Talking about the Things That Matter Most on May 6
4:00 – Good Game: Christianity and the Culture of Sports
In recent years the United States has seen an influx of Christian athletes and coaches into big-time sports, as well as a heightened importance placed on sports in church programs and enormous platforms for intercollegiate sports at Christian schools and colleges. However, as Shirl Hoffman critiques, a Christian vision of sport remains merely superficial, replete with prayers before free throws and praises after touchdowns but offering little if any alternative vision from the secular sports culture. Far from being the kind of life-affirming, faith-affirming events that they could be, games played in Christian college gymnasiums, for example, too often end up as mockeries of the faith statements given prominence in their mission statements. Here, in this thoughtful, narrative-driven exploration, Hoffman retells numerous fascinating stories from the world of ancient and contemporary sports and draws on the history of the Christian tradition as he seeks to answer the question What would it mean to think Christianly about sport?
4:40 – 50 Years After “The Pill”
An end to poverty. A cure for divorce. The elimination of unwed pregnancy. Fifty years ago next month, when the Food and Drug Administration announced that it would approve the oral contraceptive, these were the highest expectations for it. Janet Smith is here to look at the “Pill” – 50 years later. She says that the science is unequivocal. Fifty years after FDA approval, chemical contraception is bad for women, couples, society and the environment.
5:00 – After the Baby Boomers: How Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings Are Shaping the Future of American Religion
In a volume sure to change how pundits and clergy think about religion in the contemporary U.S., prolific Princeton sociologist Robert Wuthnow assembles and analyzes a vast amount of data about the religious lives of Americans aged 21 to 45. His interests include the extent to which younger adults participate in organized worship, as well as how they think about spirituality, the relationship between religion and politics, and theology. Wuthnow insists that in some ways, today’s younger adults are similar to their boomer parents—the vitality of small groups, for example, is nothing new. But there are key differences, chief among them the tendency of today’s younger adults to remain single longer than ever before. Married people are significantly more likely to participate in religious communities; at the same time, participation in at least some religious groups may make marriage more likely. Wuthnow argues that our society provides lots of structural support for children and teens, but leaves younger adults to fend for themselves during the decades when they’re making crucial decisions about family and work. He is our guest.
5:20 – Young Souls: The Religious and Spiritual Lives Youth and Emerging Adults
How important is religion for young people in America today? What are the major influences on their developing spiritual lives? How do their religious beliefs and practices change as young people enter into adulthood? Christian Smith's research explores these questions and many others as it tells the definitive story of the religious and spiritual lives of youth and emerging adults, up to age 24, in the U.S. today. Some of Smith's findings are surprising. Parents turn out to be the single most important influence on the religious outcomes in the lives of young adults. On the other hand, teenage participation in evangelization missions and youth groups does not predict a high level of religiosity just a few years later. Moreover, the common wisdom that religiosity declines sharply during the young adult years is shown to be greatly exaggerated. Painstakingly researched and filled with remarkable findings, Dr. Smith’s work is essential reading for youth ministers, pastors, parents, teachers and students at church-related schools, and anyone who wishes to know how religious practice is affected by the transition into adulthood in America today.