchase as cards or posters ... Discuss
San Francisco Bay Area's Menlo Park Presbyterian is one of the country's largest Presbyterian churches. Or, it was, until members voted to leave the denomination—and pay the $8.89 million cost for doing so—and join a new, fast-rising denomination called ECO, A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. The church is about four thousand members strong, and is led by well-known pastor and author John Ortberg. The church's reasons for leaving were lengthy, involving differences in mission, identity and core theology.
“This is a major milestone, and not an ending but a beginning," Ortberg wrote. "There’s a lot yet to come of what Dallas Willard called the unique life of spiritual adventure in living with God daily — entering fully into the good news that Jesus has brought, for ourselves, and for us as a church" ... Discuss