Church and Beer - so what?

Russell Powell

Let's start the week's news round up with the weird - a study in the US shows people tweet more about church than beer... I mean, who studies these things? And anyway, so what?

It was a story from a website called I'm not sure why, but they are a group of academics devoted to "mapping and analyzing user generated geocoded data. The results provide one glimpse of what internet users (in the aggregate) think about particular places." OK. But why beer and churches? 

One twitter user said "the silliest thing about this is that the words "beer" & "church" were picked to exemplify 'an American cultural divide'." Read the interesting analysis at CNN and the Texan take at the Houston Chronicle.

Enough of such frippery.

There are serious stories this week.

The Episcopal church in the US and the Church of England have both been on show with General convention and General Synod respectively. Looking on, the media has reported them as either waning or wacky, or both.

TEC has agreed to bless same sex unions, despite the courageous stand of the few orthodox left in the organisation. Small wonder beliefnet ran this piece, headlined Why is the Episcopal Church near collapse?

In England, it was Bishop Peter Price who provided material for the media to lampoon, telling Synod the rioters in London last year were having 'a spiritual experience'. Whatever point he was trying to make was lost in the laughter. George Conger has a good take on Price's comments (or the media's interpretation of them) at Get Religion.

Other things worth reading this week are the Australian's coverage on belief in the inner city (sorry about the paywall, you'll only be able to read it if you subscribe), the pastor jailed in Arizona for having Bible studies at his home (more coverage here) and the SMH's Elizabeth Farrelly on the city's newest church. I disagree with just about everything she says, but at least she's made Barney's a talking point and there are some nice pictures.