Catholic News Service: Researcher's advice to pastors: Spend more time on church suppers
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Harvard public policy professor Robert D. Putnam has a tongue-in-cheek suggestion for pastors: "Spend less time on the sermons, and more time arranging the church suppers."
That's because research by Putnam and Chaeyoon Lim, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, shows that the more church friends a person has, the happier he or she is.
"Church friends are super-charged friends, but we have no idea why," Putnam told a Feb. 16 summit on religion, well-being and health at Gallup world headquarters in Washington. "We have some hypotheses, but we don't know for sure."
The researchers found that nonchurch friends do not provide the same benefit in terms of well-being and that other measures of religiosity -- belief in God or frequency of prayer, for example -- do not serve as a reliable predictor of a person's satisfaction with life.
"People who frequently attend religious services are more satisfied with their lives not because they have more friends overall (when compared with individuals who do not attend services) but because they have more friends in their congregations," the two researchers wrote in the American Sociological Review. ...