New Year’s resolutions: religious goals are among the most common

This article was first published in the State of the Faith Newsletter. Sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox every Monday evening.

Religion has long been one of the most common sources of inspiration for resolution, but its popularity has waned over the past six years.

In 2015, more than half of Americans (52%) said they had made New Year’s resolutions in the past related to their relationship with God. By December 2021, that figure had fallen to 29%, according to a new study by Lifestyle research.

Both surveys found that African Americans and people with evangelical Christian beliefs are more likely than others to set goals related to their faith.

Not surprisingly, Americans with no religious affiliation are among the least likely to have elaborate God-related goals. Only 14% of “no” religious said they had done so in the past.

The 2021 and 2015 surveys showed that health is the most common topic of New Year’s resolutions. Notable shares of all age groups, races and religious backgrounds expressed that they had set related goals for themselves. their diet or weight.

Health was definitely a priority for me last week as I debated what intentions to set for 2022. I would like to progress to running a 10K and start cooking more meals at home; pursuing both of these goals would probably help me lose weight.

What plans are you making for 2022? If you want to make any resolutions, whether it’s health, religion, or some other topic, I encourage you to check out my colleague Mya Jaradat’s guide to goal setting.

Fresh from the press

End of the week: Bishop Léontine TC Kelly

This week’s tenure is actually a person. Specifically, it is the Rev. Leontine TC Kelly, who was the first African-American woman to serve as a bishop in The United Methodist Church.

Reverend Kelly, who died in 2012, was recently honored by the Cathedral of the Rockies in Boise. The church used a stained glass image of her to replace an image of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. “The leadership of the cathedral wanted (to remove Lee) to demonstrate that its members supported racial justice,” Information service on religion reported.

The new stained-glass window cost around $ 25,000 to produce, the article notes. In addition to the image of Rev. Kelly, it features a small image of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the last names of the first Hispanic American bishop of the United Methodist Church (Rev. Elias Galvan) and the first American bishop. of Japanese origin. (Reverend Roy Sano).

The Cathedral of the Rockies isn’t the only church to reconsider or redesign its stained glass windows amid a nationwide reckoning on race. The Washington National Cathedral also recently announced a plan to remove Lee and Confederate General Stonewall Jackson from its windows, according to Religion News Service.

What I’m reading …

A few times a week, I come across a religious story that makes me burn with envy. “Why haven’t I thought from that angle?” ” I moan. Last week the article that put me through this particular kind of misery came from the Washington Post. It was a beautiful play on how pastors who resigned during the pandemic – due, at least in part, to burnout – spent their first Christmas away from the pulpit.

If you attend church services every week, you are part of an increasingly small segment of the American population. Most American adults rarely enter a place of worship and, therefore, rarely take advantage of the social advantages that come with church attendance. In light of the growing disengagement from organized religion, researchers are exploring where Americans can go for the seemingly unimportant but actually quite valuable social connections once provided almost exclusively by faith groups. In a recent edition of his American Storylines newsletter, Daniel Cox explains why cafes might be the best answer.


How would faith groups react to the discovery of alien life? I have heard this question debated during cocktail hours at professional conferences and at small, occasional congregational events. It proves, NASA is interested in the answer too.

The Washington Post’s annual list of what will be inside and what will be outside in the new year is deeply fun, as always.

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