Monthly Archives: February 2008

Stations of the Cross


The Ballad of Ronnie Drew

Great video in tribute to Ronnie Drew of the Dubliners. Watch the very end, and you’ll see the one and only Glen Hasnard phoning in his portion of the song from eastern europe.

A Wake Up Call?

Americans switching faiths

(AP) — The U.S. religious marketplace is extremely volatile,
with nearly half of American adults leaving the faith tradition of
their upbringing to either switch allegiances or abandon religious
affiliation altogether, a new survey finds.

The study released Monday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public
Life is unusual for it sheer scope, relying on interviews with more
than 35,000 adults to document a diverse and dynamic U.S. religious

While much of the study confirms earlier findings —
mainline Protestant churches are in decline, non-denominational
churches are gaining and the ranks of the unaffiliated are growing —
it also provides a deeper look behind those trends, and of smaller
religious groups.

“The American religious economy is like a
marketplace — very dynamic, very competitive,” said Luis Lugo,
director of the Pew Forum. “Everyone is losing, everyone is gaining.
There are net winners and losers, but no one can stand still. Those
groups that are losing significant numbers have to recoup them to stay

The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey estimates the
United States is 78 percent Christian and about to lose its status as a
majority Protestant nation, at 51 percent and slipping.

than one-quarter of American adults have left the faith of their
childhood for another religion or no religion at all, the survey found.
Factoring in moves from one stream or denomination of Protestantism to
another, the number rises to 44 percent.

One in four adults ages 18 to 29 claim no affiliation with a religious institution.

“In the past, certain religions had a real holding power, where people
from one generation to the next would stay,” said Penn State University
sociologist Roger Finke, who consulted in the survey planning. “Right
now, there is a dropping confidence in organized religion, especially
in the traditional religious forms.”

Lugo said the 44 percent figure is “a very conservative estimate,” and more research is planned to determine the causes.

“It does seem in keeping with the high tolerance among Americans for
change,” Lugo said. “People move a lot, people change jobs a lot. It’s
a very fluid society.”

The religious demographic benefiting the
most from this religious churn is those who claim no religious
affiliation. People moving into that category outnumber those moving
out of it by a three-to-one margin.

The majority of the
unaffiliated — 12 percent of the overall population — describe their
religion as “nothing in particular,” and about half of those say faith
is at least somewhat important to them. Atheists or agnostics account
for 4 percent of the total population.

The Roman Catholic Church
has lost more members than any faith tradition because of affiliation
swapping, the survey found. While nearly one in three Americans were
raised Catholic, fewer than one in four say they’re Catholic today.
That means roughly 10 percent of all Americans are ex-Catholics.

The share of the population that identifies as Catholic, however, has
remained fairly stable in recent decades thanks to an influx of
immigrant Catholics, mostly from Latin America. Nearly half of all
Catholics under 30 are Hispanic, the survey found.

On the
Protestant side, changes in affiliation are swelling the ranks of
nondenominational churches, while Baptist and Methodist traditions are
showing net losses.

Many Americans have vague denominational
ties at best. People who call themselves “just a Protestant,” in fact,
account for nearly 10 percent of all Protestants.

evangelical churches strive to win new Christian believers from the
“unchurched,” the survey found most converts to evangelical churches
were raised Protestant.

Hindus claimed the highest retention of
childhood members, at 84 percent. The group with the worst retention is
one of the fastest growing — Jehovah’s Witnesses. Only 37 percent of
those raised in the sect known for door-to-door proselytizing said they
remain members.

Among other findings involving smaller religious
groups, more than half of American Buddhists surveyed were white, and
most Buddhists were converts.

More people in the survey pool
identified themselves as Buddhist than Muslim, although both
populations were small — less than 1 percent of the total population.
By contrast, Jews accounted for 1.7 percent of the overall population.

The self-identified Buddhists — 0.7 percent of those surveyed —
illustrate a core challenge to estimating religious affiliation: What
does affiliation mean?

It’s unclear whether people who called
themselves Buddhists did so because they practice yoga or meditation,
for instance, or claim affiliation with a Buddhist institution.

The report does not project membership figures for religious groups, in
part because the survey is not as authoritative as a census and didn’t
count children, Lugo said. The U.S. Census does not ask questions on

More on Glen

Here’s a video of Glen, Marketa and the lads of ‘The Frames’ (the band glen is part of) performing their version of “Falling Slowly.”

Also, here’s Glen and Marketa’s acceptance speeches from the Oscars:

Glen Hansard:
Thanks! This is amazing. What are we doing
here? This is mad. We made this film two years ago. We shot on two
Handycams. It took us three weeks to make. We made it for a hundred
grand. We never thought we would come into a room like this and be in
front of you people. It’s been an amazing thing. Thanks for taking this
film seriously, all of you. It means a lot to us. Thanks to the
Academy, thanks to all the people who’ve helped us, they know who they
are, we don’t need to say them. This is amazing. Make art. Make art.

Marketa Irglova:
Hi everyone. I just
want to thank you so much. This is such a big deal, not only for us,
but for all other independent musicians and artists that spend most of
their time struggling, and this, the fact that we’re standing here
tonight, the fact that we’re able to hold this, it’s just to prove no
matter how far out your dreams are, it’s possible. And, you know, fair
play to those who dare to dream and don’t give up. And this song was
written from a perspective of hope, and hope at the end of the day
connects us all, no matter how different we are. And so thank you so
much those who helped us along way. Thank you.

2 Happy Thoughts on Oscar’s

Ok, two things about the Oscars then I have to finish my term paper for CM115.

1. It was awesome to spot my old friend John Mclaughlin in the crowd early in the show. THEN, to watch him perform a song he sang in Disney’s “Enchanted!”

I was elated when they won. This movie is one of my top fav. and the soundtrack is always on at our home.

Ok, that’s it…back to work.


Ok, not to freak anyone out or anything. But last night I was studying for a Greek vocab test. In the midst of that, I was talking with mel and suddenly my head hurt then I couldn’t remember anything from the day. Mel helped me recall details from the day, but it took awhile for the headache to go away, and bits and pieces of my memory are still missing.

Stupidly, I took the vocab test this morning and blew it (I’m still doing well in the class overall), which sucks because I spent so long studying. I’m heading to the doctor to see what could be going on as this has happened a few times now.

Animals Disappearing

Weird science news. NPR reported on the 19th that there’s a major threat to the bat population in the Northwest. Biologists are “scrambling” to get a grasp on what’s happening and warn that it could mean the end of bats in the Northeast. Then, today, NPR said that jackrabbits have vanished from Yellowstone National Park.

The dangers of disappearing bats means a whole lot of trouble to local farmers. Bats keep bugs, beetles and insects under control and without them it could mean disaster for that ecosystem.

What the heck is going on? You ever get that feeling like there’s a major shift afoot?