Just the other day, I saw a WordPress blogger asking for debate if secularisation is good or bad. She defined it, and I take it she means the decline of the influence of religion, like, for example, the power of the Catholic Church, on society around the world.
This year I made time to read Cormac McCarthy’s book The Road, a novel about a man and his son trying to survive some time from now in the future when society no longer exists as it did previous to the events in the novel. I think of church attendance preventing circumstances in our world like that in this Cormac McCarthy book.
If strong leaders utilize the unitary values of religious institutions in a way that helps people lead lives of better prosperity, it would be likely, I think, that people will make better progress in the world, decreasingly supernatural as it is.
Reading The Road, I didn’t think much supernatural dread happened to the characters, probably in part because to create their own resources they were too hard pressed to deal with the spiritual implications of society being at an end.
If I think about secularisation as it could relate to the plot of the novel, I think that the leaders of the world which existed before the events of the book have failed in their ability to keep the structure of its society intact. Maybe this owes to an overall weakness in the story’s idea of religious institutions, but I can’t that except by thinking it is a possibility, judging that religious symbols seem to exist in the book. The man on the road is a little like Jesus, set apart from others by his singularity.
There isn’t an explanation for readers of The Road why society ended–it is a question only that it is gone, and how a much harder reality supplants it, the “road” of the title.
Isolation is the new struggle to overcome adversity, instead of questions like how did the world’s institutions fail and what can be done now, in their absence.
The novel’s interesting because society as a whole is over and done and there is no solution available. It is a story of apocalypse.
The man traveling in isolation with his son seems unconcerned if there were religious institutions before society fell to pieces. I don’t see why there wouldn’t have been institutions–in every other detail I can think of in The Road it matches the world as it’s known today, which leads me to think that parts of the world in the book weren’t secularised, as our world in real life remains only in part secularised today.
I tend to think that order would fragment in the event of too much secularisation because people need to feel that there is something supernatural about their lives, that they owe something to God.
I am optimistic about trusting religious authorities because I see a sphere of religious influence making a more positive outcome for our world.
I am glad to have had an opportunity to write a few thoughts on how thinking back to reading The Road helped me articulate an opinion on secularisation.
I was likewise glad that I took time this year to read the book by Cormac McCarthy, as well as having read Bethany’s post asking about secularisation. The Road is the only title of McCarthy I am familiar with, but the cover of the paperback copy I read advertised that it had sold well.
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“let us remember that ending poverty is not a matter of charity but a question of justice.”
— UN Secretary-General, António Guterres
A few weeks ago Facebook faced a big data breach, which isn’t helping, I understand, in efforts to keep people’s trust invested in the social media platform.
I probably shouldn’t have overlooked the existing structure for receiving donations when I published this post this summer. I meant to say that the volunteers who run Maple Lawn Cemetery, where I work, don’t presently ask for donations on Facebook, because we are only a small page and we don’t have the budget with which to work.
Perhaps in the future, but admittedly unlikely, we could bring onboard someone younger to help with carrying out our operations with the help of Facebook, but at the present I am aware of the mess Facebook has run into owing to its exposed dealings with Cambridge Analytica and what that has done to Facebook’s credibility as a social media platform and to its use for small business (and in recent news the data breach). I want to give Facebook the benefit of the doubt that they will continue to improve their situation and remain effective as a tool for small business. I am optimistic that it will remain a good idea to publicize our work on Facebook.
Now is almost certainly not the best time to try to begin raising funds on Facebook, as the bad publicity is undeniable, I feel, but with Giving Tuesday still ahead in November I do want to keep my hand in the game in case the situation changes for the better. A little more money could certainly serve our needs. I am more concerned that Facebook will continue to grow to mean that the business page for our not-for-profit remains useful… https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited
I am involved with a small business. We operate a cemetery which otherwise has no one to care for it.
This blog is nominally tied to it. I believe blogging is an opportunity to be involved with others who are similarly inclined to write blog posts.
I am the junior employee, and I help with grounds keeping. I also assist work inside the disbanded church which is on the grounds of the cemetery, and provide some of the cemetery’s presence on the Internet (on Facebook, and also here: www.maplelawncemetery.org).
The senior employee is Peter.
Occasionally volunteers lend a hand with the maintenance work. We have had work done by my nephew Mack, by family friends Bill and Gerard, and by my father’s brothers Paul and Dave.
We began in 2012, six years after the church closed its doors for the last time. The cemetery is small.
To write this post, I researched federal Canadian controversies over nonprofits. LIVE WELL, DO GOOD‘s David McConkey has provided specifics about giving or receiving charitable donations.
What he is saying on his website inspired what I thought about making donations.
One of the reasons that we see ourselves a little like volunteers is that, although typically we would accept donations, we are not a registered charity. In Canada, it is my understanding that only donations to registered charities qualify for an income tax credit. This means that there is less incentive for parties interested in what we do to bestow us with any kind of gift.
This isn’t a big problem, as there isn’t a lot of overhead to go with maintaining a cemetery of this size, but it does make campaigns such as November’s annual Giving Tuesday affair somewhat troubled waters. We can’t return the favor of a donation with an income tax deduction.
Statistics Canada has found that almost everyone (ninety-four percent of those fifteen years old and older) makes charitable donations. Sometimes these can be valuable art items.
Despite not being able to provide a tax break, I imagine we would consider accepting donations. While we are a touch cautious about the possibility of a federal audit, I will probably make some noise again about Giving Tuesday come November.
I don’t like to spin my wheels, but nothing good comes easy. Perhaps by repeating an interest in Giving Tuesday, I will start to unlock chains that keep us out of what works about Giving Tuesday. We’re working at a cemetery, which demands solemn thinking and which is literally a retreat for visitors who miss their loved ones.
Statistics Canada has found that donors who plan ahead give more than others. As we are involved year-round with people choosing their final resting place or the resting place of their loved ones, perhaps this is something we could investigate if we were looking at how to raise funds for the cemetery. That being said, to date we have not had a problem caring for the church and cemetery, so we are not under any pressure to need to strenuously keep up the maintenance of the place running smoothly.
CanadaHelps.org is a registered charity that facilitates online donations. They work with thousands of charities. They issue receipts and forward your donation to a charity you specify, less a three percent transaction fee.
Although my dad is a senior citizen, I can foresee us working until any set point in the future. I really don’t know at this time how far into the future we should project, but as helping with the cemetery is the best bet I have for autonomy and independence, I will do the best I can to keep working at caring for the cemetery and for the disbanded church. I also intend to keep an active presence on Facebook, and here on WordPress.
Bill Clinton’s book helped inspire David McConkey’s thoughts on income tax credits and how to take advantage of them. I invite you to visit us on Facebook. You may also ask any question you might have of me here on WordPress, over on Quora, or on Twitter.
If you have a question which I might possibly be able to answer for you, I would be glad to help. I appreciate that you took the time to visit.
To visually illustrate this post, I have included a couple of shots taken myself, and in addition a couple of stock photos intended to better illustrate some of the information, without being verbose. Thank you for bearing with me.
Not everything is working out at the moment–however, a hobby like blogging photographs in the spirit of the weekly photo challenges from WordPress is a welcome diversion. After a couple of false starts, the iced coffee I was drinking started to work its magic and I began thinking what I could photograph to represent myself online, on either Facebook or WordPress.
Something funny occurred: I was seated at a favorite bus stop of mine when traffic was stopped, mostly in the direction I needed to walk, to get home.
An older lady, the age possibly of a younger grandma, called out to the traffic ahead of her: “Hey! I’m taking a picture!” She raised her camera and I suppose she took the shot.
I was immediately inspired. Whether she was remotely aware of me seated at the bus stop as if I were headed in the opposite direction, I don’t know, but I thought that if she wants a picture here, then so should I. I was already thinking of taking a photo there as I enjoy that spot in town and in addition it gives an inkling of where I live.
Next time I am working up the courage to take a photo among strangers, perhaps I should try the same tactic. I don’t know if I have it in me, but it certainly would be nice to have that kind of gumption.
The car bumper I caught in the photo as the line of traffic moved on isn’t her vehicle, but one moving in the same direction behind her. Kind of an oversight, but it adds a wee bit of flavor to the other details I captured with the lucky shot.
Erica’s essay on doing a location reveal Wednesday is an article in the ongoing weekly photo challenges that are a dear hobby to many WordPress bloggers.
This is again Lent, and I was pleased three years ago to try photographing shopping carts, at the side of a street. In the photo, few people, even no one, are on hand who need them. The shopping carts speak to an absence.
The Bible in Numbers 32 details how the Israelites were lost, for so long, that they were reduced an entire generation.
Reminders that The Lord is a vengeful deity are important. In Numbers 32:13-15 The Lord feels burning anger at Israel. It is important that we remain optimistic, but pragmatic, about future generations prospering.
In the photo I took, shopping carts have been abandoned by the shoppers. Likewise in Numbers 32:13-15, Israel lost an entire generation by resisting the influence upon them, of The Lord.
The passing sight of lined-up shopping carts reminds an onlooker that there was a human presence, but it has dispersed. Whoever was responsible for the decision to make a spectacle of wayward shopping carts is gone now. Perhaps this is common in every community, but something is incorrect about the moment.
I found these verses from the Book of Numbers to suggest what I am showing.
For what reason was Israel reviled with forty years to meander?
13 The LORD’s anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the desert forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone.
14 “And here you are, a brood of sinners, standing in the place of your fathers and making the LORD even more angry with Israel. 15 If you turn away from following him, he will again leave all this people in the desert, and you will be the cause of their destruction.”
Despite all this, Lent remains for me in middle age a challenge to observe.