Episcopal decline, Pastor Andrew Brunson, millennials and marriage, and faith at the box office

Weekly Review

Episcopalians Decline. The Episcopal Church on Friday passed a resolution that allows same-sex couples to get married in their diocese of choice, regardless of the bishop’s view on same-sex weddings. The resolution B012 was approved with an overwhelming majority during the denomination’s General Convention in Austin. A 2015 resolution by the Episcopal Church allowed same sex marriages in those dioceses where the bishop allowed. This new resolution takes that decision-making power away from diocesan bishops. The Episcopal Church’s views on homosexuality have caused a mass exodus from the once powerful denomination. Membership in the church peaked at about 3.4-million in the mid-1960s. It dropped below 2-million around 2010, and today is less than 1.5-million.

Free Andrew Brunson. Tomorrow (Wednesday, July 18) American pastor Andrew Brunson will finally appear in court. Though the charges against him are clearly trumped up, Turkish judges refused to release him after his previous two hearings on April 16 and May 7. The result: He has now been in a Turkish prison for 20 months. The charges against him are outlined in a 62-page indictment. However, most of the indictment simply recounts what WORLD magazine called the “mundane details of the pastor’s life” and calling them terrorist acts. Brunson’s imprisonment has provoked international outrage, activism by members of the U.S. Congress, and a worldwide prayer movement.

Millennials and Marriage. It’s not big news that millennials are putting off marriage. The average age for a first marriage has been rising for the past 20 years or more. Today that age is 27 for women and 29 for men, and in some large cities those averages are higher.  According to The Washington Post, “It seems that everyone has a different answer for why: Blame it on the economy. Or dating apps. Or women’s ability to delay childbearing. But the less sexy answer is that it’s all of the above.” To read the most recent U.S. Census Bureau on young adults, click here.

Box Office Mojo. According to the web-site BoxOffice Mojo, the documentary on Fred Rogers, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” has…well…box office mojo. It has so far grossed more than $15-million. That puts it among the top-grossing documentaries of all time. Most reviewers mention that Mr. Rogers’ faith is a key part of his life and this movie. On the other hand, “First Reformed,” which portrays a pastor having a crisis of faith, has mostly bombed at the box office, taking in barely $3-million. “I Can Only Imagine” has ended its theatrical run, topping out at $83-million, making it the 6th largest Christian movie of all time and the 3rd largest musical biopic of all time.

Milestones. Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru), died 15 years ago this week, on July 19, 2003…. On this day in A.D. 180, 12 residents of Tunisia, in north Africa, were executed for being Christians. This is the earliest non-biblical record of Christianity in Africa…. Disneyland opened on this day in 1955. Actor and spokesman Ronald Reagan helped host the opening ceremonies.


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