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Weekend religion steady, but not always in church

Written by Peter Smith on .

Average Americans are using as much weekend time on religion as they were a decade ago, according to government data crunched by Catholic statistics guru Mark Gray.

But whatever they mean by religious activity, far fewer of them are doing it than who claim to go to church in other surveys.

Mr. Gray worked off the American Time Use Survey, which is produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics by calling people up and asking what they did with their time the day before.

The findings might cheer or dismay those who believe the culture is heading in a more secular direction, because they show that 16 percent of Americans reported religious activity the most recent weekend, and those who did spent two hours a day at it (or four hours per weekend).

What the numbers don't say is whether they spent the time at church, praying at home, meditating or getting a spiritual rush by gazing at the stars, or any combination of the above. It's all grouped under "religious and spiritual activities."

Whatever it is, as many people are doing it now as were doing it a decade ago, and for the same amount of time.

On the other hand, 16 percent is far, far lower than the roughly 40 percent who claim to go to church on a given Sunday, which is what they've been telling Gallup for decades. But that's when Gallup specifically asks if they've gone to church. This raises the obvious question of whether people are answering yes because they think they should.

So what else are people doing with their time? Eating, sleeping, taking care of the kids and themselves, sports and leisure, including TV -- lots of TV.

On the other hand, "Americans spend more time, on average, doing religious or spiritual things on the weekend than lawn and garden care, volunteering, homework or research, caring for pets, home repair, or vehicle-related activities," notes Mr. Gray, of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

Given the amount of screen time Americans are spending, Mr. Gray wondered if organized religion needs to compete with more and better TV of its own.

"Until then, when some Catholics (and those of other faiths) continue to tell survey researchers that they 'just drifted away' from their faith to be 'nothing' we may better understand where many really drift off to…"

 

 

 

 

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Marcquise Reed and the prodigious freshman season

Written by Craig Meyer on .

http://www.rmusentrymedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/rmu-vs-unc-2-900x600.jpg

(Photo: Kyle Gorcey, RMU Sentry Media)

The speed was what stood out first. Then you saw the ball-handling. From the ball-handling came the agility that seemed almost instinctual. And, of course, there was the confidence, the kind that comes when you blend all of those different skills.

All too often, those things would come together and the ball would -- sometimes improbably -- end up in the basket.

I guess you could say this was my first observation from Marcquise Reed at the PBC Pro-Am over the summer -- that this kid could score. It was painfully obvious, so much so that I kept thinking to myself that there was no way he was playing against high schoolers a month or two ago.

About six months later, that immense promise that people like myself wrote and tweeted about back in July has translated to actual games, and done so quite well. Not even 20 games into his college career, Reed is Robert Morris' leading scorer at 14.4 points per game and on Monday, he was named the Northeast Conference rookie of the week for the fourth time this season. No freshman has received the honor more than twice.

Even for those like myself who envisioned Reed making an immediate impact, this has all come as a bit of a surprise. In a large group of newcomers in Moon Township this season, he's proven to be the best.

What's more is that title may not just apply to this year; it's quite possible that Reed is having the best freshman season in the recent history of the Robert Morris program.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Reed's freshman campaign isn't just that he's scoring (though that's still impressive). Rather, it's that he's excelling in the kind of areas in which freshmen typically fail. He's taking on a much larger workload than a freshman usually does (he's using 29.5 percent of the Colonials' possessions while he's on the court) and the statistic that's usually underwhelming for first-year players -- field goal percentage -- has been yet another barometer of Reed's success, as he's making his shots at a 51.6 percent clip.

Using a group of vital offensive statistics, here's how he compares to some of the best freshman campaigns at Robert Morris over the past 10 years:

Player Year Min/game Pts/game FG% 3-pt % Off. rating % Poss % Shots
Marcquise Reed 2014-15 24.6 14.4 51.6 42.9 104.2 29.5 31.2
Jeremiah Worthem 2013-14 24.5 8.9 42.5 44.4 102.4 20.8 20.4
Lucky Jones 2011-12 23.5 8.5 39.3 27.8 102.5 21.6 21.4
Karon Abraham 2009-10 26.8 13.6 43.0 44.3 117.3 22.5 24.8
Velton Jones 2009-10 24.8 8.0 38.8 27.3 89.0 22.4 20.1
Rob Robinson 2008-09 24.7 11.2 51.7 0.00 96.9 26.8 27.9
Bateko Francisco 2007-08 25.5 8.4 46.2 37.2 102.1 16.3 17.4
Jeremy Chappell 2005-06 36.1 14.1 45.6 39.6 117.4 18.8 21.5
Tony Lee 2004-05 24.5 7.9 48.0 33.9 101.1 20.9 18.4

Though a couple of others come close -- most notably Abraham and Chappell -- it's reasonably to argue that Reed's freshman numbers, at least thus far, are better than those of any Robert Morris player over the past 10 years, the most successful epoch in program history.

There's been more to Reed's offensive success than those numbers listed above. Though his team is still relying too much on 2-point jumpers, Reed's one of the few players who can knock them down with regularity. According to hoop-math.com (a must visit for most any devout basketball fan), 53.2 percent of his shots are 2-point jumpers, making it, by far, the biggest component of his offensive identity. In turn, he's draining 51.5 percent of those attempts. You don't need me to tell you that's a good mark.

Coaches often bemoan the decreased presence/effectiveness of the mid-range jumper, a take which can be a little curmudgeonly, but one that also rings true at times. To see a freshman be this good at those kind of shots speaks further to the kind of debut season Reed's having.

And all of this talk about his offensive prowess is ignoring the impact Reed has made on the defensive end this season. Going into today, he ranked 24th among all Division I players in steal percentage (4.5), which measures the percentage of possessions that a player records a steal while he's on the court. This season, as a team, the Colonials are 16th among Division I teams in that category, as they're coming up with steals on 12.8 percent of their opponents' possessions. Last season, that number was at 10.5 percent. It was a good figure, but the improvement this season signals that Reed's made his presence felt and elevated his team's defensive effectiveness in the process.

On a team that entered the season surrounded by unproven commodities and unanswered questions, Reed has delivered in a more profound way than perhaps anyone could have imagined it. And because of that, a Robert Morris season that briefly appeared to be lost has a renewed sense of purpose at a crucial point in its schedule.

 

Craig Meyer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG

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The Big Day, Wolf inauguration edition

Michael Henninger/Post-Gazette

Before President Obama began his victory lap in Washington, Pennsylvania welcomed its 47th governor, York's Tom Wolf, to office.

1) Our Kate Giammarise and Karen Langley give us a blow-by-blow account of Mr. Wolf's Big Day in Harrisburg .

2) PG photographer Michael Henninger made the trip to Harrisburg as well. Take a...

Read more http://earlyreturns.post-gazette.com/home/early-returns-posts/6422-the-big-day-wolf-inauguration-edition

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More SAG presenters announced for Sunday's ceremony

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 
unnamedAdrien Brody, Laverne Cox, Bryan Cranston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Eric Dane, Viola Davis, Felicity Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Eddie Redmayne, Tony Revolori and J.K. Simmons will be presenters at the 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, executive producer Kathy Connell rfevealed today. 
 
Already announced as participants:  Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Kevin Costner, Life Achievement Award presenter Carrie Fisher, Ethan Hawke, SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard, Rashida Jones, Michael Keaton, Lorelei Linklater, Matthew McConaughey, Matt McGorry, Edward Norton, Julia Roberts and Emma Stone.
 
The awards will be simulcast live on TNT and TBS on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015 at 8 p.m. ET. 

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The Big Day, State of the Union edition

President Obama displayed confidence last night as he set the agenda for the final two years of his presidency. 

1) You'll want to start with coverage provided by our Tracie Mauriello , who takes us through the address -- and through the reactions of local lawmakers.

2) What did we think about the #SOTU? We've assembled a Storify that pulled...

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