In The World—December 25, 2016

December 25, 2016 No Comments »
In The World—December 25, 2016

By Melissa Wuske

Americans Believe in Miraculous Healing

About two-thirds (66 percent) of American adults believe that a person can be supernaturally healed by God, according to a Barna research study. Evangelical Christians are the most likely to believe in this kind of healing, with 87 percent strongly agreeing.

“The experience of actual physical healing is, of course, less frequent,” said Roxanne Stone, editor in chief at Barna Group. “Evangelicals in particular are more likely to pray for and believe in miraculous healing than they are to experience it, though this does not appear to effect their belief in its possibility.” Also 68 percent of American adults have prayed for God to heal someone else—more than the proportion (66 percent) who even claim to believe it’s possible.

“Being sick personally or having someone you love face a serious illness is one of the most vulnerable and devastating experiences of a person’s life. It’s a moment that drives many—even those who do not believe in God—to their knees in desperation,” said Stone. “This is an opportunity for church leadership to come alongside people and guide them in these spiritual experiences.”

Hope Despite Governmental Change

In the midst of dramatic growth in the Christian church in Iran, Voice of the Martyrs’ Todd Nettleton reflected on how it occurred: When Ayatollah Khomeini took power in 1979, he made Iran an Islamic Republic. “The government says, ‘We’re doing everything according to Islamic principles.’ So if the government doesn’t work, if there’s still corruption, if there’s still poverty, then that must mean Islam doesn’t work.” As a result, “I’ve heard statistics as high as 70 percent of Iranians have rejected Islam,” Nettleton continued. Many have turned to the truth of the gospel.

Nettleton believes this national change has a message for American Christians: “There are many American Christians who look at what’s happening in our country . . . and they say, ‘Oh no! The government is turning against Christianity, Christian principles are no longer being honored in Washington D.C., what’s going to happen to us?’ . . . The people of Iran would say, ‘Hang on. Serve the Lord, and see what he does. We’re not dependent on the government, we’re dependent on Christ.’”

The Limits of Longevity

The oldest person in modern history, Jeanne Calment, died at 122 in 1997, and average life expectancies are rising in many parts of the world. So how long can a human being live? Dr. Jan Vijg and graduate students Xiao Dong and Brandon Milholland at Albert Einstein College of Medicine tracked life expectancies around the world as well as the fastest growing segment of each population. As life expectancies grew in the last century, the fastest growing populations also became older. But that trend stalled in the mid-1990s, suggesting that humans have reached the upper limits of longevity. The researchers concluded that people like Calment are outliers, rather than an indication of infinitely increasing life expectancies. “We expect that the oldest person alive will be around 115 years for the foreseeable future,” said Milholland.

Not-So-New Job Interview Strategy

If your new year will include job interviewing or networking, Francesca Gino, a psychologist at Harvard Business School, has good news: be yourself. “Meeting someone new in a work context will go much more smoothly if only you would stop trying to guess what it is they want from you,” her research suggests. Gino set up mock interviews and told interviewees to either strive to be authentic or try to cater to what they felt the interviewer wanted. Those who were authentic experienced less anxiety and performed better in the interview.

Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (

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