Odds and Ends are letters covering important topics that do not necessarily require a whole article.
WHY ARE WOMEN LEAVING THE CHURCH?
Women have always attended church at higher rates than men, but that may be changing. From 2003 to 2019, women’s attendance dropped from 48 percent to 31 percent.
In that same period, men’s church attendance dropped from 37 percent to 31 percent, meaning that women have left their churches at nearly three times the rate of men. We know that church attendance has been dropping in general for years, but what’s going on with women in particular? And can we get them back?
According to Kate Harris’s book Wonder Women, a deep dive into the lives and habits of Christian women, 72 percent feel stressed out, 58 percent are tired, and 48 percent say they are overcommitted. For those with children at home, the numbers are even higher. Still, 88 percent of these same women say the area of their lives they’d like to improve most is their faith (pastorresources.com).
BIDEN SAYS EFFORTS TO RESTRICT GENDER SURGERIES ‘CLOSE TO SINFUL’
President Joe Biden made an appearance on a recent episode of “The Daily Show,” where he was interviewed by actor Kal Penn and stated that any efforts to place restrictions on transgender surgeries for children in the state of Florida was “close to sinful,” before going on to make the suggestion that laws should be passed at the federal level to protect those rights across the country (patriotinsider.org).
RICHARD DAWKINS DECLARES THERE ARE ONLY TWO SEXES AS MATTER OF SCIENCE:’THAT’S ALL THERE IS TO IT.’
During a recent interview with British journalist Piers Morgan, famed atheist and biologist Richard Dawkins declared that “there are two sexes, and that’s all there is to it.” He added that LGBTQ activists looking to discredit the reality of two biological sexes are pushing “utter nonsense.” Dawkins further noted that those going after Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling for her commitment to the reality of two sexes are “bullies” (foxnews.com).
BY BLESSINGS SIN, THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND WILL KEEP PEOPLE FROM GOD
The decision late last week by the Church of England to now bless civil marriages and partnerships of same-sex couples made precisely no one happy. For those hoping to amend official church teaching, the measure fell short of legitimizing so-called gay marriage in the church. Advocates of historic church teaching and Biblical morality see this move as only the latest in the wrong direction by the Church of England, and another indictment of church leadership, especially the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York.
The Archbishop of Uganda is representative of Anglican church leadership from the global south. For these leaders, these issues are not that complicated: “Jesus does not change his mind about what is sinful. Instead, Jesus gives us a way out of a bondage to sin by putting our trust and faith in him as our Saviour and Lord. That’s why it’s possible for us to ‘Go, and sin no more.’ Whenever a church, Christian leader, denomination, or pastor shifts on the issues of sexuality, gender, and marriage, an excuse is given that masquerades as an argument: Traditional morality is keeping people away from God. Missed in this claim is not only what God has clearly revealed through Scripture about sexual morality and created norms, but who He has revealed Himself to be in Christ Jesus. Simply put, this move will be branded as more welcoming. In reality, it only further alienates people from God” (breakpoint.org).
WHAT PERCENTAGE OF CHRISTIANS ARE SATISFIED WITH THEIR CHURCH?
Every church has its share of unhappy people, and sometimes, their feedback can drown out other voices. Here’s an encouraging finding for the church at large: Nearly seven in 10 Christians say it is ‘mostly true’ or ‘very true’ that they are satisfied with their church (barna.com).
NEW UN-BACKED LEGAL RECOMMENDATIONS NORMALIZE SEX WITH MINORS
A shocking report issued by international legal experts with the backing of the United Nations appears to open the floodgates to normalize sex with minors.
“Sexual conduct involving persons below the domestically prescribed minimum age of consent to sex may be consensual in fact, if not in law,” the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists wrote in March with an assist from UNAIDS and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (foxnews.com).
MOST CHURCHGOERS STILL BELIEVE THEY SHOULD TITHE
Tithing to religious organizations is still a widespread standard among churchgoers, but how and where they give is changing.
According to a new study by Lifeway Research, more than three fourths of American Protestant churchgoers think tithing is a biblical command that still applies today (77%), down from 83% in 2017. Ten percent say they don’t believe tithing is a biblical command, and 13% say they are uncertain (ministrywatch.com).
DOCTOR-ASSISTED SUICIDE FOR ANOREXIA?
Recently, Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani, a Colorado doctor of internal medicine, published a paper in which she advocates that physician-assisted suicide should be extended to patients struggling with anorexia. “Anyone who wishes to keep striving for recovery despite exhaustion and depletion should wholeheartedly be supported in doing so,” Gaudiani wrote. Others “simply cannot continue to fight.”
Some in the medical community have responded to these accounts with outrage. Johns Hopkins behavioral scientist Dr. Angela Guarda stated, “It is in direct contradiction to treating mental illness, promoting hope for recovery and improving quality of life for our patients. … Anorexia is treatable, not terminal, [and] ambivalence about treatment is a characteristic of the psychiatric disorder.” In other words, seeing a mental health issue as “untreatable” is one of the main barriers to effective treatment in the first place. The primary role of psychologists is to combat that assumption, not enable it (breakpoint.org).
ADL WARNS OF ‘DISTURBING’ SPIKE IN ANTI-SEMITISM ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES
A recent report from the Jewish advocacy group Anti-Defamation League highlighted an increase in anti-Israel activities at U.S. colleges and universities, raising concerns about the incidents and their impact on Jewish students.
According to the ADL’s annual Campus Report published earlier this month, more than 350 anti-Israel incidents occurred on college campuses during the 2021-2022 school year. Some of the incidents included 143 anti-Israel events, 165 protests and actions, and 20 Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) resolutions and referenda (christianityreport.com).
MEGA CHURCH PROJECTS
Two mega-churches are involved in billion-dollar projects to revitalize neighborhoods in cities.
T.D. JAKES: Bishop T.D. Jakes’ multiple-enterprise holding company has announced a 10-year, billion-dollar partnership with Wells Fargo & Company to revitalize neighborhoods, foster economic opportunity, and create long-term change in communities in need across America (ministrywatch.com).
A.R. BERNARD: A.R. Bernard, pastor of the largest evangelical church in New York City, has been working on a plan for more than 10 years. Now the proposal to build a $1.2 billion urban village and revitalize the struggling neighborhood around his church is progressing through the city’s approval process and closer to reality. The Christian Cultural Center (CCC) hopes developers could break ground in Brooklyn next year (chrisianitytoday.com).
CANADA EUTHANIZED 10,000 PEOPLE IN 2021
Health Canada recently released the Third Annual Report on Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada (2021). The data is gathered from the reports submitted by the medical or nurse practitioners who carried out the euthanasia death. There is no requirement that a third party or neutral person submit the reports to ensure their accuracy.
… The report indicates that the number of assisted deaths increased by 32.4% representing 3.3% of all deaths in 2021. When all data sources are considered, the total of number of euthanasia (MAiD) reported assisted deaths in Canada from legalization to December 31, 2021 is 31,664 (canadahealthalliance.org).