01: Although a relatively recent movement (despite its allegiance to ancient traditions and deities), Neopagans often show a good deal of concern and speculation about their future.
The winter issue of the magazine PanGaia carries several articles attempting to chart “paganism in the 21st century.” Some of the forecasts have been made before — how liberal Christian faiths are assimilatingpagan concepts about the feminine side of the sacred through inclusive language, and how Neopaganism is becoming more organized. Some more noteworthy observations found in the articles concern how Neopagans are increasingly involved in interfaith efforts (particularly in England) and are finding more positive treatment in the media after a long period of misunderstandings and prejudice.
Although there is concern about the divisions among Neopagans, Jonas Trinunkas of Lithuania points to the 1998 formation of the World Congress of Ethnic Religion (of which he is the leader) as indicating a desire for more unity.
This issue costs $4.95 and is available from: PanGaia, P.O. Box 641, Point Arena, CA 95468.
02: Americans will be hearing a lot about census figures in the upcoming years, but the January/February issue of Visions, a newsletter of religion and demography, takes a special look at how census projections may impact religious trends.
The newsletter examines the population projections issued in January by the federal Bureau of the Census, which forecasts, among other things, dramatic differences in ages among Americans and a slower pace of immigration. Editor Anthony E. Healy writes that these trends may mean that American churches may have much older congregations, and that the opportunities to establish new immigrant congregations will also diminish.
Healy analyzes these and other demographic trends and their possible impact on religious institutions (such as recent Census figures showing how Americans are moving less than ever) throughout the issue.
The issue costs $5.95 (with $1.25 for shipping) and is available from: Visions, P.O. Box 94144, Atlanta, GA 30377.
03: In a highly provocative, well researched essay, Professor Dennis Hiebert of Providence College, Manitoba, Canada, suggests that those church bodies surviving and expanding in today’s world do so by emulating the management program of McDonalds.
They stress efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control. Writing in the Christian Scholar’s Review (vol.29:2) Hiebert writes that these points are being taught in seminaries, and new publications often extol their value. Hiebert writes that the McDonald’s model is catching on because it speaks in the language of today’s society.
For more information on this issue, send to: Christian Scholars Review, Hope College, 41 Graves Place, Holland, MI 49422-9000.
— By Erling Jorstad