Your bi-monthly bulletin of research-based information Issue 21 July 2010
in this issue
Gifts of the Holy Spirit
What age can do to Christian belief 1 The older a Christian’s age group, the more likely he or she is to reject some beliefs Young people with personal challenges anxious to achieve 1 Young people are planning for their future properly The life and times of Pre-Family Man 2 The impact of digital technology on the lives of young men Spirit of the Age Sometimes the news leaves you thinking ‘whatever next?’ Understanding Britain’s unmet needs Understanding where the most acute needs are Do we love our neighbours? Do our neighbours really matter to us
Belgium: language, faith, and a divided nation Language tensions in Church and State in Belgium
Want to contribute to Quadrant? If you know of research findings that you think the Christian Research community would find interesting, please let us know. You can email the Editor, Graham Sharp, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Young people with personal challenges anxious to achieve
What age can do to Christian beliefs
Benchmarking Church of England Dioceses 5 The importance of a stable family life Curiosity Corner More interesting facts that caught our eye
Focus on youth
recent poll conducted by a Christian research organisation in the US indicated that belief in the Christian ‘gifts of the Holy Spirit’ decline with age and familiarity with those phenomena. The poll, conducted by the Barna Research Group, showed that the older a respondent's age group, the more likely he or she was to reject speaking in tongues or prophecy as modern reality. In addition, the more familiar the respondent was with speaking in tongues, the more likely they were to have spoken in tongues, and the less likely they were to believe the gift is valid. The age group most familiar with the spiritual gifts is the baby boomer group, age 45-63 in 2010. This was the generation that manifested the so called ‘Jesus Freaks’ of the late 1960's and early 1970's. Although they were 30% more likely than the average Christian to have spoken in tongues themselves, they were 20% less likely than the average Christian to identify as Pentecostals or Charismatics. The survey defined
‘Pentecostal or Charismatic’ as ‘meaning (the respondent has) been filled with the spirit and that God has given (the respondent) at least one of the gifts of the Spirit, such as tongues, prophecy or healing.’
Charismatic gifts are real The higher instance of speaking in tongues experienced by baby boomers did nothing to affect the decline in belief by age that ‘charismatic gifts... are valid and active today.’ For young adult Christians, aged 18-25, 56% believe charismatic gifts are real. 49% of Christians aged 26-44, believed in tongues, healing or prophecy. Only 44% of Christian baby boomers believed, compared with only 39% of those aged 65 and older. In a separate question, Christians were asked to answer true or false: ‘there is not and has never been such a thing as the gift of tongues.’ Those aged over 45 were half as likely again to answer that tongues had never existed, although the percentage was still surprisingly low at 13%.
he stereotype of the benefitgrabbing, ‘live for the moment’ teens at the bottom end of society is a familiar one. But, a face-to-face and telephone survey of 100 young people by the Rathbone Youth Charity indicates that most of Britain’s young people are planning their future properly and are desperate to work – even if it’s just for the minimum wage. Rathbone is one of the largest independent providers of education and training in the tertiary sector; the focus of their work is with young people facing great personal challenges in terms of their learning and social support needs. This study demolishes the pretence that young people are obsessed by celebrity and shows that many teens are entrepreneurial, practical and interested in serving society in roles such as nursery nurse, soldier and youth worker. 8
Quadrant July 2010
continued from page 1
Interesting demographic segment
Small minority ‘wanted to be pop stars’
The life and times Spirit of of Pre-Family Man the Age
The research was undertaken among 14-21 year olds who have confronted problems such as chaotic home lives, poverty and unemployment in deprived areas throughout the country. Despite the difficulties they’d experienced, youngsters revealed they were ambitious and willing to work their way up the career ladder with over the substantial majority (90%) prepared to take a job at the lowest legal wage. When asked which profession they would most like to pursue, a very small minority wanted to be pop stars or footballers while the jobs young people most aspired to were youth worker, office worker and car mechanic.
Anxious to achieve Paul Fletcher, Rathbone Director for Policy said: ‘Our survey showed that far from being lazy and unrealistic, these young people were levelheaded and anxious to achieve. At a time when we have many arts graduates but very few affordable plumbers, we need to encourage this generation to prove themselves. That might be by giving them a taste of the workplace or by offering incentives to small businesses to take on more apprentices.’
Personal pride Personal pride was exposed through the survey and when questioned on who in the world they would most like to be, the most popular answer from respondents was: ‘myself!’ The idea of being famous was rejected by almost three quarters of those questioned because they felt it would take away personal privacy and was generally too harassing. Of all the respondents, the highest recorded wage was for a business administration apprentice who earned £95 per week. The young people’s perspective on work and ambition was summed-up by an 18 year old young man from Bradford who said: ‘I’m training to be a car mechanic at college because it’s a great job to do. I also like being me – but I wouldn’t mind Richard Branson’s wage!’
own stages, behaviours and characteristics – and PFM is fast becoming one of the most significant segments of the population in the UK.
Hedonism v Responsibility
here are 2.7 million of them in the UK. They’ve left higher education and they’re not ready to start a family. They are in pursuit of love and independence, desperate to stay in touch with their closest friends and ambitious for a meaningful career. Pre-Family Man (PFM) hectically manages hedonism, responsibility and change.
So, how do PFMs plot a route through their lives? Microsoft has sponsored an in-depth research study focussing on the life and times of the PFM. One thousand men were questioned about fun, friends, home, possessions, love, money, careers, cleaning, cooking, spending, communicating, nights in and nights out – among other topics. The survey elicited the fact that digital technology influences PFMs across the whole spectrum of their lives, even in their closest relationships. One in three PFMs have had a date with someone they first met online while the same proportion have argued with their partners about their online or gaming use! Even creating meals requires digital resources: 45% of PFMs look up recipes and cooking information online every month. With the average age for becoming a father now 32, many will stay PreFamily Men for a decade. What was once a short transitional phase is now a longer period of change – with its
The life of PFM involves maintaining a balance between hedonism and responsibility. While he may leave university with a vision of what he wants from life, reality dawns as he gets older and his focus transfers to short-term, more achievable goals. This is reflected in his attitude towards the following top priorities:
Love and Money One is the thing he values most; the other the thing he most wants to improve.
taly is holding its first divorce fair, offering life coaching and beauty advice to a booming number of separating couples in the Catholic country. Organizers say the fair helps divorcing people start a new, happier life. Echoing other European countries, fairgoers can also subscribe to department store divorce gift lists.
Fun anywhere, anytime Pre-Family Man has a knack for finding fun wherever he is, using technology as an enabler and increasingly blurring the lines between work and leisure time: Emailing and Twittering bring fun and friends into the office throughout the day; smartphones keep him on top of work at home or in the pub.
Always on call Email is highly valued for fun as well as function: organising social life, bantering with close friends and forwarding content: 98% use email weekly; 76% use social networks weekly; 76% watch online video at least once a week.
Career and Home Career and home life both matter a great deal to Pre-Family Man, with technology increasingly blurring the boundaries between the two. Although it is, of course, necessary to be circumspect when the results of a Microsoft sponsored survey demonstrate the importance of digital technology, it is clear that anyone wishing to communicate with Pre-Family Men would be foolish to ignore the online channels.
man living in sheltered housing since being badly beaten in a street attack has been asked to remove his doormat, because it ‘could cause risk to life’. Wrekin Housing Trust said that pictures and a net curtain, put up to make his flat homely, would have to go too, as they were a fire hazard.
olicemen in Greater Manchester have been issued with cereal boxes and packets of tea bags emblazoned with motivational messages such as ‘putting people first’ and ‘start your day the citizenfocused way’.
GCSE religious studies exam included a section entitled ’Christmas’, which asked students to identify the two figures beside the crib in a Nativity scene.
Roman Catholic church in Suffolk has funded its new confession box through corporate sponsorship. Bookmakers Paddy Power paid £10,000 to have its logo on the confessional at Our Lady and St Etheldreda church in the horse-racing town of Newmarket, after it was approached by the parish priest. The box has green curtains with the Paddy Power logo and the words “Sin Bin” on the outside. Jockey Frankie Dettori, who was married in the church, officially opened the confessional and made the first confession.
Quadrant July 2010
Mapping the state of need
Understanding Britain’s unmet needs
Many of us feel we ‘need’ a new car or a holiday. But ‘needs’ are defined in this research as socially recognised needs that can make a legitimate claim on others, whether through charitable giving or public support. These tend to be needs for things which help people avoid unnecessary harm and suffering. The Foundation’s research indicates that the public also think of ‘need’ in this way and most recognise that psychological wellbeing is as important as material prosperity. There is no simple hierarchy of needs: in some circumstances for some people, a mobile phone may be a higher priority than a square meal.
Who needs help now?
he Young Foundation undertook a series of studies between 2007 and 2009 with the objective of mapping the state of need in the UK. By using a wide range of research tools and combining national analysis with local case studies, the Foundation has an overview of where the most acute needs are and which needs may become more pressing in the future. The work looks at why some people can cope with shocks and setbacks and others can’t, and at the implications for policy, philanthropy and public action.
The current position Recent years have seen some advancement in how needs are met, for example a reduction in child and pensioner poverty, a narrowing of the gap between richer and poorer geographical areas and between schools in richer and poorer areas. But inequalities of health, wealth and income have widened. A substantial minority of teenagers (one in eight) remain disconnected from the education system and the labour market. Over two and a half million people remain on incapacity benefit as well as employment and support
allowance. The very poorest have seen their living standards stagnate and, in some cases, even decline. The recession has raised unemployment, put downward pressure on many incomes and, as was recently confirmed, there will soon be deep cuts in public spending many of which are likely to affect the poorest most.
The support structure People meet their needs through four main routes: buying goods and services (such as food and housing) through the market; receiving services (like healthcare) from government; getting support from charities, for example homeless shelters or drugs treatment; and relying on family members and friends. These routes overlap and are of very different scales. The size of the UK economy is around £1,300bn in total. Government spending for 2010-11 is planned to be £696bn. In contrast, total charity income is around £34bn and total foundation spending around £3.5-4bn. There are, roughly, as many hours of unpaid work as paid work each year in the UK, mainly within the family.
Needs can be measured in various ways. Material deprivation is much less prevalent than in the past. Some older people still get sick and 350 die each year because of poor nutrition. Although the numbers are much reduced, some still sleep rough on city streets, and have a life expectancy around age 42. Some have to survive on very little money – asylum seekers get £5 a day. Debt has always been a fear for poor families and communities, and recent years have seen a worsening incidence of unmanageable debt (a psychological problem as well as an economic one). There are also important psychosocial needs – some people have no one to talk to about important issues or even day-to-day matters. The research shows that a million people have no-one to turn to and no-one who appreciates them. The groups most likely to have acute and persistent needs include the unemployed, lone parents, those living with disabilities, half a million irregular migrants, 140,000 child runaways and a third of a million problematic drug users.
Future needs The Young Foundation’s research indicates that the likely future trends include: a long period of constrained public spending; an ageing population requiring significantly more care and healthcare; a generation of teenagers facing even more difficult transitions thanks to the economic climate; and the effects of global phenomena such as climate change and rising fuel and
food prices. Some less appreciated trends include worsening levels of stress and anxiety: anxiety and depression looks set to double during the course of a single generation. The family will continue to be an area of challenge – from ‘children having children’ to a growing number of adults wanting to have children but being unable to do so.
What now? Most people in Britain live pleasant and fulfilling lives and believe that they live in strong and supportive communities. Most are safer from crime and violence than they were a decade ago. But if Britain is not really a ‘broken’ society, it could be said to be brittle, with numerous fractures and many people left behind. From analysis of the research findings, the Young Foundation recommends seven broad directions for change. 1 Provide preparation, bridges and support for difficult transitions: many of the worst clusters of need are the result of difficult transitions. 2 Isolation – help to connect the disconnected: loneliness has become a harsh feature of a more individualistic society. 3 Provide access with ‘no wrong door’: people often access services that are not the right ones for meeting their underlying need. 4 Enhance resilience and psychological fitness: resilience to shocks and setbacks matters and can be influenced. 5 Rethink welfare provision through the lens of wellbeing: addressing the most important risks that individuals and families cannot deal with on their own. 6 Focus on new and old necessities: over time many items move from being luxuries to become necessities. 7 Invest in better social accounts: the UK publishes regular economic accounts, but not comparable social accounts.
Christian communities are recognised for addressing some of their local and global needs. This research makes it abundantly clear that there is still considerable scope for more to be achieved.
Quadrant July 2010
Living in a co-operative society plants has halved over thirty years, over thirty million people now take in parcels for their neighbour! We see our neighbours less, but we like them more. We see them as more sociable, caring and friendly although, sadly, we also see them as more nosy. The report also finds that, if a couple want to become closer to their neighbours, having two children is the ideal way to do so. Fewer than two and the neighbours keep their distance; more than two and neighbours become too curious for comfort.
Do we love our neighbours? D
o our neighbours really matter to us? We often read about problem neighbours and noisy neighbours. In today’s world it’s all too easy to assume that friends are more central to our lives than neighbours and that, just as we choose what to wear, we choose who we want to be in contact with.
Although, culturally, many of us seem to be increasingly itinerant, in terms of house and home little has changed. One in three people live in the same town in which they grew up and a further one in three live within fifty miles. While it is easy to take cooperation with others for granted, there is a growing body of evidence that if we get on better with those who live around us, we are happier and healthier ourselves. A comprehensive review, for example, led by Nobel Prize winning economists Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz, in 2009 showed that the more people get to know their neighbours, the lower the levels of crime are in their area. They suggested that while it’s not essential to have a neighbourhood watch in your local area, you do need to know who your neighbours are. Similarly, they argued, children thrive more, and schools fail less, in areas where neighbours get on.
Researching neighbours. Findings such as Sen and Stiglitz’s have served to inspire research on what
makes for a good neighbourhood, and what makes for a good neighbour. Academics have created conceptual frameworks for research, such as ‘social capital’ and, more recently, ‘social network’ analysis. Debate in the media on neighbourliness, (how well we get on with those next door), has tended to concentrate on problem neighbours, since antisocial behaviour and disputes do make good stories. Perhaps as a result, recent years have seen a number of one-off opinion polls on whether we are neighbourly or not and which places are the best and worst for neighbour relations. A recent YouGov online survey for Cooperatives UK is fundamentally different from the one-off polls because it provides a comparison of how the UK has changed in terms of the relationship people have with their neighbours across almost thirty years. The original survey was run by MORI in 1982, reported in the Sunday Times and fed into a landmark study – Co-operation: the basis of sociability, written by Professor Michael Argyle (published by Routledge). By comparing data from 1982 and 2010, Co-operatives UK have been able to draw a rigorous and comprehensive picture of the change in the state of neighbours in the UK over this time and better understand what we see today.
Less neighbourly but no less caring There are some positive signs. The number of people willing to keep an eye on the elderly or disabled in their neighbourhood has risen, and part-time workers are increasingly important pillars of their community. Overall, however, the study presents a picture of Britain becoming a fragmented society of individuals who know fewer people well — whether neighbours or friends — and are frightened of speaking to strangers. Meanwhile, the number of people who say they suffer from loneliness has more than doubled. The UK is half as neighbourly as it was three decades ago: The ‘Good Neighbour Index’ that the researchers have developed is based on the total number of people helped by their neighbours divided by the number whose neighbours have given them problems. On this index, the UK is less than half as neighbourly in 2010 as it was in 1982. In 1982, the majority would speak to their neighbours at least once a day and would know the names of six more neighbours than we do today. In comparison, in 2010, the majority of us speak to our neighbours less than once a week. Overall, the number of neighbours willing to help out is no less than three decades ago. There are new ways to be a good neighbour. While the number of people looking after neighbours’ pets or
Across the UK, there are thought to be at least twenty one million conversations taking place each day between neighbours. Fourteen million people drop round for a chat with their neighbour and one in four people keep a spare key with the neighbours. On average, we know the names of about seven people who live in our direct neighbourhood – with women knowing one more on average than men. The UK already has a ‘big society’ of neighbours looking out for each other. A significant number of people take steps to keep an eye on someone else in the neighbourhood who is elderly or disabled – 26% keep an eye on non-relatives and 11% keep an eye on relatives (compared with 6% in 1982). The majority of those who have been widowed (78%) or who are separated or divorced (66%) describe their neighbours as ‘friendly’. People are twice as good at helping out now as they were in 1982 – for example with small bits of DIY when there is a widow next door.
Everybody needs good neighbours The ‘index’ of neighbourliness has declined significantly over almost three decades. Changing patterns of work, tenure, travel and household composition have all, no doubt, contributed to that. But, despite all of this, we are mostly still ‘good neighbours’ and the reciprocity of contact, conversation and assistance across the garden fence or front drive is still a major driver for cooperation and trust in Britain today. This research confirms that it may not be absolutely necessary to love your neighbour, but it certainly helps to get on.
Quadrant July 2010
Benchmarking Church of England Dioceses A
wide-ranging Diocesan Benchmarking Study prepared by one of Europe’s largest accounting firms, Mazars, for the Church of England, reveals that Anglican diocesan finances are finely balanced, with unrestricted incomes and unrestricted expenditures standing at £388 million and £384 million respectively. Dioceses have an average of 3.2 months of free reserves – which, by the standards of the charity sector, Mazars consider to be relatively low – with 10 dioceses having one month in reserve or less.
issues. It emerged that two-thirds (66%) of income is devoted to clergy employment and housing costs. In addition, diocesan boards are shown to be considerably larger than the norm for the charity sector as a whole.
The study also considered clergy and lay staff numbers and governance
In this benchmarking study, Mazars identified three key themes:
Free reserves expressed as months’ unrestricted expenditure (unrestricted funds) 16 14
Number of Dioceses
Average 3.2 months
10 8 6 4 2 0
• Diocesan finances are finely balanced. It is well known that many dioceses are working to achieve a balanced budget on unrestricted funds, at a time of pressure on the collection of parish share and increases in the cost of providing clergy pension benefits. The analysis emphasises the importance of a balanced budget as deficits will be difficult to sustain. • On average there are 40 lay staff supporting 200 clergy and 180 clergy per million people in the diocese, with each clergy member responsible for 1.7 parishes. Mazars ask what changes in working practice could reduce the proportion of lay staff and enable individual clergy to support a higher population and, furthermore, they wonder what the impact of such changes would be on parishes, dioceses, staff and clergy. • The average trustee board is 28 members, of whom 16 are elected, nine are members ex officio and three are co-opted to bring specialist skills and experience. These boards are said to be large in relation to other charities of a similar complexity because of the number who are elected to allow representation. The authors of the study ask whether smaller boards would be better placed to address the financial challenges which dioceses face. This is the first such study which was extracted from financial statements. Mazars recognise that the benchmarking indices in this study are quantitative and not qualitative and are now considering what other benchmarks would be relevant in future analyses, whether quantitative or qualitative. Suggestions would, we’re sure, be welcomed.
ccording to a survey from Mayo Clinic and Microsoft, nearly one-third of respondents said they spend more time ‘keeping information organized’ than they do finding answers to health questions or dealing with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. (PRNewswire/iconoculture)
ver 40% of Americans believe Jesus will return by 2050. (Pew Research)
ccording to projections by the Office of National Statistics, there will be 9% fewer teenagers in Britain in 2017 than there are today. The number of British teenagers studying a modern language has fallen by a third since 2004. (The Times)
ritons spend an average of 49 hours a year talking about the weather – or six months in a lifetime. (The Daily Mail)
he UK has the worst child mortality rate in Western Europe. For every 1,000 children born here, an average of 5.3 die before the age of five – nearly twice as many as Sweden or Iceland. The reasons include rising obesity, increased use of IVF and the trend for having children later. (The Lancet)
lmost 27,000 babies were born to women over 40 last year, up from 9,336 in 1989. (The Guardian)
graduates leave university each year, double the number in the 1990s, but even in a good year, there are no more than 150,000 graduate jobs. (The Independent) With thanks to The Week
Cartoon by Dave Walker/www.cartoonchurch.com
Quadrant July 2010
Language tensions in Church and State in Belgium
Belgium: language, faith, and a divided nation he federal Kingdom of Belgium (population of 10,827,500 on 1 January 2010) takes over the presidency of the EU on the 1 July. Following on the heels of the Spanish presidency in the first half of this year and anticipating the presidency of Hungary during the first half of 2011, Belgium’s priorities for EU policy will focus on the economic crisis, climate change and EU security. Belgium has worked hard to sound out its public about their expectations and criticisms of European integration. Discussion focused in five areas: economy, employment and social policy; health, environment and energy; justice and security; citizenship, culture and education; and Europe in the world.
However, Belgium’s presidency of the EU is likely to be marked by its internal linguistic divisions. Dutch is spoken in the northern region of Flanders and in Brussels. French is spoken in Wallonia and Brussels. Approximately 59% of Belgians are Dutch-speaking, 40% French-speaking and 1% German-speaking. Eighty-five percent of Brussels’ residents are French-speaking. Deepseated tensions exist between these
uadrant ISSN 1351–9220.
Editor: Graham Sharp (email@example.com) Editorial board: Benita Hewitt, Revd Stephen Beer Design & Reproduction: Beta Graphic Limited
linguistic communities. A 2008 Ifop opinion poll for Le Soir and La Voix du Nord reported that 49% of French-speaking Belgians were ready to unite with France if Belgium were to divide along linguistic lines. In the regions of France bordering Belgium, 60% of French citizens favored unification.
These tensions sometimes spill over into church relations. During early 2009, Roman Catholic clergy and politicians in Flanders protested against an official bilingual campaign to publicise the anniversary celebrations of a bilingual archdiocese. De Standaard reported on 29 January 2009 that 54 priests had campaigned for single-language only publicity. Despite such protests the Catholic Church, representing a majority of the population, favours the continuance of a federal Belgium. The smaller United Protestant Church (UPC), established in 1979, takes a similar view.
humanism is also recognised as a specific group although many Evangelical, Baptist and Pentecostal denominations are officially defined as ‘cults’. A 1997 Parliamentary Commission identified just under 200 such groups as ‘cults’. These groups receive no state subsidies and have no legal status. The UPC counts 50,000 members whilst Greater Europe Mission researchers estimated a total of 30,000 ‘believers’ in 2007 across the Christian traditions, including the evangelical wing of the UPC. Sunday Mass attendance in the Catholic Churches is estimated variously at between 4-7% of the population whilst a 2008 SONECOM poll found 43% of Belgians describing themselves as ‘Roman Catholic’.
Belgium officially recognises the Roman Catholic, Protestant, Anglican, and Orthodox churches, as well as Judaism and Islam. Secular
A 2006 Ipsos study for Le Soir and De Standaard revealed that 60% of Belgians accepted the presence of religious symbols in the public space.
Nearly 59% suggested ‘that one can criticise religions’ whilst respecting ‘religious convictions’. Almost a quarter (23%) stated that ‘one cannot criticise’ religions, while 16% were comfortable with all and any criticisms of religion.
Struggle for the church It remains a struggle for the churches of Belgium to witness to the essential theological vision that in Christ there is neither ‘Flemish’ nor ‘Walloon’ particularly where pushed to the margins as ‘cults’. Their witness in the public square is unlikely to be taken seriously by the secular authorities and therefore it is all the more important for the officially recognised churches to bear an authentic and vital testimony to the power of the Gospel. Revd Dr Darrell Jackson, Director, Nova Research Centre, Redcliffe College. firstname.lastname@example.org
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