As many Christian churches move into what is called pledge season -- the annual effort to get financial commitments from members for the next year -- there's news from a Baylor University researcher they might want to take into account.
A study has found that people who have had supernatural experiences are more likely to give money for religious purposes.
Katie Corcoran, a postdoctoral fellow in Baylor's Institute for Studies of Religion, says in her study, "Divine exchanges: Applying social exchange theory to religious behavior," that the less religious doubt people have the more likely they are go give.
Here's what she said: "You can't empirically verify the existence of God, but mystical experiences are believed to be empirical signs of God, of having some sort of interaction with the divine. For some people, that can be a conscious exchange, for others an unconscious one. If you think God exists, you're more likely to give."
So all over the country this fall there are churches trying to figure out how to encourage people to be more generous in their pledging.
Sounds like the answer is pretty easy: Arrange for the speaker on pledge Sunday to be God. Issue solved.
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BLEST BE THE TITHES THAT BIND
There's a timely new study out about our main subject today, and it says that giving to churches has dropped to Depression-era levels. It helps if people understand clearly how their money is being spent, but it also helps if they understand, in the Christian tradition, that God gives people 100 percent of everything and lets them keep up to 90 percent if they need to.
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P.S.: Don't wait any longer to sign up for an essay writing class I'll be teaching from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 6, through Communiversity. It will be in the Witherspoon room of Second Presbyterian Church, 318 E. 55th St. To sign up, click here for the Communiversity online catalog and scroll down to page 14. Or for a direct link to register, click here. Do it today. The class size is limited.