Church Visits

Visiting Churches: Chris Thompson (stainedglass) is an amateur Alaskan biblical scholar and student of religion, especially as it relates to popular culture. He regularly attends national and regional American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature events to interact with and learn from worldwide religion scholars. Through unannounced mystery visits to churches in Anchorage and South-Central Alaska, he observes how guests (visitors) are treated during this initial church visit. Research indicates guests first visit perceptions affects further spiritual growth and religious attitudes as they search for a church home. Chris' church visits focus primarily on Christian churches. This blog contains accounts of those visits, and related posts about religion in culture. Chris looks for the following in his visits:

•Genuine welcome, true Christian hospitality

•Friendliness and warmth

•Effective, well-delivered, Bible-based, main teaching

•Music deepening the worship, not just entertainment

Google map of churches Chris Thompson has visited.

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Significant 2013 Church Visits Posts

Top Ten Issues Local Churches Must Address in 2013

Ten Things Churches Did That Blew Me Away In 2012

Guest Post: Why Theology Matters to Musicians

Church Visits: What's it like visiting a church with a guest-friendly service? - 7/5/2014 2:08 pm

Church Visits: 10 excuses people give for not attending church - 6/28/2014 11:21 am

Church Visits: Religious pluralism in Alaska here to stay - 6/21/2014 8:28 am

Church Visits: Welcoming churches can reverse attendance slump - 6/14/2014 9:21 am

Crosspoint Community Church Revisit – May 11, 2014 - 6/13/2014 1:44 pm

Church Visits: 5 easy ways to increase your biblical literacy - 6/7/2014 5:23 pm

Church Visits: Cardinal Dolan discusses the pastoral challenges facing Pope Francis - 5/31/2014 1:07 pm

Beast Feast: Great Food and Conversation - 5/30/2014 10:10 pm

Pulpit Freedom Sunday Coming October 7: Some Churches Tempting Fate

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My last post spoke to the rules in place since 1954 which prohibit tax-exempt organizations, including churches, from preaching politics from the pulpit. Several organizations are now actively seeking pastors to flaunt these rules to provoke the IRS to act against them.

One such entity is Alliance Defending Freedom who is promoting Pulpit Freedom Sunday on October 7. They are actively encouraging pastors to sign up to use their pulpits to deliver political messages this coming Sunday. It is claimed that over 1,000 pastors intend to exercise their political messaging muscle this coming Sunday. ADF's blog, Speak Up Movement, is the mouthpiece for gaining pastoral approval. You can view their assorted pastoral messages by clicking here or here. As for me, I'm not amused by pastors who use the pulpit for political purposes. There is an appalling abuse of religious tax-exempt privilege in this country that churches take unfair advantage of.

I thought the Grassley investigation into Prosperity Gospel Televangelists would have established some baselines, but that did not happen. Personally I think many tax exempt preachers, and the statistics bear this out, who make significant salaries and collect benefits the general public are not entitled to, make a mockery of equity in this country. Could it be possible that some of the reason support for organized religion is fading may be due to these perceived inequities by Christians and/or potential Christians?

Today Huffington Post ran an excellent article by Steve Siebold on this very issue raising the question of whether the $71 Billion saved by churches being tax-exempt was fair and just.
Click here to view .

Regardless of your feelings on this topic, it will be interesting to see how this vital issue plays out in the religious community.

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