These days, it may seem like a miracle that people still believe in miracles.
But even as more people appear to be turning away from organized religion, a new study finds that the number of Americans who believe in religious miracles increased 22 percent in the past two decades, with 55 percent now certain of this supernatural phenomenon.
It was the spring of 1988. We had rounded the corner of the liturgical year again, and although I'd preached Easter sermons many times, I was feeling relieved that I was not preaching the Easter service that year. Senior minister Thomas Allsop would preach to the throngs of parishioners and visitors at historic Beechgrove Church of Aberdeen, Scotland.
Do people join a church because they share its members' beliefs? This has become the putative
ideal, the only pure motivation for church affiliation. But I have seldom heard it voiced at our new members' class.
It’s hardly news that someone counts herself in the “religious but not
part of an organized religion” camp. Or as novelist Anne Rice described herself:
she is a follower of Christ who has decided to quit Christianity.
Back when I made my living as a high school English teacher, I used to tell my ninth graders that the class unit with the most practical application to their lives was Greek tragedy. “Grammar’s important, too,” I would hasten to add. “Don’t get me wrong. But not all of you will require a working knowledge of English grammar to get by in life.