• U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time by Jeffrey M. Jones

U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time

by Jeffrey M. Jones, March 2021

Americans’ membership in houses of worship continued to decline last year, dropping below 50% for the first time in Gallup’s eight-decade trend. In 2020, 47% of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque, down from 50% in 2018 and 70% in 1999.

U.S. church membership was 73% when Gallup first measured it in 1937 and remained near 70% for the next six decades, before beginning a steady decline around the turn of the 21st century.

As many Americans celebrate Easter and Passover this week, Gallup updates a 2019 analysis that examined the decline in church membership over the past 20 years.

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• Typical Man Blames His Sexual Failings on Women: Police Say Man Killed Several Women Because of His Sexual Addiction

Typical Man Blames His Sexual Failings on Women: Police Say Man Killed Several Women Because of His Sexual Addiction

(Edits and Updates Below)

Typical, typical, typical – even in Christian contexts – for men to blame women for their sexual sins. Police are reporting that this idiot murdered several women at massage parlors and was possibly headed to Florida next to kill even more women, all because he has a “sexual addiction.”

This is really no different from Islam, Christianity, and any other religions or secular modes of thought that tell women to dress modestly so as not to cause men to stumble into sexual sin, and if a woman wears a short skirt and is raped, she’ll be blamed for wearing a short skit.

My fellow conservatives correctly call out a lot of the social justice and Critical Race Theory crowd for falling too deeply into on-going victimhood mentality, and yet, they themselves constantly blame women for the short-comings of men, whether it’s men falling behind scholastically, men not attending church (the supposed “feminization” of churches), or men committing sexual sins.

It’s always “blame the woman” with some guys – even those who regularly pontificate against “victim culture” of the SJWs, leftists, liberal feminists and Critical Race Theorists.

Men need to start taking personal responsibility both collectively and individually for their sexism.

To all men, including conservative men:
Stop blaming women, or blaming women for how women dress or do not dress, or what women say, do, or think for what men say, do, think, or how men react. Women are not responsible for men’s happiness. Women do not owe men dates, marriage, or sex – or anything. 

A man’s choices and how he behaves are ultimately his responsibility, not the responsibility of the women around him.

Suspect in Atlanta shootings blames sex addiction and may have ‘frequented’ spas before: cops

 Cops: The Atlanta Massage-Parlor Shooter Might Have Been Motivated By Sex Addiction, Not Racism Against Asian-Americans

Snippets:

I sense we’re about to have a National Conversation over whether a lunatic who resents women of Asian ancestry because he feels “addicted” to them sexually is properly described as “racist” or not.

…Eight people were murdered last night at three different massage parlors in and around Atlanta. Six of the victims were Asian and two were white, according to the NYT. Seven of the eight were women. 

…..Had the Atlanta killer targeted the massage parlors because he blamed Asian people as a group for COVID, making this instantly the most notorious hate crime of the pandemic?

The early evidence is that … he did not, say Atlanta cops:

[Tweet by Aaron Rupar]

At a news conference, a law enforcement official says early indications are that Atlanta-area mass shooter  may have been motivated by issues stemming from “sexual addiction,” not racism — but he cautions that the investigation is in an early stage

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• A “Masculinity Crisis”? China Says The Boys Aren’t All Right

A “Masculinity Crisis”? China Says The Boys Aren’t All Right

When the Chinese are not gang raping women Muslims (Islam has an issue not only with wanting to murder non-Muslims (“infidels”), but also with systemic sexism, which American Democrats and liberals love to ignore – but I’m not okay with the Chinese raping any woman, Muslim or no), the Chinese in China, at least at the governmental level, are sounding like weirdo Christian gender complementarians, what with their concerns and odd-ball fixation about boys acting like “manly men.” 

I don’t think anything good will come of the Chinese government stringently defining what “masculinity” means for the Chinese, and making boys adhere to it.

It will foster gender stereotypes that some boys can never meet, and that some of them will have zero interest in meeting… this can result in these guys developing depression or other disorders.

(This is where the conservative-derided and highly misunderstood term “toxic masculinity” comes into play. Note: I’m a conservative myself but freely admit that most conservatives act like idiots on this issue.)

A “Masculinity Crisis”? China Says The Boys Aren’t All Right 

In the latest attempt to tackle what academics and news outlets call a “masculinity crisis,” the Education Ministry has proposed emphasizing the “spirit of yang,” or male attributes, by hiring more sports instructors and redesigning physical education classes in elementary and secondary schools.

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• The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth, by B. Barr

The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth, by B. Barr

From Amazon’s page about this book:

imageBiblical womanhood–the belief that God designed women to be submissive wives, virtuous mothers, and joyful homemakers–pervades North American Christianity.

From choices about careers to roles in local churches to relationship dynamics, this belief shapes the everyday lives of evangelical women.

Yet biblical womanhood isn’t biblical, says Baylor University historian Beth Allison Barr. It arose from a series of clearly definable historical moments.

This book moves the conversation about biblical womanhood beyond Greek grammar and into the realm of church history–ancient, medieval, and modern–to show that this belief is not divinely ordained but a product of human civilization that continues to creep into the church.

Barr’s historical insights provide context for contemporary teachings about women’s roles in the church and help move the conversation forward. Continue reading

• Six Ways to Increase Tolerance for Uncertainty and Help Manage Your Anxiety by Victoria Maxwell

Six Ways to Increase Tolerance for Uncertainty and Help Manage Your Anxiety by V. Maxwell

Six Ways to Increase Tolerance for Uncertainty and Help Manage Your Anxiety by Victoria Maxwell

Snippets:

…Psychology Today describes generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) as a “chronic state of severe worry and tension, often without provocation. Those with GAD regularly anticipate disaster, often worrying excessively about health, money, family, or work. Merely getting through the day brings on anxiety.”

Sounds comfy huh? Not.

Research tells us that people with GAD have difficulty tolerating uncertainty. In Anxiety Canada’s video, psychologist Dr. Melisa Robichaud, explains “intolerance of uncertainty means the person with GAD will worry about an imagined feared event as long as there is even the slightest risk of it happening.”

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• Helping Girls Become Fearless: Encouraging Courage and Grit by Gina Barreca Ph.D.

Helping Girls Become Fearless: Encouraging Courage and Grit by Gina Barreca Ph.D.

I find a lot of what this author says of secular life and secular culture to be true of Christianity, particularly any form of Christianity or any church or denomination that promotes and agrees with “Gender Complementarianism.”

Complementarians do not encourage women to have boundaries and to think for themselves – which can leave women open to attracting abusive or selfish people into their lives.

Caveat on this link I am providing below:
I am pro-life, a conservative, but the woman who wrote this piece is apparently pro-choice and apparently is left wing, so I do not agree with all her views.

I have a few additional comments below the excerpts:

Helping Girls Become Fearless: Encouraging Courage and Grit by Gina Barreca Ph.D.

Excerpts:

…A big part of my self-definition came from pleasing my teachers and I felt as if I was deliberately letting them down when I simply couldn’t master long division in fourth-grade.

…The courageous and dynamic women who caught my attention helped me begin to imagine what life might be like.

[The author mentions that her mother died when she was a junior in high school]

There was nothing to do but look after myself. I learned to stop waiting for someone else to provide comfort, or solace, or apologies. I stopped depending on anyone—parent, family member, teacher, boyfriend, or friend—to define who I was or who I might become.

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• Pastor Rodney Howard Browne Who Refused to Close His Church Down During Covid 19 Pandemic Has Arrest Warrant Issued – He Was Also Promising Church Members that God Would Supernaturally Increase Their Supply of Toilet Paper

Pastor Rodney Howard Browne Who Refused to Close His Church Down During Covid 19 Pandemic Has Arrest Warrant Issued – He Was Also Promising Church Members that God Would Supernaturally Increase Their Supply of Toilet Paper

I’ve seen a lot of strange headlines come out of this Coronavirus situation, but perhaps none stranger than a church preacher promising his congregation that God would supernaturally increase their toilet paper rolls.

I think this is possibly an example of Toxic Masculinity, which is also rather common among certain types of Christian complementarians such as (but not limited to) John MacArthur or Mark Driscoll, who have this bizarre, warped view that being a “biblical man” -or a man at all- means exhibiting really stupid “macho” ideals such as crushing beer cans in one hand.

Such complementarians take secular, out-dated ideas of what manhood is and read them back into the Bible and assume (wrongly) that they’re God’s intent or design for men.

So we end up with guys like this pastor who thinks abiding by the advice of medical officials about social distancing during a virus pandemic that can be deadly makes a man a “pansy.”

(Update: I’ve just seen new headlines that this pastor has already been arrested – or, here’s a TMZ link about it:
PASTOR RODNEY HOWARD-BROWNEARRESTED FOR PACKED CHURCH …Violating Social Distancing“)

Link 1. Conservative pastor who refused to close church amid coronavirus pandemic suggests God will help by multiplying toilet rolls – Newsweek

Link 2. Florida Sheriff to Arrest Rodney Howard Browne, Megachurch Pastor Who Flouted Virus Rules – Daily Beast

Snippets from Link 1: 

Conservative pastor who refused to close church amid coronavirus pandemic suggests God will help by multiplying toilet rolls – Newsweek 

This is rather bizarre:

A conservative evangelical pastor has suggested to his followers that God will help multiply their toilet rolls amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a clip posted to Twitter, pastor Rodney Howard-Browne, leader of the Florida-based Revival Ministries International, told his congregation that “this should be a time of supernatural sustenance, where what you have in your hand will multiply.”

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• Why I Became a Biblical Egalitarian by David Dzimianski

Why I Became a Biblical Egalitarian by David Dzimianski

I present you here with a few excerpts; if you’d like to read his whole page – and I recommend doing so – please use the link to his blog post I am providing here:

Why I Became a Biblical Egalitarian by David Dzimianski

…I was raised in the homeschool movement, particularly the patriarchal framework of Bill Gothard’s ATIA and Doug Phillips’ Vision Forum. While my parents and my local Independent Baptist Church were not hardcore, they nevertheless, in theory, accepted a lot of the major premises of these organizations and the patriarchal model.

…What I ended up observing in that time was a constant conflict between the theoretical patriarchal underpinnings, and the unambiguous calls for love and equality in the New Testament.

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• Mental Health in the Midst of Coronavirus (Resources and More)

Mental Health in the Midst of Coronavirus (Resources and More)

(This post has been edited to add additional links)

Mental health in the midst of Coronavirus (Covid 19), specifically: depression and anxiety (links to various resources father below).

Before I get to the links, I wanted to remind any readers I’ve had GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) since childhood, and for many years, I had clinical depression. I saw psychiatrists and took anti-anxiety medication and anti-depressants.

My depression is mostly long gone, and while I still deal with GAD, I guess with life experience comes better coping skills.

I am strangely chill about the coronavirus mayhem. I am concerned for my friends and family who are over the age of 60, because I don’t want any of them to contract Covid 19 (Coronavirus), but I am not too worried about catching it myself and dying.

I figure, if I do contract the disease and die, I cannot do anything to change it. If I am hospitalized, maybe the medical staff can treat me and I can pull through, but if not, I may die. And I’m okay with that.

At this point the only thing that spikes my anxiety at all is not the virus but how the public is acting – people are hoarding supplies, leaving nothing for others, and people have broken into fist fights at Sam’s Clubs stores over food and toilet paper.

But the older I get, the more I understand certain biblical passages now more than I did when I was younger, such as this one (from Luke 12) – a person doesn’t have to be a Christian or believe in a deity to get some wisdom out of the gist of this:

Do Not Worry

22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.

24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!

25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!

29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

Passages such as that one make more sense to me now than they did when I was growing up. Sitting around worrying about a virus isn’t going to do a thing to make your life better, so what’s the point in worrying about it?

The Links

If I find additional material about mental health in relation to Coronavirus, I will try to edit this post to add the information.

Here is a series of links from newspapers and magazines that discuss the covid19 virus (coronavirus) in light of mental health; some simply describe the situation, while others offer tips on how to deal with depression or anxiety, if one has either one.

What is it like to have an anxiety disorder in the time of coronavirus? My worst nightmare come to life – behind a paywall, but a free trial is available

The mental health cost of containing the coronavirus outbreak

A pandemic takes a unique toll on people with mental illnesses.

By Anagha Srikanth

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or the NAMI helpline at 800-950-NAMI (6264).

…But for some, the anxiety can rise to a clinical level during an outbreak. Lewis said people should be aware of symptoms including difficulty sleeping, changes in eating patterns, rapid changes in mood, inability to carry out required or necessary tasks, self-medication using alcohol and drugs and prolonged self-isolation.

“For those who may already struggle with feelings of isolation due to depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions, social distancing could increase those feelings of loneliness and isolation,” Lewis [Krystal Lewis, clinical psychologist at the National Institute of Mental Health] said in an email.

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• How Far Can Abused Women Go To Protect Themselves? (Gender Bias in the Legal System) by E. Flock

How Far Can Abused Women Go To Protect Themselves? (Gender Bias in the Legal System) by E. Flock

I was horrified and upset to see illustrated in this report the huge double standard between how men and women are treated legally if and when they use self defense – women come out being treated unfairly, while men do not.

This happens to be a very long read, but I encourage the reader to click the link to the read the entire piece.

I will only be providing some excerpts from the page, not the entire page, on my blog.

How Far Can Abused Women Go To Protect Themselves? (Gender Bias in the Legal System)

[Long story involving a woman named Brittany who was doing a favor for her drug-addicted friend, Todd.

Todd phoned Brittany claiming to be stranded and without a place to stay, so she picked him up and allowed him to stay at her place.

Once he was at Brittany’s place, he brutally raped and beat her, and told her if she told the police or anyone else that he would murder her.

Things escalated more, when Brittany managed to warn her family about Todd keeping her hostage all day.

Brittany’s brother Chris confronted Todd, Brittany had to shoot and kill Todd to save her brother Chris from being killed by Todd.

Brittany called 911 to get Todd, who was dying on the floor, some medical help, and the police showed up to her home.

If I recall correctly, the police took photos of Brittany once they got there, and there was, I believe, a medical test performed on her at a hospital, where medical professionals logged the extent of injuries Brittany had suffered at Todd’s hands. I think there was a rape test performed as well.

The point being, either the police or hospital staff (or both) had PROOF that Brittany had been raped and beaten by Todd.

 When all was said and done, the legal system and the court appointed psychiatrists and psychologists  then proceeded to blame Brittany and to treat her like a lunatic and a liar.

During one appointment with a mental health professional, the doctor laughed in amusement when she told him how Todd mocked her voice when she was begging him to stop raping her.

The article goes on to say that in states that have a “stand your ground law,” the legal side always believes the men who say they were acting in self defense, and these men get off.

However, women who claim self defense are thrown in jail, they are not believed. Judges won’t allow their claims of domestic violence be brought up in court cases, even though the women killed their husbands or boyfriends because they were being beaten literally to death.]

…Initially, Chris and Brittany [who are siblings] told the police that he had killed Todd.

Both of them believed that a woman who had defended herself against violence would never get a fair trial in Jackson County, where Stevenson is situated.

“I hate to say this, but, Jackson County, they’re a little bit behind on the times,” Chris told me, arguing that, if law enforcement had known that it was Brittany who fired the gun, they would not have taken her for a rape-kit examination until it was too late.

Women, he said, “get the short end of the stick.”

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• Women’s Pay Lags As They Often Work For Free, Says New Report

Women’s Pay Lags As They Often Work For Free, Says New Report

Women’s Pay Lags As They Often Work For Free, Says New Report

January 20, 2020

by Charisse Jones, USA TODAY

A woman’s work is — often unpaid.

That’s a key finding in a new report from Oxfam, an international organization focused on fighting poverty.

Women in the U.S. typically spend two hours more per day than their male counterparts cleaning, cooking and doing other unpaid tasks. That adds up to more than 95 additional eight-hour work days in a year that women work for free.

If American women did receive a paycheck for that time, it could add up to as much as $1.48 trillion annually, Oxfam says. That figure soars to $10.8 trillion a year when women’s unpaid work worldwide is given a value.

“Women and girls, who spend billions of hours cooking, cleaning, and caring for children and the elderly are the backbone of our global economy, yet benefit the least from it,” Paul O’Brien, Oxfam America’s vice president of policy and advocacy said in a statement.

A woman’s work is — often unpaid.

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• Want to Feel Less Anxious? Give Up Some Control by D. H. Rosmarin

Want to Feel Less Anxious? Give Up Some Control by D. H. Rosmarin

Want to Feel Less Anxious? Give Up Some Control

One psychologist’s case for embracing uncertainty

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than three in 10 Americans will have a full-blown anxiety disorder over the course of their lifetimes.

Worse, nearly one in four of these cases will be characterized as “severe,” meaning a person is unable to function from day to day or becomes suicidal because of anxiety symptoms.

[Why is anxiety at such high levels in American society, in spite of the fact many people are well off financially? The psychologist speculates it may be Americans are uncomfortable with experiencing uncertainty and wanting to have control over everything in life]

…..People cannot stand to fail or experience setbacks.

In the 1950s, 22% of the country lived in dire poverty, versus less than 10% in 2018.

Yet we helicopter-parent our children through adolescence and even young adulthood to make sure they do not experience failure.

As a result, children don’t expect to struggle, and when they do, their internal worlds are shaken to the core.

Relatedly, people cannot tolerate uncertainty.

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• How To Change A Mind – Woman Got Her Husband To Leave a Cult by E. Gordon-Smith

How To Change A Mind – Woman Got Her Husband To Leave a Cult by E. Gordon-Smith

How To Change A Mind by E. Gordon-Smith

Snippets:

Missy spent more than five years getting her husband to leave a cult, but the breakthrough was simple

Missy met Dylan when she took a job at the restaurant he worked at, waiting tables.

The couple moved in together and got engaged not long after, despite what Missy saw as a huge red flag: Dylan was a member of a religious sect that she believed to be a cult.

Missy was certain she could see through to the man Dylan would be without the sect, and certain she wanted to be with that man.

She did not, however, want to spend her life with a member of his sect.

“Did you consciously think to yourself, I’m gonna change this guy’s mind?” I asked Missy, years later.

“Yes. Absolutely. I made a five-year plan.”

I met Missy and Dylan while researching my book, Stop Being Reasonable: How We Really Change Our Minds.

Their story is singular, but many of us will someday find ourselves in something like Missy’s position, trying to talk the people we love out of believing — against all the evidence — what someone powerful is telling them.

If we do not understand the structure of our loved ones’ beliefs in situations like these, our attempts to change them may well fail.

….Everywhere we look, we see the gospel that reasoned argument is the currency of persuasion and that the “right” way to change our minds is by entering a sort of gladiatorial contest of ideas where we leave the personal behind.

But what if our eagerness to congratulate each other for employing that ideal stops us from asking whether it is worth aspiring to at all?

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