"The Lord views Sabbath observance as a path toward spiritual joy and pleasure and He desires for us to approach Sabbath observance with an attitude of delightful enjoyment. [We] can learn from our Jewish friends about how to make the Sabbath a delight by together choosing ways to make it special, joyous, spiritual and peaceful."
David Dollahite reads the article, "Sabbath Observance: Families Can Learn to Make the Sabbath 'A Delight'" which was originally published in Church News on December 23, 2015.
Seven Jewish-inspired ideas to help us more fully delight in the Sabbath.
Loren Marks reads the article, "Making the Sabbath a Delight: Seven Lessons from Strong Jewish Families" which was originally published in Meridian Magazine on February 20, 2018.
"Youth and young adults are very interested in talking with their parents about spiritual and religious matters—especially if parents are willing to actually have a conversation rather than another “parent-preaching” session."
David Dollahite reads the article, "How to Have a Positive Religious Conversation with Your Youth" which was originally published in Meridian Magazine on January 23, 2018.
"Religion both generates and helps with what we call relational struggles in families. ...In this article, we investigate...the first half of this duality—that religion is associated with (and may even create) several relational struggles and problems when we do not live our faith out wisely."
Loren Marks reads the article, "Understanding the Relationship Struggles in Religious Households" which was originally published in Meridian Magazine on April 4, 2018.
"As people abandon religious institutions, they start expecting romantic relationships to satisfy a host of needs that formerly were satisfied through religion."
David Dollahite reads the article, "The Burdensome Myth of Romantic Love" which was originally published in First Things on February 14, 2018.
"More than 100 years after family home evening was conceived, it has taken on new relevance in a modern, fast-paced culture. ... [interview participants] routinely brought up the difficulties of maintaining familial closeness as technology and media have hastened the pace of life."
David Dollahite reads the article, "Mormons’ Weekly Family Ritual Is an Antidote to Fast-Paced Living" which was originally published in The Atlantic on March 29, 2018.
“What does the practice of hijab (or veiling) mean to Muslims in the United States? ...In a spirit of fostering awareness, understanding, and respect for those of another faith, we share with you what our interview participants themselves entrusted to us, in their own voices."
Loren Marks reads the article, "Behind the Veil: Meanings of Hijab for Muslim Wives and Husbands in the United States" which was originally published in Meridian Magazine on July 16, 2018.
"When Father’s Day rolls around each year, we think about what to get dad—what gift to offer our father. Advertisements abound for the perfect gift: a cool tie; something related to his favorite hobby; a barbeque so he can grill up burgers and steaks; and many others. Those kinds of gifts are fine. But I want to suggest something different."
David Dollahite reads the article, "A Meaningful Gift for Your Father" which was originally published in Meridian Magazine on June 13, 2018.
"Drawing from the diverse families who taught us, we explore, explain, and illustrate why sacred family rituals matter, with the hope that your family and ours will more effectively harness this power in our own homes and families."
Loren Marks reads the article, "The Abiding Power of Sacred Family Rituals" which was originally published in Meridian Magazine on August 16, 2018.
"We’ve all heard that familiar saying, “the family that prays together, stays together.” How does the nature and experience of family prayer create strong families? What can we learn from families that pray together?"
David Dollahite reads the article, "Family Prayer: A Sacred Time and A Sacred Space – Findings from a National Study" which was originally published in Meridian Magazine on March 24, 2019.
"[We asked religious Christian, Muslim, and Jewish parents of adolescents], “What do you consider to be the most important things for you to be or do as a mother/father of faith?” [We found] that both mothers and fathers have similar desires to be good examples. Mothers and fathers of faith both reportedly rely on their religion to show them what (and how) they should try to be. Parents reportedly strived to model their relationship with their children in a manner consistent with their belief in God. Many reportedly drew on a commitment to God and their religious faith as a guide for what they should be as parents. Parents expressed their desires to be consistent examples and to live so that what they taught their children was demonstrated in their own behavior. Parents not only wanted to teach their children about their religious beliefs, they also reportedly strived to become models of what they were teaching their children."
Loren Marks reads the article, "What Religious Parents Say Matters Most in Raising Faithful Children" which was originally published in Meridian Magazine on October 18, 2018.
"In reference to those of different faiths, President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “Look for their strengths and their virtues, and you will find strength and virtues that will be helpful in your own life.” In striving to live a good, faithful life and foster loving family relationships in an ever-changing world, there is indeed much strength and virtue that we can gain from our Jewish friends and their examples."
David Dollahite reads the article, "What We Can Learn from ritual and Tradition in American Jewish Families" which was originally published in Meridian Magazine on September 23, 2019.
"Over the past 25 years, we have interviewed more than 300 diverse fathers about the challenges and blessings of striving to be a faithful father. From thousands of pages of transcriptions and field notes we have gleaned 10 insights that have left us pondering the world’s most profound job: that of parent."
Loren Marks reads the article, "Faithful Fathering: Ten Narratives of Wisdom from Fathers of Different Faiths" which was originally published in Meridian Magazine on June 13, 2019.
"The research . . . suggests evidence-based best practices for effectively integrating faith and family life, including religious-spiritual authenticity, nurturing parent-child relationships, balancing religious firmness and flexibility, and encouraging youth to have spiritual experiences, sacrifice meaningfully, and pray earnestly—all while parents preach a bit less and listen a bit more."
David Dollahite reads the article, "The Best Practices—and Benefits—of Religious Parenting" which was originally published in Public Discourse on February 6, 2020.
"In December, articles and blogs address various aspects of Christmas. We would like to address another important December event for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—tithing settlement. While few people have as many positive nostalgic memories of tithing settlement as they do of Christmas, there are profound spiritual aspects of tithing as a way of giving back to God in gratitude for what God has given us."
Loren Marks reads the article, "Why Do They Tithe? Perspectives on Giving Back to God" which was originally published in Meridian Magazine on December 10, 2019.
"Catholic thinker Michael Novak locates the myth of romantic love in our unfulfilled passion. He distinguishes romantic love from an embodied, other-oriented Christian love. But it’s worth exploring the possibility that elements of the same basic human desire lie at the core of both: a deep and abiding need for profound and lasting—indeed eternal—emotional and spiritual intimacy, the dream of shared meaning and unified fulfillment of our deepest hopes with the “one.”"
David Dollahite reads the article, "Romantic Love and Religion—A Match Made by Heaven?" which was originally published in RealClearReligion on February 14, 2020.
"For two decades, we have interviewed religious wives and husbands in long-term happy marriages and we asked them how they kept their love alive. We heard relational and religious answers that reflected a variety of wisdom.
"Like most Americans of our generations (X and the Boomers), we also grew up hearing the voices of classic rock and roll. Rock also has its own kind of wisdom about keeping love alive—though often profane and crass—and it too enshrines a kind of sacred quest for Everlasting Love. On Valentine’s Day these two visions of love collide, converge, and clash in unique and surprising ways."
Loren Marks reads the article, "Rock and Religion: The Pursuit of Everlasting Love" which was originally published in Public Square Magazine on February 13, 2020.
"Religious gatherings often bring a sense of peace and safety, but in this case religious gatherings can spread the very virus everyone hopes they and their loved ones will avoid. Whether you believe that houses of worship should remain open during this trying time, or that they should close, our research has found that meaningful religious practice at home is both possible and beautiful."
David Dollahite reads the article, "Apocalyptic Fear and Authentic Faith" which was originally published in MecatorNet on March 25, 2020.
"A large body of social science research indicates that high levels of healthy religiosity provide many personal and relational benefits that merely nominal levels of religious belief and involvement does not. To settle for the dangerous single story that religion is bad may be at least as unfortunate as the provincial narrative that religion is an unmitigated good. Our carefully measured, double story is that high levels of healthy religion is good for America’s families while what James called “sick-souled” religion is bad for everyone."
Loren Marks reads the article, "Healthy Religion is Good for American Families" which was originally published in DeseretNews on February 29, 2020.
"In my experience, both 9/11 and COVID-19 involve grief over profound losses, anxieties and fears about the future, suspicions of others, and divisions across political lines, as well as increased prayers for self and others, increased desire to understand those who are suffering or are different, and greater efforts to build bridges across various divides."
"To encourage hope during these difficult times, I would like to share some personal memories from the first Holy Week following 9/11."
David Dollahite reads the article, "Holy Weeks in the Shadow of Death" which was originally published in RealClearReligion on April 17, 2020.
"The diverse families of faith we have interviewed practiced a wide range of religious rituals and activities at home. These practices reportedly deepened their faith in God and strengthened their sense of connection with their family members. Such patterns of home-based worship take on pointed relevance in our current COVID-19 context where houses of worship have been closed.
"Prayer, studying scripture, singing hymns, lighting candles, discussing spiritual topics, storytelling, a shared meal—all of these shared acts can be elements of family worship. And service to others in the human family comprises yet another way for families to worship God together. "
Loren Marks reads the article, "Genuine Faith Practiced at Home Is a Powerful Antidote to Apocalyptic Fear" which was originally published in Institute for Family Studies on April 2, 2020.
"The term holy envy was developed by the late Krister Stendahl, who was Dean of the Harvard Divinity School and then Church of Sweden Bishop of Stockholm. This concept is core to the multi-faith research my colleagues and I do in the American Families of Faith project.
"At the end of the semester, students write a paper on holy envy. This assignment asks students to “List and briefly discuss the 5 most important, personally meaningful, and/or helpful ideas you learned this semester about how those of other faiths practice their religion about which you felt some kind of holy envy.”
"I would like to share what students in one class from one university learned about one idea: holy envy."
David Dollahite reads the article, "Holy Envy: What We Learn By Studying Other Faiths" which was originally published in RealClearReligion on May 4, 2020.
"The balance between parents’ profound desires for children to remain faithful and their simultaneous desire to honor their children’s agency showed up over and over in our own American Families of Faith project. As we’ve probed deeper into parents’ wishes to have their children remain in their religion, we discovered different ways parents navigated this significant wrestle."
Laura McKeighen reads the article, "Will My Kids Keep the Faith? Parents’ Hopes and Children’s Choices" which was originally published in Public Square Magazine on May 5, 2022.
"Although religious intolerance and marginalization still exist today, research suggests that perhaps one of the most marginalized groups is those who report no religion. Through interviews with 31 nonreligious couples, we investigated what nonreligious parents want religious people to understand about them and their families.
". . . we identified three themes related to what our participants wanted religious people to know: (1) we are good people, good parents, and not that different from you; (2) religion does not equate with morality; and (3) do not judge beliefs, actions are what matter. We identified an additional theme regarding how they would like to convey these and other matters to religious people, that we termed as (4) I do/do not want to talk about religion and here is why."
Laura McKeighen reads the scholarly article, "Perceptions of Nonreligious Parents" which was originally published in Journal of Family Issues on March 4, 2022.
"A sad irony of life in contemporary America is that large numbers of people who devote a great deal of time, effort, and money to get into fictional alternate worlds, while at the same time, most Americans seem unable or unwilling to devote much effort to better understanding the religious worlds of their fellow citizens. Thus, many Americans spend hundreds of hours watching and reading about fictional worlds, yet know very little about the religious worlds of their neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family members.
"This can have real-world consequences. Religious hate crimes, particularly against minority faiths, are increasing. FBI data indicate that hate crimes against Muslims rose 67% between 2014 and 2015 and the first quarter of 2017 showed 541 anti-Semitic incidents including 161 bomb threats. Of course, very few will think about or perpetrate hate crimes, but our qualitative data likewise confirm that many members of religious minorities experience various forms of misunderstanding, bias, and discrimination. Our experience and observations have convinced us that as most people learn about the religious beliefs, practices, cultures, and experiences of their fellow citizens they become better friends, neighbors, and family members."
Loren Marks reads the article, "Strengths in Diverse American Families of Faith" which was originally published in Public Square Magazine on June 17, 2021.
"In this [audio article], we discuss the “inner logic” of religion(s). That is, how religious thinking and acting is important to understand on their own terms and not simply as merely psychological or sociological in nature. Unfortunately, across the social sciences, a typical approach to the study of religion and religions is to reduce religion to sociology or to psychology by imposing sociological or psychological perspectives onto religion."
David Dollahite reads the article, "The Inner Logic of Religion(s)" which was originally published in Public Square Magazine on July 7, 2021.
"Each of the different religious-ethnic communities in the American Families of Faith research project features valued additions via differences in perspective and lived experience. This may be especially true with our Asian American Christian families. When one realizes that in 1989, nearly half of the individuals we interviewed were still living in China during the tragic massacre of the June Fourth Incident at Tiananmen Square, we are reminded of the precious nature of religious and political liberty that Asian Christian immigrants to the United States embody."
Loren Marks reads the article, "Living a New Faith in a New Land" which was originally published in Public Square Magazine on July 20, 2021.
"We find ourselves feeling respect and holy envy for the extensive and explicit efforts of the Catholic and Orthodox Christian faiths as they strive to replace guilt with hope, bitterness with forgiveness, divisiveness with unity, and animosity with atonement."
David Dollahite reads the article, "Catholic and Orthodox Christian Families: Confession and Forgiveness" which was originally published in Public Square Magazine on August 4, 2021.
" . . . we know little about the deeper meanings and processes involved regarding why some Black marriages thrive. Next, we offer a few brief insights gleaned from a recent study entitled, “Weathering the Storm: The Shelter of Faith for Black American Christian Families.” By “giving the mic” to the couples themselves, we are able to uncover some of the underlying reasons for why and how religion reportedly influences many strong Black marriages and families."
Loren Marks reads the article, "Strong Black Families: God, Relationships, and Deep Faith" which was originally published in Public Square Magazine on August 20, 2021.
"We sometimes are asked why we have such appreciation for our Jewish friends and their faith. It is a long story but it starts with the fact that Dave’s godmother is Jewish. When, as an infant, Dave was to be baptized in the Episcopal Church, Dave’s mother, Elizabeth, insisted that his godmother be her best friend Ann Scinski. This was despite the fact that Father Ewald, the priest who baptized Dave, insisted that only a baptized and confirmed Christian could be a godparent. Elizabeth’s love of Ann and of the Jewish faith influenced Dave throughout his youth."
David Dollahite reads the article, "Jewish Families: How Teachings and Traditions Strengthen Marriage and Family Life" which was originally published in Public Square Magazine on September 14, 2021.
"I(Dave) was raised in a Mainline Protestant Church, Holy Innocents Episcopal Church in Marin County, California. I served as an acolyte (altar boy) for three years (age 9-12) and assisted the Priest by carrying the large wooden and gold cross during the “processional” into the sanctuary at the beginning of the service and the “recessional” out of the church at the end of the service, lighting and extinguishing the candles, and in serving communion. Other than our priest overdoing the incense a bit for my taste/smell, I have very fond memories of those services and of the people I knew in the Episcopal Church."
David Dollahite reads the article, "Mainline Protestant Families : Loving God and Family Members" which was originally published in Public Square Magazine on September 27, 2021.
"According to a 2018 Gallup Poll, about 40% of Americans self-identify as Evangelical or “born again” Christians. American Evangelical Christians generally report that one primary conviction of their faith is a strong belief in the Bible—the Protestant roots of sola scriptura, scriptura sola (“only scripture and scripture alone”). The other deep faith commitment is the striving for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In this article, we explore how these specific aspects of faith among Evangelical Christians reportedly influence their family life and family interactions. "
David Dollahite reads the article, "Evangelical Christian Families – God Wants Us . . . To Be Strong" which was originally published in Public Square Magazine on November 19, 2021.
"A few years before 9-11, a leading religion researcher, the late David Larson referred to religion as “the anti-tenure topic”—the fast track out of a respectable academic job. Despite that danger, we began our work in this area. Overnight, however, fire began to rage and hate crimes against Muslims subsequently increased 1600% from pre-9/11 levels. Rarely, had modern America been further from “Peace, Love, and Understanding.” In the midst of polemics and emotion, careful and moderate scholarship was desperately needed to facilitate authentic tolerance and respect across religious bodies.
"The purpose of this article is to briefly explore how religious beliefs and practices influence family relationships among highly religious Muslims. Our intent is to share their own reports, in their own voices. Our aim is to not only provide information but to foster authentic understanding and respect."
Loren Marks reads the article, "Muslim Families: A Closer Look at Answering to Allah" which was originally published in Public Square Magazine on November 5, 2021.
Latter-day Saint Families: Eternal Perspectives | Audio Article 35"We are professors of family life at BYU and co-directors of the American Families of Faith project. In this article, consistent with articles on the other seven religious-ethnic communities, we share a few quotes drawn from those whom we interviewed. In this essay the quotes center on the eternal nature of life, marriage, and families from persons from our own faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka The Church of Jesus Christ, LDS, Mormon).
"In this essay we turn to our own faith, not to brag but to share a pronounced strength of this faith (to which Dave converted at age 19 and in which Loren was raised). After we share brief narratives from members of some of the 28 LDS families we have interviewed, we will discuss the idea of holy envy, share some thoughts on LDS family life from some respected scholars from various disciplines who are not LDS, and conclude with a few thoughts about the things that we personally find most meaningful about our own faith."
David Dollahite reads the article, "Latter-day Saint Families: Eternal Perspectives" which was originally published in Public Square Magazine on October 11, 2021.
What is Holy Envy and Can It Heal Our World? | Audio Article 36"In 1985, Krister Stendahl, then Lutheran Bishop of Stockholm, stepped to the microphone at a potentially volatile press conference in Stockholm, Sweden, and “offered support for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building a temple there, against which there was growing opposition.” In that watershed moment, when many of his own countrymen and parishioners were angry at the prospect of an “American” church planting their temple on Swedish soil, the wise and gentle Stendahl stood alone and not only called for tolerance, but expressed his own respect for some aspects of Latter-day Saint doctrine and practice and further urged all to leave room for “holy envy” and the honoring of beautiful elements in faith traditions other than their own.
"We concur with Stendahl, later Dean of Harvard Divinity School, that if we follow the better angels of our nature, we will seek ways to honor the best elements of other religions—indeed, that we will look with such depth and consideration that we will develop a little holy envy. We are also convinced that given the cultural climate in which we find ourselves in 2021, it has never been more important to seek to climb over what sociologist Arlie Hochschild (2016) has called “the empathy wall,” the wall that serves as a barrier to empathy for others."
Loren Marks reads the article, "What is Holy Envy and Can It Heal Our World?" which was originally published in Public Square Magazine on December 3, 2021.
Attending Religious Services of Other Faiths | Audio Article 37 "In this essay, I will share some experiences from attending religious services of various faiths and what we learned from those experiences. I focus on worship services and celebrations and what I enjoyed and appreciated most about sharing sacred moments of community with others across a range of world faiths and denominations. I express my appreciation and admiration for the wonderful people of God who welcomed me to their sacred services and thus their sacred ground."
David Dollahite reads the article, "Attending Religious Services of Other Faiths" which was originally published in Public Square Magazine on February 3, 2022.
“Thank You, I’d Be Honored”: Worshipping with Friends of Other Faiths | Audio Article 38 "In my 50 years as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have known and loved persons from a variety of faiths who have influenced my life for good. I have even confessed that during my youth in Oregon, thanks to a wealth of diverse friends, I may have learned more about being a “good Latter-day Saint boy” from those outside of my faith than from those inside my faith.
"Each person we meet has something to teach us. Even occasionally mean-spirited treatment from another person can nurture our own conviction to be kind. It has been my experience that every soul I have taken the time to truly know and love has at least one gift, a unique capacity, a beautiful or delightful aspect of their being that elicits an admiration—a desire for more of “their gift” in my own life."
Loren Marks reads the article, "'Thank You, I’d Be Honored': Worshipping with Friends of Other Faiths" which was originally published in Public Square Magazine on January 21, 2022.
Sacred Experiences with Jewish Friends | Audio Article 39 "In this essay, I share a few experiences my family and I have enjoyed with our Jewish friends in their worship services and holy days in California and in New England. Although these stories are spread across my life, several experiences occurred during visits to synagogues as part of research I conducted on families of various faiths (including 30 Jewish families) for the American Families of Faith project. I begin with my longest and closest relationship with a beloved Jewish person–Ann Scinski."
David Dollahite reads the article, "Sacred Experiences with Jewish Friends" which was originally published in Public Square Magazine on March 14, 2022.