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Friday’s religion wrap

The Journey team selects stories that got us talking this week.   

Trust in the pastor: the stats are a disaster

Christianity Today reports on the latest Gallup poll findings which suggest less than half of Americans believe clergy are honest and have high ethical standards. According to the data, pastors are viewed as less trustworthy than judges, day-care providers, police officers, pharmacists, medical doctors, grade-school teachers, military officers and nurses.

“Three of the professions rated highest for honest and ethical standards are in the healthcare field … while the clergy are not at the bottom of the list of professions, this year’s ratings represent a new low for a profession with image problems in recent years,” said Gallup.

Reality stars of a feather flock together

Time has an opinion piece outlining the theological similarities between President Trump and reality television mogul Oprah Winfrey in light of rumours that Oprah may run for President in 2020. While both pop culture icons have vastly different public images, the article sees the pair preaching a “gospel of American prosperity” which “broadly speaking says that God wants people to be wealthy and healthy and that followers are responsible for their own destiny here on earth”.

Oprah was raised in the Baptist denomination but, according to Kathryn Lofton, a Yale professor who has written about Oprah, she is a “polyglot consumer of religious thought ideas”.

“She has found deep and sustaining power in the New Testament, in the Bible, and in the theological interpretation that the good that you receive is a representation of the good you bring into the world,” says Lofton.

Hudson’s Bible always reliable

Premier has news of Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson’s revelation that the one book which changed her life is the Bible. When asked by the Guardian which book changed her life, Hudson replied, “The Bible; I’ve been reading it since I was little and it hasn’t failed me yet.”

This isn’t the first time Hudson has been open about her faith. After her family was murdered in 2008 she commented that her Christian faith helped her through grief: “There would be no point in faith if it wasn’t tested. My mother always told me no matter how negative your life seems to be, you must always look for a positive.”

About to click “Post”? Your job might be toast  

My Christian Daily has compiled a listicle outlining the major social media fails which could land a pastor in hot water. Citing James 1:26 (“If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, then his religion is useless and he deceives himself”), five types of social media posts are listed which are likely to upset or anger church members.

These include combative and sarcastic comments; political comments; taking on church members; criticising other people; and unsavoury comments.

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