Capitol Hill Baptist Church Sues D.C. Government; Claims It Has No Alternative To In-Person Services

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. government are depriving Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC) of its members’ only means of worshiping together, according to a suit filed on the congregation’s behalf in federal court.

First established in 1878, CHBC is attended by dozens of congressional staff members who live in the Capitol Hill neighborhood surrounding the U.S. Capitol complex.

Senior Pastor Mark Dever is a nationally known evangelical leader and the founder of the 9Marks organization that provides ministry and administrative resources for churches across the nation.

Capitol Hill Baptist Church Senior Pastor Mark Dever (Screenshot from CHBC video).

“For CHBC, a weekly in-person worship gathering of the entire congregation is a religious conviction for which there is no substitute,” the church said in its suit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Continue reading “Capitol Hill Baptist Church Sues D.C. Government; Claims It Has No Alternative To In-Person Services”

WORKING ON THE HILL: There’s Good News And, Mostly, Bad News About Staff Salaries

If you worked for a couple of years on the Hill beginning in 2000 at the end of the Clinton presidency and the dawn of the second Bush White House, then came back this year in the same position, you would probably see a 35 percent pay hike.

That conclusion is based on Legistorm’s calculation of annual increases in the median staff salary for members of the office staff of a senator or representative. It was $39,673 in 2000 and is presently $53,660, a 35 percent increase.

That’s the good news. Pay for congressional staff has risen steadily during the previous two decades. Unfortunately, it’s still common for lower level staffers to be paid salaries that require having roommates to share housing costs, or other income sources (which should be disclosed). Continue reading “WORKING ON THE HILL: There’s Good News And, Mostly, Bad News About Staff Salaries”

LIVING ON THE HILL: Data Shows Cohabitation Hurts The Kids, Encourages Inequalities

It’s become a commonplace on Capitol Hill and elsewhere that an unmarried man and a woman living together “can raise kids just as well as married couples.”

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

But that’s not what social science data shows, according to Francie Broghammer of the Institute for Family Studies (IFS). Broghammer summarizes what the data shows thusly:

“Cohabiting parents tend to be younger, have lower levels of educational attainment, and face more economic instability. (For reference, 54% of cohabiting parents have a high school diploma or less, and 16% live below the poverty line. Continue reading “LIVING ON THE HILL: Data Shows Cohabitation Hurts The Kids, Encourages Inequalities”

LIVING ON THE HILL: Eating Meals Together Is An Important Gift To Your Spouse, Kids

It probably seems like a small thing, and working on Capitol Hill can be among the jobs that make doing it on a regular basis extraordinarily tough, but sitting down for meals with your spouse and kids may well be among the most important things you can do for them.

Dr. Patrick Fagan, founder and director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI)

That’s according to a huge 2016 cross-sectional national study highlighted this week by the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI), headed by its founder, Dr. Patrick Fagan.

“The study of 8,500 adolescents found that 60% of adolescents shared family meals five times a week or more,” Fagan said in an email to HillFaith.

“The greater the frequency of family meals, the fewer were symptoms of depression or emotional difficulties, and the more frequent was emotional well-being.  On the particular measure of being shielded from symptoms of depression girls benefited more from frequent family meals than boys did,” Fagan said.

The abstract of the study, which was based on multiple regression analyses of a variety of factors, described the results as indicating “frequent family meals may have a protective effect on the mental health of adolescents, particularly for depressive symptoms in girls.

“Interventions that aim to increase the frequency of family meals are needed to evaluate whether family meals alone can have an emotional benefit for adolescents.”

So, tempting as it always is to stay at the office another hour or two, consider setting at least one or two nights a week to be home in time for that meal around the family table with the most important people in your life.

The full study is available at the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. For more about the keys to happy, healthy families, check out MARRI. See also the Marripedia.

 

WORKING ON CAPITOL HILL: Young Congressional Aide Reveals How He Makes It In D.C. On $45K

Victor Yang has worked on Capitol Hill for three years, presently as legislative assistant to Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and previously as a staff assistant to Rep. Charlies Crist (D-Fla.) and an intern for Rep. Juan Vargas, another California Democrat.

Victor Yang (screen shot from Facebook).

Even if you’ve never met Victor, he may look familiar to you because he appeared on CNBC last week in the cable outlet’s “Millennial Money” series of profiles.

He talked at length about how he lives in one of the most expensive cities in America on a salary that is well below the median national household income of $55,880.28 (for 2018, the most recent available full year). Continue reading “WORKING ON CAPITOL HILL: Young Congressional Aide Reveals How He Makes It In D.C. On $45K”

New Study Demonstrates Whether Marriage Or Living Together Make People Happier

How you choose to live with the person you spend the rest of your life with is just as important as who they are

Institute for Family Studies (IFS) Senior Fellow Bradford Wilcox lays out some basic but absolutely vital questions that point to some of the essential advantages marriage offers versus cohabitation.

Is marriage or living together more likely to result in happiness on the road of life? (Photo by Andrew Itaga on Unsplash)

“Is fidelity important to you? Having someone who always tells the truth? Has your back? Communicates well? If these are important to you, marriage looks best,” Wilcox writes.

That’s not just Wilcox’s opinion, either. He is commenting on the results of an important new study from the Pew Research Center entitled “Marriage and Cohabitation in the U.S.”

The results of the survey of 9,000 couples show, among much else, that “married adults are more satisfied with their relationship and more trusting of their partners than those who are cohabiting.” Continue reading “New Study Demonstrates Whether Marriage Or Living Together Make People Happier”

Looking For The Recipe For Your Office’s Culture? Just Add Salt

By Bret Bernhardt

We talk a lot about influencing our culture in the macro, but what about closer to home? What’s the culture like in your office? Is it warm, friendly, selfless, welcoming, and open? Or is it coarse, backstabbing, self-serving, and overly ambitious?

Bret Bernhardt, former chief of staff for senators Don Nickles and Jim DeMint.

Now, what is your role in that culture? Do you strive to bring it to a higher level or do your actions or inactions contribute to an unhealthy environment? We can look for the answer in the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

He said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” (Matthew 5:13) What does this mean? Continue reading “Looking For The Recipe For Your Office’s Culture? Just Add Salt”

WORKING ON THE HILL: Women Staffers Turn To Wardrobe Rental Services

Many congressional staffers are in high-visibility, high-pressure positions that, unfortunately, also come with comparatively low pay, so there is a premium on making every dollar earned go as far as possible.

That’s a key to growing popularity among women working on the Hill of wardrobe rental services. Roll Call’s Mary Ellen McIntire has a great post this morning on services like Rent the Runway. Continue reading “WORKING ON THE HILL: Women Staffers Turn To Wardrobe Rental Services”

Resources For Finding Community While Working On The Hill

By Bret Bernhardt

In my last post, we discussed the importance of community while working on Capitol Hill. The Fall is always a good time to take stock of your community, since it typically comes on the heels of time away from work during the summer and a break in your routine.

Bret Bernhardt, former chief of staff for senators Don Nickles and Jim DeMint.

Now it’s time to get back into that routine and discover the importance of your community.

Author Chris Crowley says that we are mammals in our physiological make-up. As such, we are designed to run in herds or packs. I believe this natural tendency to congregate was implanted into our being by our loving Creator. Continue reading “Resources For Finding Community While Working On The Hill”

HILL STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Getting Promoted

Recent Moves, As Reported By Legistorm:

Garrett Exner’s newest assignment is as military legislative assistant to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Exner is a 2019 MA graduate of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. This is Exner’s first Capitol Hill job.

Danny Jativa is Rep. Vicky Hartzler’s new communications director. Danny comes to Hartzler from a stint as a reporter at the Washington Examiner. Before that, he worked for Florida Republicans Daniel Webster and John Mica. He just finished an MA in governance at American University and earned his BS at Florida State University in international relations. Continue reading “HILL STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Getting Promoted”

HILL STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Getting Promoted!

Recent Moves, As Reported By Legistorm:

Justin Weiss motors into the communications director slot for Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.). Previously, Justin was a senior associate at the Rational 360 lobbying firm. He’s a 2014 Denison University graduate, earning a B.A. in french language and literature, and communications and sociology.


Sara Garcia has saddled up as scheduler for Rep. Van Taylor (R-Texas). She is a 2019 graduate of the University of California at San Diego, with a B.A. in political science and international relations. This is Sara’s first job on the Hill. Continue reading “HILL STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Getting Promoted!”

WORKING ON CAPITOL HILL: Your August Recess Resolution – Finding Community on the Hill

By Bret Bernhardt

You’ve just returned from a week or two out of the office. During that time you’ve been on a vacation, participating in a codel, or working in the state or district.

Bret Bernhardt, former chief of staff for senators Don Nickles and Jim DeMint.

Now you’re back in DC in your normal work routine with your familiar surroundings, including your staff colleagues and the people you hang with outside of your job.

For some, it may be a happy and fulfilling return. For others, it might be a reminder that the break from the routine was a needed respite from life in Washington. If it’s the latter, that merits evaluating whether or not you have a healthy community around you in which to live and thrive.

What Does Real Community Look Like? Continue reading “WORKING ON CAPITOL HILL: Your August Recess Resolution – Finding Community on the Hill”

STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Getting Promoted!

Recent Moves, As Reported by Legistorm:

Ana Alegria is the new Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee deputy press secretary. Ana is a 2017 Harvard graduate in history.

Cole Bockenfeld is Sen. Chris Murphy’s (D-Ct.) new national security adviser. Cole earned his MA in 2017 from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and his BA in 2008 in political science from the University of Arkansas. Continue reading “STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Getting Promoted!”

WORKING ON THE HILL: Time To Lay Off Gen Z

It is said that every older generation looks upon every younger generation and either recoils in horror, disgust or incredulity.

(Screen shot from McDowell presentation)

Having heard it from members of the Greatest Generation, I confess that I sometimes must stop and remind myself that the same things I now say about “Millennials” were once said about me and my Boomer contemporaries.

Dr. Sean McDowell of Biola University notes in a recent presentation at a Summit Ministries conference that “people have been talking about Millennials for a decade and a half, but, friends, Millennials are out of college, they’ve graduated. Continue reading “WORKING ON THE HILL: Time To Lay Off Gen Z”

What About Josh Harris, Take II: The ‘Dreadfully Misguided’ Purity Culture Didn’t Steal Her Faith

Ericka Andersen is a very sharp digital expert, writer, speaker and an unusually insightful analyst of American cultural trends as they are shaped by religious experience and beliefs.

Author Ericka Andersen (Screen shot from her blog)

She’s also a veteran of what she describes as “the dreadfully misguided marketing effort evangelical leaders in the 1990s created to dissuade teens from sex before marriage.”

But Ericka remains an evangelical Christian and as a result her observations about the Josh Harris controversy and what it teaches us today about the Christian’s witness are especially worth reading and thinking about. Continue reading “What About Josh Harris, Take II: The ‘Dreadfully Misguided’ Purity Culture Didn’t Steal Her Faith”