By Christy Barritt
Women and the Church
Recently the Barna Group released a study as part of their “Christian Women Today” series that addressed the question, “Are women happy at church?”
The study included 603 U.S. women who are Christians and attend church.
A majority of women said they have “a great deal of satisfaction within the church when it comes to leadership opportunities.”
Thirty-one percent of women said they are held to low expectations, 20 percent are underutilized, 13 percent underappreciated, and 11 percent are taken for granted.
On the other end of the spectrum, 72 percent of women feel their ministry work is meaningful and 59 percent say they have substantial influence in their own congregation.
Concerning the women’s role in the church, 78 percent said the Bible does not prohibit them from leading, while 24 percent feel the role of minister is not open to women.
Study: Sharing Faith Essential but Underutilized
A new study by LifeWay Research shows that while the majority of churchgoers in the U.S. believe it’s essential to share their faith with nonbelievers, a large percentage are not doing so.
The study found that 80 percent of those who attend church one or more times a month believe they have a personal responsibility to share their faith, but 61 percent have not told another person how to become a Christian in the previous six months.
Three-quarters of churchgoers said they feel comfortable in their ability to effectively communicate the gospel, while 12 percent said they don’t feel comfortable telling others about their faith.
Another surprising result of the survey was that it’s not new Christians who are most active in sharing their faith.
“While new Christians may find it natural to share their new experience, mature Christians do it intentionally,” said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research.
Arizona Day of Prayer Lawsuit Dismissed
A Superior Court judge in Maricopa County, Arizona, dismissed a lawsuit that claimed Governor Jan Brewer’s annual, voluntary day of prayer violates the state Constitution.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) filed a suit in March 2010, alleging that the Day of Prayer violated the fundamental principle of the separation of church and state. The court dismissed the challenge in December 2011, but the FFRF refiled in January.
In August, Judge Eileen Willett granted a motion to dismiss with prejudice, which means the matter cannot be tried again. The court found that the FFRF failed to demonstrate any injury and therefore lacked standing to sue.
“I applaud the Arizona Superior Court for rejecting this lawsuit, which was little more than another sad attempt to stifle an American tradition,” Brewer said in a statement.
Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Remains
A Pennsylvania state judge refused to block a new state law that requires voters to show a valid photo identification issued by either the state or federal government.
In May, several groups sued to stop the law from being enacted before November elections. They said the law violated the state constitution by burdening the “fundamental right to vote.”
Many similar lawsuits in other states claim the law discriminates against the poor and minorities who are less likely to have photo ID.
Commonwealth Judge Robert Simpson said in his August ruling that everyone had plenty of time to get an ID before the election in November.
Several groups have already filed an appeal.
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons.