Jim Hinch

Tag: Religion

Addiction, Recovery

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A roundup of recent editing work for Guideposts–our year-long series of stories about addiction and recovery. These are good, and important. Read about David Beddoe, a pastor who hid his addiction to pain pills until things fell apart; addiction counselor David Stoecker, whose recovery story is truly remarkable; and Fire Chief Jan Rader (above), who details the damage done by opioids in her city of Huntington, West Virginia, known as the overdose capital of America. Upcoming are stories by the chief medical examiner of the state of New Hampshire, whose early warnings about a rise in overdose deaths were ignored for years; a steel processing company owner in Pennsylvania who began employing recovering addicts after his daughter survived a decade-long heroin addiction; and other stories by addicts, loved ones and treatment professionals. More than 20 million Americans have a substance use disorder, according to the surgeon general. Twelve million report misusing prescription pain medication. Overdose deaths have quadrupled since 1999. This series provides accurate, forward-looking information to an audience disproportionately affected by drug addiction but often overlooked by other media outlets.

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The African Future of American Christianity

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My latest in Boom: A Journal of California, a story about an Orange County mega-church revived by missionaries…from Africa. As America secularizes and grows more ethnically diverse, forward-thinking evangelicals are looking to rapidly growing churches in Africa, Asia and Latin America to help them survive.

End of the Culture Wars?

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A year ago, I published this story in Politico Magazine about evangelicals’ rapidly changing attitudes toward same-sex marriage. That story was prescient! Now, not a week goes by without news of prominent evangelicals coming out in support of same-sex marriage or engaging in constructive dialogue with gay and lesbian activists. (For example, here.) The days when conservative Christians believed they had the power, and the obligation, to dial back the cultural clock in America appear to be ending. With one exception: abortion, which I address in a recent essay in The Los Angeles Review of Books. Why has abortion remained divisive even as the number of abortions performed in America falls to historic lows? Read to find out!

Crystal Ball

My cover story for the latest issue of The American Scholar shows how the death and rebirth of Orange County’s Crystal Cathedral (which went bankrupt and now is being transformed by the county’s surging Catholic diocese into a regional worship and cultural center) signals a wider transformation in the fast-changing landscape of American spirituality.

The Future of (Asian-American) Christianity

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I report in today’s Orange County Register on next-generation Asian-American churches in Southern California influencing the world. Goodbye, mono-lingual, hierarchical, tradition-minded immigrant churches. Hello, multi-ethnic, multi-media, service-oriented worship. Coming soon to your city, too.

Christians’ Demographic Cliff

 

In today’s Orange County Register:

As sanctuaries fill up for the holidays, forward-thinking church leaders are finding little to celebrate in a growing body of research that shows American Christianity at risk of losing an entire generation of young people, perhaps for good.

A record one-third of Americans under age 30 are now religiously unaffiliated, according to a recent study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. That’s up from one-quarter just four years ago. There are now more religiously unaffiliated Americans than white evangelical Protestants.

Sixteen percent of non-Christians under 30 say they have a “good impression” of Christianity, and a mere 3 percent feel that way about evangelical Christianity, according to the Barna Group, a Christian market research organization. As recently as the 1990s, a majority of non-Christians viewed Christianity favorably.

More potentially troubling to church leaders is that half of young Christians have negative views of their own faith, according to Barna.

“It’s the melting of the icebergs, but many people aren’t paying attention to it,” said David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group.

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