Archive for: July, 2006

True Friendships on the Decline in the USA

Why Are More Americans Lonely Today?
by Janice Shaw Crouse, Posted Jul 13, 2006
Human Events Online

Rarely has news from an academic paper struck such a responsive nerve with the general public. The National Science Foundation (NSF) reported in its General Social Survey that unprecedented numbers of Americans are lonely.

Published in the American Sociological Review (ASR) and authored by Miller McPhearson, Lynn Smith-Lovin and Matthew Brashears, sociologists at Duke and the University of Arizona, the study featured 1,500 face-to-face interviews, where more than a quarter of the respondents — one in four — said that they have no one with whom they can talk about their personal troubles or triumphs. If family members are not counted, the number doubles to more than half of Americans who have no one outside their immediate family with whom they can share confidences. Sadly, the researchers noted that the number of “socially isolated” Americans has doubled since 1985.

These dramatic statistics from ASR parallel similar trends reported by the Beverly LaHaye Institute — that over the 40 years from 1960 to 2000 the number of people living as “unrelated individuals” increased from 6 to 16 percent of all persons. Additionally, about 70 percent of those classified as “unrelated individuals” lived alone.

from http://www.humaneventsonline.com/article.php?id=15987

How did this come about? A number of streams feed this river. Dependence upon government rather than neighbors is surely a factor. And look at all the fun which can now be experienced alone compared to just a few decades ago prior to the era of endless cable TV programs and video games. Not to mention the internet.

The implications for the followers of Christ, in view of this trend, are real and they are vast. Is not old-fashioned hospitality part of the solution? No wonder that the older ones or overseers in the churches were/are required to be hospitable.

The phrase “friendship evangelism” is a new one but the concept is ancient.

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Baptists report on House Church Growth in the USA

1 in 5 Adults Attend House Churches, According to First Hard Statistics

By Hannah Elliott, Published July 6, 2006

DALLAS (ABP) — For the first time, advocates of the house-church movement in America have solid facts to back up their enthusiasm — and those stats are shocking: Perhaps one in five American adults attends a house church at least once a month.

While attendees themselves have long said that an increasing number of Americans are moving from First Baptist on Main Street to living-room congregations, the very nature of home churches — decentralized, undocumented and unadvertised — has made them difficult to study. Until now.

In a June 19 report from the Barna Group, evangelical researcher George Barna said 70 million Americans regularly attend or have “experimented with” a house church. That’s an increase of 8 percent since 1996, the report said. Moreover, the movement is taking on evidence of permanence, he said.

“The traditional ways of thinking about and experiencing church are rapidly being revolutionized by a form of religious choice, in which people are taking greater personal responsibility for their spiritual experience and development,” Barna said in the report.

“Today, house churches are moving from the appraisal phase into the acceptance phase. We anticipate house-church attendance during any given week to double in the coming decade and a growing proportion of house-church attenders to adopt the house church as their primary faith community.”

Furthermore, the study noted, more than 20 million adults attend services in home churches each week. Over the course of a month, that number rose to 43 million. Findings were based on a year of research that included phone interviews with more than 5,000 adults nationwide.

from the Associated Baptist Press

http://www.abpnews.com/1198.article

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