Churchgoers Knock Religion

Results of a nationwide survey on spirituality taken by Better Homes and Gardens magazine found that most who responded participate in organized religion, but many feel religious organizations fall short in meeting the spiritual needs of their members.

More than 80,000 readers of the magazine, which has a circulation of over eight million, responded to a questionnaire, the results of which were printed in the January issue. Commenting on the results, the editors said that “perhaps the most consistently expressed sentiment was one thanking us for printing the survey, for acknowledging the spiritual side of our readers’ lives.”

According to the survey report, many respondents “are bothered by religious organizations that fail to recognize the real-life needs of members.” Fifty-nine percent thought organized religions were “sensitive to the spiritual needs of today’s families,” while 35 percent thought they were not.

A number of readers made a distinction between personal spirituality and commitment to a religious institution. Wrote one respondent, “Religion is going through the motions, while faith and trust in God is an experience of the heart.”


“No Plea” Christian Tv?

A coalition of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox traditions, as well as Jewish and evangelical groups, plans to launch a 24-hour religious cable television network. Vision Interfaith Satellite Network (VISN) will begin providing religion-and value-oriented programming in mid-1988, according to David Ochoa, the network’s chief executive officer.

Denominations and faith groups involved in this venture include the Salvation Army; Seventh-day Adventist Church; Mennonite Church; Episcopal Church; Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod; United Methodist Church; Presbyterian Church U.S.A.; and the Roman Catholic Church. Organizers hope to provide an alternative to current religious programming by providing values-oriented lifestyle shows and issue-related films, as well as opportunities for denominations to produce programs. Moreover, VISN will not allow funds to be raised on the air.

The proposed network is a program service of the National Interfaith Cable Coalition.


Families Hit The Streets

Children and their parents now make up one-third of the homeless in 26 American cities, and most of those seeking emergency food are families, according to a study released by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Overall, the demand for shelter jumped by 21 percent from 1986 to 1987. Kansas City, Missouri, led the surveyed cities with a 44 percent increase in requests for shelter, while the city of Louisville, Kentucky, reported no change. Nearly one-quarter of the nationwide demand for shelter goes unmet, the study reported.

Church-sponsored urban missions are also noticing the increase of homeless families and children. “We are currently assisting two women with children who have no place to live,” says Lisa Blackwood, administrative coordinator for the Olive Branch, Chicago’s oldest continually operating urban mission. “One of our guests is a woman who until recently lived with her two-year old son in a car.”

The survey found that single men make up 49 percent of the homeless; families with children, 33 percent, single women, 14 percent; and unaccompanied youths, about 4 percent.


Millions In Aids Claims

American life and health insurers paid out an estimated $292 million in claims arising from AIDS in 1986, according to results from a survey by the American Council of Life Insurance (ACLI) and the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA).

Said ACLI President Richard S. Schweiker, “The amount of claims is increasing each year.” The average AIDS-related claim was $30,500 for individual life insurance, and $27,300 for group life policies. In contrast, the non-AIDS-related death claim was $7,300 for individual life; $13,800 for group life.

“The 1986 claims represent just the tip of the iceberg in measuring the impact that this disease will have on our industry,” notes Schweiker.


One Of The Best Charities

Fortune magazine has named the Salvation Army one of America’s best-run charities. The army was one of the four charitable organizations that exceeded the standards created by the Fortune article.

“The army probably does a better job with the poor than anyone else,” said management consultant Peter Drucker. Of each dollar the organization receives, 86 cents goes to the needy. One reason: low salaries. Married Salvation Army officers with 45 years of service, for instance, get only about $12,500 a year per couple.


Briefly Noted

Resigned: As president of Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, William R. Myers, effective no later than September 23, 1988, when the Lombard (Ill.) school ends its seventy-fifth anniversary celebration.

Died: “Pistol” Pete Maravich, basketball sensation at Louisiana State University and later elected to the National Basketball Association’s Hall of Fame, while playing in a pickup basketball game with Dr. James Dobson. Troubled throughout his career with alcohol abuse, Maravich became a Christian after retiring from basketball.

Recognized: The Buddhist Churches of America as an endorsing agency to certify qualifications for clergy for U.S. military chaplaincies. This action by the Department of Defense paves the way for Buddhist ministers to join Christian and Jewish clerics as chaplains in the armed forces.

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