Religion and Depression, Hallmark Channel’s LGBT Shift, and Being Religious or Spiritual (02.25.21)

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Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

After missing last week, the podcast is back and we have three new stories to discuss. The first discusses the complex connection between religion and mental health. Then we talk about the shifting values in what has traditionally been seen as “wholesome, family-friendly” entertainment. We end with a conversation about how people view themselves as being religious and/or spiritual.

STORY #1 – Attending Religious Services and Ward Off Depression

“Religion has been a source of comfort and support among believers for a long, long time. It’s often said that faith provides something to fall back on when everything else in life fails us. Now, a new study has investigated the complex relationship between religious experiences and mental health. Researchers from Westmont University find attending religious services helps attendees avoid or stave off depression. Unfortunately, not all of the project’s findings follow this pattern. […] ‘But what if the religious environment or beliefs themselves are the source of depressive symptoms?’ [study author Blake Victor Kent] asks. Researchers define ‘experience-driven religious environments’ as churches and other religious communities that normalize divine interactions and even tell parishioners to expect such experiences. ‘Those who struggle to establish an emotional connection to God may be constantly disappointed even though they work hard to hear from God and feel led by God. They may wonder whether God has abandoned them and why they’re not experiencing God the way everyone else seems to,’ Kent explains.” (Study Finds)

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STORY #2 – Hallmark Channel Promises More LGBT Characters and Storylines

“Hallmark Channel, once known for its sentimental and family-friendly movies, has announced it is making it a “big priority” in the coming year to increase the number of LGBT characters and plotlines it features in its films. […] Michelle Vicary, a Hallmark Channel executive, said the network is making it a “big priority” in 2021 to continue its progress in pushing LGBT themes.” (Disrn)

Related material:

STORY #3 – Most Americans Embrace Religion, Spirituality

“The multiyear research project from the Fetzer Institute on spirituality in America found 9 in 10 U.S. adults (89%) consider themselves spiritual, religious, or both. Most (70%) say they are both religious and spiritual. Around 1 in 6 say they are spiritual, but not religious (16%). Close to 1 in 10 (11%) say they are neither. Few (3%) say they are only religious.” (Lifeway Research)

Related material:

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Is Gambling Wrong? (Sermon #37)

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Is Gambling Wrong? (Sermon #37)

We’re in between season 11 and season 12. During the break we’re posting audio sermons each week instead of the regular episodes. The sermon for this week was preached on September 16, 2018 at the Eastside church of Christ in Morgantown, KY.

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Our Entertainment Culture

Darth Vader

Our society is saturated with entertainment in various forms – movies, television, music, internet videos, professional and collegiate sports, etc. Even during a time of economic hardship and uncertainty, Americans are paying billions of dollars a year in movie ticket sales alone. While occasional entertainment may be fine, we need to let our consumption of entertainment be regulated by the Scriptures.

In evaluating our entertainment consumption, we should ask ourselves some basic questions:
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