Readers who aren't on George Barna's e-mail list might be interested to know of a recent series of surveys his organization has done on the views and feelings of Christian women.
Many women apparently don't feel as on top of things as they would like to be: 50 percent listed "disorganization" as an area in which they struggle, and "inefficiency" was next at 42 percent, Cartledge writes.
For the purposes of the telephone survey, which included 603 randomly chosen women from the lower 48 states, participants self-identified themselves as Christian, and affirmed that they had attended church at least once on a non-holiday Sunday during the past six months.
Reports on the surveys were divided into four parts:
- How women feel about church and their place in it.
- Christian women's lifestyle priorities and commitments.
- Christian women's sense of their emotional and spiritual health.
- Christian women and issues relative to the upcoming election.
All of the reports make for interesting reading and I will make no attempt to review them all, but I thought a couple of things were particularly interesting from the third report.
First, the Christian women surveyed appear to feel quite good about their spiritual and emotional well-being.
They felt "a lot of" joy (73 percent), spiritual freedom (72 percent) and fulfillment (67 percent), with "some" joy, spiritual freedom and fulfillment nearly filling the scale: only 3 percent rated their joy or spiritual freedom as "not much/none," and just 6 percent gave that response on "fulfillment."
Meanwhile, responses for women in the areas of "fear," "doubt" and "confusion" were almost identical, with only 3 percent of women saying they felt "a lot of" fear, doubt and confusion, 26 percent feeling "some," and 71 percent feeling "not much" or "none."
The results are so overwhelmingly positive that it left me wondering if the respondents really were that happy with their emotional and spiritual health, or if many of them found it hard to answer the questions honestly.
The same survey asked Christian women what they struggle with, and things we normally think of as "temptations" barely made the list.
Many women apparently don't feel as on top of things as they would like to be: 50 percent listed "disorganization" as an area in which they struggle, and "inefficiency" was next at 42 percent.
Thirty-six percent admitted to struggling with anger and 25 percent with selfishness.
Struggles with "excessive arguing" (19 percent) and "arrogance" (16 percent) were next on the list, with "envy" (13 percent) and "lust" (9 percent) hanging out at the bottom.
I suppose the numbers should not be surprising, as women have always tended to be more spiritually minded and concerned about emotional health than men – or that's been my perception, at least.
Most men I know would be hard-pressed to say their greatest emotional or spiritual struggles were to become more organized and efficient.
Tony Cartledge is associate professor of Old Testament at Campbell University Divinity School and contributing editor to Baptists Today, where he blogs.