Thinking Out Loud

January 27, 2014

Google Doesn’t Lie, Does It?

This just in: People think Mormons are hot!  But they also think Buddah is fat, which somehow seems politically incorrect.

Sarah Pulliam Bailey is a former writer for Christianity Today who now lends her talents to Religion News Service. As a religion writer you’d think she’d know better than to play the Google game; the one where you type in a key word to see how Google auto-completes it. Or would she? Perhaps she trusts her reporter’s instincts that Google doesn’t lie, and that the commonly asked search criteria reflect both the perception and the reality of how religious groups are viewed.  So here’s what she posted on Twitter last night:

Why is…

Christianity: important?
Islam: so strict?
Hinduism: polytheistic?
Buddhism: important?
Catholicism: important?
Mainline Protestantism: declining?
Evangelicalism: on the rise?
Pentecostalism: so popular?
Jesus: white?
Muhammad: called the seal of the prophets?
Hare Krisha: a cult?
Buddha: fat?

Why are…

Baptists: in the south?
Methodists: liberal?
Presbyterians: called the frozen chosen?
Episcopalians: rich?
Evangelicals: turning Catholic?
Atheists: so angry?
Jehovah’s Witnesses: so nice?
Mormons: so hot?

Evangelicals are turning Catholic? That’s news to me. Unfortunately for you, what follows is merely a screenshot, you’ll have to do the search yourself. I did both the regular web search, and a separate one using Google Blog Search. And finally, I’m ashamed to say, I did a Google Images search for “hot Mormons” and “hot Mormon.”

I don’t want to talk about it.

Why Are Evangelicals Turning Catholic

January 5, 2013

Five Reasons to Church Hop This Week

Filed under: Church — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:01 am

Church HoppingHey! I didn’t write this. Maybe I wish I had. Credit goes to Kirra at the blog Thoughtful. (Click the title to link.) While some people consider church-hopping to be some type of rampant plague or scourge, the point is that most people are very faithful to their faith family week-in, week-out. This was written to encourage them just to one-time consider a one-off visit somewhere else. Is that such a bad thing?

5 Reasons Why You Should Attend a Different Church Next Week

If you’ve been attending the same church for more than a year or two, it might be time to visit another church next Sunday.  This isn’t a permanent change but just one Sunday to do something different.

When we go to the same church for years, we get comfortable.  We know the people, we know the songs, and we know the church.  This isn’t a bad thing, but it is good for us to leave what makes us comfortable once in a while.  There are many good reasons to visit a different church once in a while. Here are five.

1.  Remember what it was like to be a guest.  If you’ve been attending the same church for a long time, you may not remember well what it is like to attend a church for the first time.  You don’t know anyone.  You don’t know if the place you chose to sit if that space is someone’s “spot.”  Will they serve communion?  How will they serve communion?  Will you know any of the songs they sing?  When you visit a new church and then come back to your home church, hopefully you will find yourself more sensitive to those who are attending your church for the first time.

2.  Appreciate a different style of worship.  If your church sings hymns, try one that has a praise band.  This is not just about music; if your home church is casual, try out a church that is a little more formal or liturgical.  Put on a tie or a dress.  Church can be done in many different ways; you don’t have to love the new style, but learn to appreciate the different ways the church worships.

3.  Get a different perspective.  If you’ve been listening to the same one or two preachers for a while, listen to someone else’s teaching.  You might not agree with everything they say, but sometimes the best way to sharpen your beliefs is to consider the ideas that you disagree with.  On the other hand, you might learn something that you find rings true that you’ve not heard taught before.  Just be sure to weigh carefully what you hear, whether at new churches or your home church.

4.  See what other churches are doing.  Observe their methods, programs, and activities.  How do they do Sunday School?  Do they order the service in a way that seems more conducive to worship?  If you see something you especially like that you think could work at your church, approach the leadership and humbly offer your suggestion.

5.  Recognize the body of Christ is all over the world and all over your city.  The people at the church you choose to visit may be strangers, but we are all going to be sharing heaven together.  Christ only has one body.

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