“Researchers Find: Faith Encourages Love, Benevolence”
As you might imagine, as I was reading book review blogs, this headline caught my attention! The article went on: “Now comes one of the most impressive arrays of scholars ever to study religion in America, concluding that on balance the overwhelming effect of religion is an expansion of believers’ compassionate love for others. What’s more, the scholars found this isn’t the type of ‘love’ that amounts to a cheap, greeting-card sentiment. Rather, the scholars are concluding: Huge numbers of Americans report that they have personally experienced God’s love — and, as those experiences increase in people’s lives, their levels of benevolent service increase along with their faith . . .”
I find the premise of The Heart of Religion: Spiritual Empowerment, Benevolence, and the Experience of God’s Love fascinating. Many recent studies have suggested that people have claimed spirituality over religion and individual benefit rather than reaching out to others. However, my experience and observation is quite the contrary — and more in line with the findings of the book.
I am consistently blessed to be in the company of folks whose faith journeys are much more integrated. Possessing a deep spiritual life, they live out their faith in the context of a religious community. A significant part of living out that integrated faith is continuing to discern both individual and cooperate gifts, and then seeking out the needs of the world to make use those gifts.
‘Faith Encourages Love, Benevolence’ — that, my friends, is Engaging God’s Mission!