A new survey released by Springtide Research Institute confirms what metaphysical store owners and veteran tarot readers have known since the term Gen Z was invented: Younger Americans, known for fashioning their own spirituality the way they curate their social media feeds, are doing so using well-established alternative practices.
"There is such little ownership over a religious belief system that you're just told all the right answers to. These other spiritual ways have a more personal connection — those personal 'aha' moments," Jesse Brodka, a 22-year-old Roman Catholic, told Springtide.
Springtide’s survey showed that 51% of its sample population, aged 13-25, engage in "tarot cards or fortune telling." Of that percentage, 17% practice daily, 25% once a week, 27% once a month and 31% less than once a month.
Springtide works with partners to develop a random sampling adjusted to reflect national demographics and relies on comprehensive "quality" answers, not simply "bots," explained Kevin Singer, head of media and public relations for the research group.
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While many younger Americans today are spiritually unaffiliated, aka "nones" — a quarter of all adults under the age of 30 in the United States say they don't identify with any religion or spiritual tradition, according to the Pew Center for Religion and Public Life — millennials are increasingly finding contemplative spirituality appealing.
A 2019 study reported that two-thirds (65%) of Americans describe themselves as Christians, down from 77% in 2009. It also shows that the number of Americans who say they have no religion — sometimes called nones — has risen to 26%, up from 17% a decade ago.
Across the country, many Catholic Churches own plots of land, and whether large or small, that property can be used to build housing for the community. With attendance declining in some congregations, and in flux in others due to impacts from the pandemic, many churches also find themselves with underutilized structures on their property.
The potential of churches in communities across the country to help tackle the housing crisis is tremendous. A 2020 report from the Terner Center at UC Berkeley found that in California alone, nearly 40,000 acres of church property could be developed with housing. (The full impact could be even greater than the report estimates, since the authors did not tally smaller plots of land where single or smaller units of housing could be built.) The study's authors concluded that in particular, property near public transit could offer the opportunity "to build housing that meets the state’s twin objectives of expanding access to opportunity and reducing greenhouse gas … emissions through improved land use."
But though the report focuses on the public policy benefits of building housing, this work is also deeply in keeping with the church's mission. Already, many congregations give back to their community, practicing hospitality through donation drives for unhoused individuals or by hosting food pantries. As all of us are created in God’s image, caring for our neighbors as ourselves is a basic duty for all Christians. Providing housing is a natural extension of this work.
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ICYMI: Operation Allies Refuge, which began July 30, brought planeloads of Afghans to Dulles International Airport in Virginia outside of Washington and they were then taken to Fort Lee, near Petersburg, Virginia. The families were pre-vetted and able to complete the immigration process safely stateside.
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