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“Such were some of you,” The story of a Lesbian, Feminist, English Professor turned Reformed Pastor’s Wife

21 Jan

I think of all my blog posts, this will be among the best and most important and helpful ones.  What an amazing, powerful, relevant, timely, encouraging, convicting, story. The life of this lady, Dr. Rosario Butterfield, has so much to say to each of us. To believers, what have you sacrificed for the Kingdom of Christ? Is your home open to those who might make you the least comfortable? Are you willing to be vulnerable before your church family about your fears, sins, problems? Do you seek to build genuine friendships with unbelievers? Are you more obsessed and bothered with the sins of unbelievers than you are your own? Are you willing to share in those burdens with others? Do you believe in the unlimited power of prayer? To churches, how welcoming are you to those who struggle with things like sexual sin? Does your church only feed the “we are all clean-cut clean-living folks” mythology or is it open and honest about the troubles within it? Does your church convey the wrong message about the Christian life? That it’s simple, not meant to be difficult, all gain and no pain? What does loving the sinner really look like? To the unbeliever, do you think that there is no hope? Have you assessed Christianity based upon the behavior of Christians or upon the claims of Christ? What if you are wrong? What if the bible is true? What if Jesus Christ actually rose of the dead? What would that mean for your life? What if you reached out in faith prior to having all the answers? What if change by you is impossible but with God all things are possible? Is it possible that your stereotypes of Christian folks are as inaccurate as their stereotypes of people like you? Is the Christian faith really only for the unintelligent, uncritical, weak, gullible, or is it intellectually tenable, compelling even, and deeply satisfying? How can a, lesbian, feminist, noted queer studies scholar, tenured professor, LGBT activist become a Reformed Evangelical pastor’s wife full of joy and love for others? Isn’t that impossible? Isn’t it? Is this a joke?

Based on her book Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert (2011), take an hour with notepad in hand and carefully listen to this amazing interview, a wonderful powerful story of God’s grace.  She has so much to say to broken sinners in desperate need of grace.  That pretty much means us all.

” And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”  1 Cor. 6:11.

 

UPDATE: Looks like she also wrote an article about her story at Christianity Today: Link

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RUF @Southern Miss

23 Mar

My good friend and brother in Christ, Reformed University Fellowship minister Ben Shaw, talks about the oldest the RUF in existence.  Press on Ben!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=9sys-NOX3ds#t=4s

Mission to the World – Japan

28 Feb

Only 1% of Japan is Christian.  Pray.  Send.  Go.

And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Rom. 10:15

Praise God for RUF… particularly for what God is doing at RUF Jackson State University (simply miraculous)

22 Feb

Here’s how the PCA compares with PCUSA and Roman Catholics

13 Apr

Demographics

Catholic Presbyterian Church in America Presbyterian Church USA
Percent female 54.2% 43.5% 54.3%
Percent that are currently married 57.3% 56.2% 61.5%
Percent that have a B.A., B.S. or other 4-year college degree 25.9% 31.6% 47.1%
Percent with a family income of less than $40,000 a year 34.2% 39.5% 21.9%
Percent that are white 83.4% 89.9% 92.6%
Percent of Hispanic origin or descent 29.1% 4.2% 2.2%
Percent that live in a rural area 11.2% 24.4% 18.4%
Percent that live in the South 24.5% 45% 37.4%
Percent with one or more parents born outside the U.S. 17.8% 6.4% 6.6%
Percent born in another country 22% 3.7% 5.5%

 

Moral Attitudes

Catholic Presbyterian Church in America Presbyterian Church USA
Percent who think that abortion should be illegal in all cases. 17.9% 17.2% 5.7%
Percent that think that “homosexuality” is a way of life that should be discouraged by society. 30% 51.6% 38.5%
Percent that “mostly agree” or “completely agree” that there are “clear and absolute standards for what is right and wrong” 78.5% 84.4% 74%
Percent who think the government should do more to protect morality in society. 42.7% 39.3% 33.1%
Percent that “mostly agree” or “completely agree” that their values are threatened by Hollywood and the entertainment industry 42.9% 43.4% 46.1%

 

Other Beliefs and Attitudes

Catholic Presbyterian Church in America Presbyterian Church USA
Percent satisfied with personal life. 87.5% 86.5% 93.1%
Percent that “mostly agree” or “completely agree” that “evolution is the best explanation for the origins of human life on earth” 57.8% 37% 52.3%

 

Political Attitudes

Catholic Presbyterian Church in America Presbyterian Church USA
Percent that think that churches and other houses of worship should keep out of political matters 47.7% 52.3% 46.5%
Percent that think the best way to ensure peace is through military strength. 24.9% 28.6% 29.4%
Percent that think that stricter environmental laws and regulations cost too many jobs. 31.8% 34% 25.6%
Percent that think the government should do more to help needy Americans. 62.6% 55.3% 56.7%
Percent that prefer a smaller government providing fewer services. 39.4% 58.1% 59%
Percent registered to vote 83.2% 86.8% 94.6%
Percent Republican 23.5% 37.8% 43.2%
Percent that describe themselves as conservative or very conservative 36.4% 42.4% 35.4%
Percent that voted for Kerry in the 2004 Presidential election 37.8% 30.7% 30.1%

 

Religious Beliefs

Catholic Presbyterian Church in America Presbyterian Church USA
Percent that view God as an impersonal force 30% 22% 22.1%
Percent that believe in God or a universal spirit 97.2% 98.7% 98.4%
Percent that believe in Hell 60.2% 71.9% 57%
Percent that believe in Heaven 82.2% 83.3% 81%
Percent that agree: Angels and demons are active in the world 69.2% 77.4% 62.8%
Percent that believe in reincarnation
Percent that believe in life after death 77% 81% 82.9%
Percent that say religion is a very important part of their life 56.1% 63.6% 62.9%
Percent that believe that their church or denomination should preserve its traditional beliefs and practices 35.5% 47.6% 40.4%
Percent that mostly or complete agree: Religion causes more problems in society than it solves 32.2% 32.4% 27.7%
Percent that think there is a natural conflict between “being a devout religious person and living in a modern society” 34.1% 40.1% 29.3%
Percent that mostly or completely agree: Miracles still occur today as in ancient times 83.3% 79.6% 80.6%
Percent that believe that many religions can lead to eternal life 79% 71.4% 79.9%

 

Religious Experiences

Catholic Presbyterian Church in America Presbyterian Church USA
Percent that speak or pray in tongues 19.5% 18.8% 11.9%
Percent that have experienced or witnessed a divine healing of an illness or injury? 27.8% 38.6% 28.7%
Percent that feel a deep sense of spiritual peace and well-being at least once a week 46.5% 58.6% 54.1%

 

Religious Practices

Catholic Presbyterian Church in America Presbyterian Church USA
Percent that attend religious services at least once a week 41.4% 42.7% 55.3%
Percent that pray at a shrine or religious symbol in their home
Percent that attend services at a church with 2000 or more members. 18.4% 6.4% 7.4%
Percent that pray at least once a day 57.9% 65.3% 64.4%
Percent that meditate at least once a week 36.2% 44.4% 42.6%
Percent that pray or read the Scripture with their children 62.7% 81.3% 70%
Percent that read scripture outside of religious services at last once a week 21.3% 46.2% 33.5%
Percent that participate in a choir or other musical program at their place of worship 18.9% 20% 30.7%
Percent that do community volunteer work through their place of worship 56.4% 74.2% 77%
Percent that share their faith with “non-believers or people from other religious backgrounds” at least once a week 13.6% 21.5% 14.6%
Percent that send their children to Sunday School or another religious education program 51.5% 82.5% 83.1%
Percent that home school or send their children to a religious school 19.8% 16.3% 8.5%

Inter-denominational comparisons

13 Apr

I also ran some interdenominational comparisons on politics, doctrine, church life, personal religious experience/practice, demographics, etc.  I could only fit PCA, SBC, and the Assemblies of God on this post (AofG is the largest pentecostal denomination).

Demographics

Assemblies of God Presbyterian Church in America Southern Baptist Convention
Percent female 57.2% 43.5% 50.6%
Percent that are currently married 64.1% 56.2% 60.2%
Percent that have a B.A., B.S. or other 4-year college degree 11.5% 31.6% 20.7%
Percent with a family income of less than $40,000 a year 48.8% 39.5% 36.6%
Percent that are white 84.8% 89.9% 86%
Percent of Hispanic origin or descent 18.6% 4.2% 2.4%
Percent that live in a rural area 26.1% 24.4% 30.7%
Percent that live in the South 46.4% 45% 76.3%
Percent with one or more parents born outside the U.S. 6.8% 6.4% 2.1%
Percent born in another country 14.2% 3.7% 2.1%

 

Moral Attitudes

Assemblies of God Presbyterian Church in America Southern Baptist Convention
Percent who think that abortion should be illegal in all cases. 35.5% 17.2% 21.8%
Percent that think that “homosexuality” is a way of life that should be discouraged by society. 73.1% 51.6% 68.4%
Percent that “mostly agree” or “completely agree” that there are “clear and absolute standards for what is right and wrong” 85.3% 84.4% 85.2%
Percent who think the government should do more to protect morality in society. 61.3% 39.3% 48.6%
Percent that “mostly agree” or “completely agree” that their values are threatened by Hollywood and the entertainment industry 62.8% 43.4% 52.6%

 

Other Beliefs and Attitudes

Assemblies of God Presbyterian Church in America Southern Baptist Convention
Percent satisfied with personal life. 84.3% 86.5% 86.4%
Percent that “mostly agree” or “completely agree” that “evolution is the best explanation for the origins of human life on earth” 18.1% 37% 24.1%

 

Political Attitudes

Assemblies of God Presbyterian Church in America Southern Baptist Convention
Percent that think that churches and other houses of worship should keep out of political matters 18.2% 52.3% 31.8%
Percent that think the best way to ensure peace is through military strength. 40.4% 28.6% 42.4%
Percent that think that stricter environmental laws and regulations cost too many jobs. 39.6% 34% 35.4%
Percent that think the government should do more to help needy Americans. 57.8% 55.3% 58.4%
Percent that prefer a smaller government providing fewer services. 41.1% 58.1% 48.2%
Percent registered to vote 79.7% 86.8% 83.9%
Percent Republican 45% 37.8% 40.6%
Percent that describe themselves as conservative or very conservative 66.2% 42.4% 54.8%
Percent that voted for Kerry in the 2004 Presidential election 10.9% 30.7% 21.8%

 

Religious Beliefs

Assemblies of God Presbyterian Church in America Southern Baptist Convention
Percent that view God as an impersonal force 7% 22% 13.5%
Percent that believe in God or a universal spirit 98.8% 98.7% 99%
Percent that believe in Hell 90.1% 71.9% 86.1%
Percent that believe in Heaven 88.2% 83.3% 87.8%
Percent that agree: Angels and demons are active in the world 96.1% 77.4% 88%
Percent that believe in reincarnation
Percent that believe in life after death 86.5% 81% 85.9%
Percent that say religion is a very important part of their life 87.3% 63.6% 79.5%
Percent that believe that their church or denomination should preserve its traditional beliefs and practices 70.2% 47.6% 62.1%
Percent that mostly or complete agree: Religion causes more problems in society than it solves 19.1% 32.4% 16.7%
Percent that think there is a natural conflict between “being a devout religious person and living in a modern society” 56.3% 40.1% 51%
Percent that mostly or completely agree: Miracles still occur today as in ancient times 97.1% 79.6% 90.8%
Percent that believe that many religions can lead to eternal life 52.9% 71.4% 60.9%

 

Religious Experiences

Assemblies of God Presbyterian Church in America Southern Baptist Convention
Percent that speak or pray in tongues 56.5% 18.8% 11.7%
Percent that have experienced or witnessed a divine healing of an illness or injury? 75.9% 38.6% 46.8%
Percent that feel a deep sense of spiritual peace and well-being at least once a week 78.9% 58.6% 67.4%

 

Religious Practices

Assemblies of God Presbyterian Church in America Southern Baptist Convention
Percent that attend religious services at least once a week 72.4% 42.7% 56.6%
Percent that pray at a shrine or religious symbol in their home
Percent that attend services at a church with 2000 or more members. 6.8% 6.4% 7.9%
Percent that pray at least once a day 84.5% 65.3% 77.5%
Percent that meditate at least once a week 54% 44.4% 44.6%
Percent that pray or read the Scripture with their children 79.3% 81.3% 79.8%
Percent that read scripture outside of religious services at last once a week 76.2% 46.2% 58.3%
Percent that participate in a choir or other musical program at their place of worship 36% 20% 36.9%
Percent that do community volunteer work through their place of worship 76.6% 74.2% 72.8%
Percent that share their faith with “non-believers or people from other religious backgrounds” at least once a week 48.7% 21.5% 32.7%
Percent that send their children to Sunday School or another religious education program 81.1% 82.5% 83.6%
Percent that home school or send their children to a religious school 15.5% 16.3% 15.4%

Where are you PCA?

13 Apr

I did a filtered search in the American Religious Data Archive to look at figures, distributions, and trends of PCA membership.  The overall numbers are about 350k.  Mississippi has the 2nd most congregations at 122 and about 20k members (behind Florida at 135 and 45k).  The national distribution of total membership looks like this:

Membership Totals
Darkest Red:   13946 to 43745
Red-Orange    2503 to 13539
Orange-Red    919 to 2380
Mustard           320 to 858
Yellow:             0 to 271

If you want to look at demographic and attitudinal composition of the PCA (2007 data) click here.

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