The Satanic Temple continues to mine the worst tricks from church subculture in what is either a misguided effort to win new followers or an attempt at parody. In either case, they're capitalizing on an Orange County ruling last year that allows religious adherents to hand out pamphlets at schools. The ruling came at the behest of a Christian group called The World Changers of Florida, but cracked the door for the Satanic Temple to distribute their own literature. And children's Satanic literature is, as you might expect, interesting. As with a lot of material from the Satanic Temple, it's not entirely clear how much is genuine and how much is self-parody, but don't expect kids to be able to tell the difference either ... Discuss
According to new research from Duke University’s Mark Chaves, several kinds of Christian worship experiences—including speaking in tongues—are on the rise among American churchgoers. As The Atlantic explains:
Since Chaves and his team started tracking these trends in 1998, the portion of congregations that see hand-waving during services has increased by 11 percentage points; spontaneous jumping, shouting, or singing has increased by 9 percentage points; and speaking in tongues has increased by 5 percentage points.
Commenting on his National Congregations Study, Chaves told the outlet that the current trend in American religion is for worship and church experiences that are “more emotionally engaging, not just intellectually engaging” ... Discuss
Last Friday, we put together a list of ideas for your next Christian tattoo, and a few ideas to avoid. It was all in good fun, but that was last Friday, and the game done changed. We don't know much about who has this exquisite Pope Francis tattoo but, according to Tumblr, he's a Dallas resident named Ash with an affection for Doctor Who, Sherlock and killer tattoos. Ash, we aficionados of great Christian tattoos salute you ... Discuss
Leadership Network and Vanderbloemen are releasing what they claim to be "by far the biggest-scale, cross-denominational response anyone has ever collected about church finances.” Specifically, they interviewed 727 megachurches about how they spend their finances, and the report has some interesting findings, all of which are free to download here. Among the findings: A little under half of a church's annual income typically goes to staff, with senior pastors making at least 30 percent more than the next highest paid staffer. The biggest determiner of pastor salaries, by far, is the size of the church—race, theology and even age of the pastor had no appreciable bearing on on their income.
One interesting, perhaps unexpected finding: one of the biggest determiners of a church's growth is, increasingly, a children's pastor. Treat your children's pastors accordingly ... Discuss