March 2, 2021

Newsletter


Send Your Child on a Trip Far, Far Away
With spring on the horizon, your son or daughter is probably itching to get out and explore the world around them. Well, we've got the perfect trip for them: Gospel Adventures: Thailand Trek. This expedition is a fun-filled, fact-filled learning experience loaded with interesting people and exciting cultural surprises. It's the kind of educational event you've come to expect from LHM's Gospel Adventure expeditions.

Gospel Adventures is a FREE resource available to schools, churches, homeschools, and anyone else daring enough to get on board. Students will learn about what makes Thailand unique in the world, and see how God is at work in the lives of its citizens —95 percent of whom are Buddhist.

With Thailand Trek, students and teachers get five days of online adventure to explore this captivating region. Student adventures in Thailand take place through short articles, videos, maps, colorful graphs, hands-on activities, eye-catching charts, identification boxes, questions for discussion, and more. These components work together to highlight the country's people groups, manners of living, religion, economy, culture and customs, government, language, history, and other features that make Thailand so fascinating and wonderful for the visitor.

Student takeaways include a fresh awareness of the world's size and diversity as exhibited through Thai culture and its intriguing people. With this knowledge, students gain a fresh appreciation of the mission of the Gospel in their own lives and see better how God is at work in people's lives around the world.

This only scratches the surface of what this FREE five-day online experience holds for learners. To register, or to download a sample containing Day 1, go to the website for all the details. You can do this by clicking here.

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An LHM Sunday Brings Our Resources to Your Church's Doorstep
Now is a great time to work with LHM and schedule an LHM Sunday for your congregation.

When you host an LHM Sunday, your church learns about many of the wonderful resources designed and produced to bless the faith lives of your members. This year, we will focus on the spiritual vibrancy of our own households, based on research found in partnership with Barna Group. The timeliness of this research is so important since people are spending more time at home than they have before, offering a great opportunity to examine your own household. LHM offers a wide variety of digital resources for you and your congregation members to build vibrant households while worshiping at home.

Hosting an LHM Sunday also provides an opportunity to share the latest news on our daily and seasonal devotions, webinars and original video Bible studies, topical booklets, podcasts, mobile apps, weekly sermons from The Lutheran Hour, LHM Learn online courses, Barna-based kits of outreach materials (our just-released Better Together Kit, available March 1), our social media site THRED, and more. Don't forget that many of these resources are in Spanish, too.

An LHM Sunday can be held any Sunday in the year. This fun learning event gives your congregation a bird's-eye look at everything LHM has to help your church flourish in its mission to members and the community it serves. A downloadable hosting guide (loaded with good ideas), eye-catching poster, and a colorful bulletin insert are available to help you promote your LHM Sunday. We're also including Households of Faith, a small group video Bible study—all FREE!

You can learn more by clicking here to get the details. For additional questions, you can call us toll-free at 1-800-876-9880, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CST)

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When It Comes to Religion, We'd Better Get an Education
The famous American playwright Wilson Mizner is attributed with saying, "I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education." Given America's current lack of "religious literacy" -- the knowledge of, and ability to understand, both your own religion and that of others -- Mizner may be correct.

Several years ago, the Pew Research Center put out its Religious Knowledge Survey. They found that America is one of the most religious countries in the developed world. However, the report also reveals those declaredly without religion in America scored highest on the religious knowledge quiz. Atheists and agnostics, not people of faith, recorded the best scores on a test that examined individual knowledge of various religions. Questions ranged from the Hindu pantheon to who sparked the Protestant Reformation.

It seems that white evangelical Protestants had some of the lowest knowledge concerning other religions, averaging only 16 correct answers out of 32 questions on the quiz. On the other hand, atheists and agnostics "excelled" with an average of almost 21, just beating out Mormons and Jews who averaged closer to 20.

Although most Christians missed questions about other religions, even questions from an individual's own religious tradition proved stumpers as Catholics failed to identify transubstantiation as their own belief, and Protestants did not note that Martin Luther kickstarted their own church movement. That said, Mormons and Protestant evangelicals scored the highest on questions of a biblical nature.

Rather than making atheists and agnostics look like religious gurus and white evangelical Protestants look like stereotypical uneducated bigots, the survey points out an altogether more depressing fact: America is fundamentally, and woefully, religiously illiterate.

If the best average of any demographic is a barely passing 21 out of 32 (65 percent), Americans fail in making the grade on religious literacy. In one of the most religiously diverse nations in the world, it should not be acceptable that our religious knowledge is somewhere between failing and barely passing.

As the Pew Research Center explained, educational attainment was the single greatest determining factor in religious knowledge. This being the case, it is much more poignant to point the finger at the leaders of our educational system, churches, synagogues, and other centers of education for our lack of religious knowledge rather than shaking the finger at any particular religious adherents or non-adherents.

Those with more education on religion, particularly those who took a course on the subject, did much better on the quiz than the average American. Although there are those who rightly point out that religion is more than head knowledge -- that faith involves experiential knowledge as well -- a basic education covering other religions (whether experiential or book-based) goes a long way in building bridges.

As an educator, I am personally concerned with the evident poverty of religious education that the average American receives. Over the last seven years since the Religious Knowledge Quiz was released, things have not improved. They may have even become worse.

If we do not get an education on religion, it is to the nation's, and the world's, detriment. Teaching world religions over the last few years in a variety of settings, I frequently observe that those who take the time to learn about another religion come away a lot more compassionate and understanding and much less cold and condemning towards those of another faith.

What America needs is a movement of those with faith, and those without, to learn more about world religions both in theory and in practice. It is time that we the people of either faith or doubt, get an education when it comes to religion.

Written by Ken Chitwood

You can share your thoughts on this blog by clicking here and leaving a comment.

You can let the folks at THRED know what you think by clicking here.

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