Asking if Secularisation of a Society is Bad

Leonardo da Vinci

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.

 

https://lovableliterature.wordpress.com/2018/07/30/debate-is-the-secularisation-of-modern-society-a-bad-thing/

 

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.

Leonardo da Vinci
Imitation of The Last Supper

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.

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Photographer: Iryna Tysiak

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.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’re welcome to “like,” “follow,” and/or “subscribe.”

Pausing to read The 4-Hour Work Week

Church building at cemetery grounds

I ran into a disagreement, a stumbling block, but made a decision.

 

One of my uncles called me out a week ago Wednesday for posting to our Facebook business page at a level above what he felt was my comprehension.  I guess I was insulted, but maybe what he was getting at was true–I decided to make good on the advice and to straighten out what I’m doing on Facebook–https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited

Church building at cemetery grounds
Louth United Church, St. Catharines

Being a very small page on Facebook is a hard bargain–to be competitive requires strong content, and there isn’t a lot of money to spend to drive it.

 

So, in the several days, I revisited The 4-Hour Work Week for the third time.

 

It’s a 2007 book by Timothy Ferriss that is a how-to on putting together a life of travel and wealth, particularly in light of opportunities afforded by the Internet.  This is about getting past the need for a fulltime job.

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I realize 2007 is a long time ago, but some advice in the book holds true, and it is an inspiring read if you the reader are reflecting on what you’re doing in the course of your career that might be unsatisfying for you.

 

I was holding down a job the second half of 2007, which is when I was feeling comfortable but uninspired.  4-Hour Work Week author Timothy Ferriss recounts how he never could keep a job, although he is well-known for doing all kinds of amazing activities, including writing the bestselling book that I read again these past two weeks.

 

Admittedly, I am comfortable volunteering at the cemetery which puts a few dollars in my pocket, owing to its continued interest by visitors who have loved ones resting there and who find the tendered grounds a suitable destination for introspection and solace.

 

However, I did again to my delight find 4-Hour Work Week an impassioned read.

 

Ferriss argues for the importance of the spirit of independence.  This is instead of job security, Ferriss arguing that work for the sake of work is a pointless grind and that you would be better traveling across the world.  That, he affirms, is a far better investment of time and resources, than being buried, you could put it, in the demands of what might be eighty hours of work a week.

 

Some of the ideas Ferris had for the book remain relevant, like targeting ads with Google to create product sales to get you out of the gate and in charge.  Ads like those remain a profitable activity for people to make money at when they have a product niche and a matching headspace that’s geared to online sales with the Internet.

 

Ferris refers in his book to Pareto’s Law, the concept that 20% of your efforts achieve 80% of the results you get.  It is a quirky theorem that is popular in self-management circles.  For example, Ferriss thought of ways that 20% of his interactions with clients produced 80% of the sales he needed–and invented methods to bring down the time spent chasing the 20% without sacrificing the 80% payoff.

 

While possibly hard to measure, you could tap into Pareto’s Law in areas of your own life that need expansion, while synchronously cutting back on activities that only mean spinning your wheels.  Ferriss in the book explores how.

 

Ferriss’ ideas include avoiding calls by getting people to email you rather than to call, and to check email only twice a day, at noon and at four.  This gets the most important communications done instead of letting them control too much of your time.  I don’t know if that would actually work in a work setting, but if you have the fervor of Timothy Ferriss, I think it could.

 

Most important, Ferriss finds that a life away from the office should never be about getting back to work.  He believes in automating as much as possible, and you probably already know that automation is a vital time-saving strategy to everybody who’s pressed for time.

 

In the first few chapters, Ferriss recommends a five-day information fast–no more news sites, magazines, or books, and only an hour of television viewing in the evening instead of the several that he says most people watch.  Five days of this with the help of his book and you’re on your way.

 

He also illustrates a Dreamline and points out some ways you can reduce your present list of expenses so that you can readily find the money to tick off some of the items you have on your bucket list.

 

It is a pleasant dream to think of a life like that.

Skitter Photo
Photographer: Skitter Photo

If you need some tips to deal with a job that’s turned out to be soul-crushing, this book is a good source of inspiration.  The writing is both insightful and easy to digest.  What we do with our time is what we are, and a bit of fun and freedom might be the ingredients you need to reconnect with your purpose outside of work.

 

I thought I would write of it here, as I haven’t posted anything in a long time, and I felt like getting back down to it.  I am illustrating this post with a shot I took of my copy of the book and also a photo of Louth United Church, on the cemetery grounds where I work in an operations capacity.

 

And, please, you are more than welcome to “like,” “follow,” and/or comment.

10 Guidelines for Charitable Giving Facilitated by the Government

2018-06-17

I have become aware of new information about taking donations on Facebook.  While there was already Facebook features to take financial help through your business page, now you can receive recurring monthly donations thanks to an addition Facebook has recently introduced.

 

I probably shouldn’t have overlooked the existing structure for receiving donations when I published this post.  I meant to say that we don’t presently ask for donations on Facebook, because we are only a small page and we don’t have much of a budget with which to work–I am the SMM, which I do on a casual basis and to the best of my ability.

 

Perhaps in the future, 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.  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 not-for-profit 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

Updated 2018-08-03

Source

Facebook Fundraising Tools Now Allow Monthly Giving

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Photographer: Rawpixel.com

I am involved with a small not-for-profit.  We operate a cemetery which otherwise has no one to care for it.

 

This blog is nominally tied to it, and also a hobby of mine.  I believe blogging is an opportunity to be involved with others who are similarly inclined to write blog posts.

 

I am the junior member of the nonprofit, 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).

2018-06-17
Peter and Linda

The senior operator is Peter.

 

Occasionally other 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 not-for-profit is a small cemetery, which means that there aren’t very many funerals, just a few.  We aren’t unlike volunteers, for a few reasons.

 

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 to post today about making donations.

 

  1. 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, 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.

 

  1. 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 a deduction.

 

  1. 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.
2018-06-13
Abstract expressionism
  1. Despite not being able to provide a tax break, I imagine we would consider accepting donations.  If all goes well, I will probably make some noise again about Giving Tuesday come November this year (like last year).

 

  1. 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 operating a cemetery, which demands solemn thinking and which is literally a retreat for visitors who miss their loved ones.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

Source

Charitable Donations: Top Ten Canadian Tax Tips

 

David McConkey found inspiration in the pages of Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World, by Bill Clinton.  Three points specifically raised that David McConkey emphasizes are explained below.

 

  1. Most people on Earth live in a democracy.  Bill Clinton emphasizes that involvement in civil society is quite accessible to more people now than ever.

 

  1. Globalization and technology have made the fortunes of powerful millionaires and billionaires, Clinton writes.  These same individuals are frequently prominent philanthropists.

 

  1. The Internet is certainly steadfast in the opportunity to make civil action. Together, small donors can have a huge impact.

 

Source

Review of Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World

 

Although my dad is a senior citizen, I can foresee us working at this 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.

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Photographer: Ylanite Koppens

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 and I hope that you had a terrific Father’s Day this June.

 

To visually illustrate this post, I have included a couple of shots taken myself, and in addition a stock photo intended to better illustrate some of the information, without being verbose.  Thank you for bearing with me.

May 16 Weekly Photo Challenge: Liquid

2018-05-18

Today is International Museum Day.  With respect, the most thought-provoking blog post I have had the positive experience of enjoying was recently published by beautybeyondbones about Catholicism and art.  I suggest you go to it as well–

  https://beautybeyondbones.com/2018/05/14/the-met-gala-catholic-imagination/

 

Returning for the weekly photo challenge, I returned to a picturesque spot in my city and took a point-and-shoot picture to illustrate what’s fluid.  I am trying to advance my ability as a photographer while remaining in the same headspace as other WordPress bloggers interested in daily prompts and weekly photo challenges.

2018-05-18
Ben Huberman’s Photo Challenge Liquid

There are many bloggers active at their craft, and I likewise enjoying spotting some of those that are timely available.

 

Some of my background in the not-so-distant past include taking advantage of free courses from WordPress, both on studying a bit how to write poetry and how to proceed as a photographer.  Writing is a major endeavor to tackle and it is very competitive, requiring an intense amount of activity at making it happen and making it successful.  I usually admire people who have made a name doing it.

 

I feel brief blog posts for the purpose of hobby writing with other WordPress bloggers, both “large” and “small” how their subscribers are, is a sufficient task to practice at this time, in my life, for me personally.  There is a touch of nostalgia attached to a hobby of this kind.

 

I also tweet my blog posts (more or less at random) shortly after I publish them.  I have thought about liquids before; for example, if you think it is pertinent you can visit https://findingenvirons1.wordpress.com/2017/08/14/autumn-leaves-favourite-memories-and-water-balloons-2/

 

My blog is also nominally tied to a small not-for-profit for which I provide junior-level operations.

 

I believe Ben Huberman, who wrote this week’s photo challenge article, also lends his editorial talents to WordPress.com.  Ben has written this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, and the topic is accessible and interesting:  his essay is Liquid

Be That You Would Rather Risk Temporary Shelf Life

Laneway

November 8, 2017, I published a post the day after Twitter began to permit tweets of a length of two hundred and forty characters, rather than the traditional hundred and forty.  It was one of those days that felt to me a touch helpless, or certainly awkward, and I’m not sure I responded adequately at the time considering many people on Twitter were clearly unhappy with the decision.

That was six months ago.  The social media conundrum has certainly multiplied since then.

Today I saw a blog post, Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Objects or People Older than 50 years, that inspired me to return to the post I wrote in November and curate it.  https://ceenphotography.com/2018/04/12/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-objects-or-people-older-than-50-years/  Cee suggested in one of the posts in her composition blog that photographers try the possible technique of desaturation in a photo.

I am just beginning to have the opportunity to enjoy browsing her blog, and I haven’t applied a technique like that very much, but I did give something like that a go when I curated my post https://findingenvirons1.wordpress.com/2018/04/24/a-photo-of-harmony-do-you-agree/  I am going a stage further by reflecting on what Cee in her blog says about composition and techniques such as desaturation.

 In November I was thinking about WordPress’ Ben Huberman, who contributes essays to the WordPress photo challenges, and who wrote that bloggers should focus that week on the idea of Temporary, how it is things can be seen in the image that will no longer be there, as with autumn leaves in October.

Letting it out of the bag was a busy time.  I looked back at a photo I took Wednesday, October 15, 2014, when I was purer as a blogger, meaning not seen by as many (compared to me there are a lot of good ones).

It’s the trees shielding the cemetery and you can see the lane running behind Louth United Church.  Ben seems to be an understated champion of photography and also of blogging, with WordPress.

Where before I would have argued, if necessary, that the video capture look of the sky overhead reflected the idea of temporary all the more because everything that was in the sky had passed on, not content to be passively captured.

Now I think that desaturation in the photograph better suggests that the sight of the church is indeed temporary, where it had a congregation at one time but no longer does.  The sky overhead no longer looks so artificial and there is a hint that with time, as the church has grown very old, so too has the color of the photo faded and dispersed.

Laneway
Wednesday‎, ‎October‎ ‎15‎, ‎2014

I am a junior member of a not-for-profit that permits me some freedoms to explore possibilities with a blog, which you can see here for yourself.  We care for Maple Lawn Cemetery and we’re active on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited

Serenity at a cemetery
Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Eventually, following Twitter’s decision in November to begin its fateful change, I decided to do the free ten-day WordPress Developing Your Eye I email course, which for me meant ringing in the New Year with it, the end of December and the beginning of January.

When Twitter began to include tweets with a character length of two hundred and eighty rather than plain a hundred and forty, I was dismayed the same as the others who disagreed strongly with the corner it turned.  At the moment, I didn’t know what that would say about the future… or the past, either.

Twitter continues to prosper and while I have adjusted my strategy, I remain interested in the modicum of relevance it possesses.  You’re welcome to “like,” “follow,” and/or comment.

April 18 Weekly Photo Challenge: Prolific

1/200 sec. f/5 8.8 mm

To be honest, I took this photo about nine in the morning Wednesday, before I’d read Krista Stevens essay on the idea of “prolific.” I’d known, however, that a photo challenge would be published again that day, and I took photos with the idea they might fit into the challenge, or otherwise find use.

Prolific is a word that suggests kind of an outpouring of artistic work, like writing, painting, or music. A talented person who is prolific and is known for the creative mind they have often led the way with what they contribute to their field of endeavor. The best-known people who are successful and enduring are often found to be that way because they are both hardworking and adept.

It’s been a long, long winter, and even this morning here it’s quite cold. I guess it is daunting that the conditions are so adverse, but taking photos for fun is hard for me to resist and I think this one is possibly along the lines what Krista invited this week with the challenge, a photo of water and snow in front of the church where I help with its operations.

1/200 sec. f/5 8.8 mm
Wednesday, April 18, 2018

It has been disbanded since 2006, but it is pretty to the eye. It is unusual that snow is still on the ground in mid-April.

The reason I spend weekly time at the church, other than having an interest in religion, is that there’s a not-for-profit of which I am the junior member caring for the cemetery which lies behind the church. That’s where I apply my skillset, including photography. It happens to be a benign setting for shooting photographs.

The wind stirring the water on the ground struck me that I might get a good photo if I tried to capture it–I am a little sorry it isn’t a touch better, but the sky was a little dark even though it was morning. When spring finally breaks properly, photos will be better.

I also have a nicer camera available to me now–I will need a little practice. I just don’t want to take it into the outdoors much what with the cold temperatures. It will lend me a new mode, so to speak, of versatility when I do get to apply it.

I am also including a photo I took after reading Krista’s challenge–I took it Thursday. I photographed a spot on a local trail for similar reasons to why I took the photo of the water puddle in front of the church. Again, with skies like we have, it is hard to get a photo that isn’t too gloomy, but I don’t think it is too bad.

1/160 sec. f/4.2 16.2 mm
Thursday, April 19, 2018

I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the WordPress photo challenges–they are open to all and they are easy to join. It is an advantage both to be able to think what other bloggers who enjoy photography are doing, and from the standpoint of wanting to speak in blog posts on WordPress, the daily prompts are likewise helpful to getting something tagged and published.

I feel it is a good idea, given that my chief aim on WordPress is to have fun, to look at the daily prompts now and then and to read the photo challenges. We’re a real-life not-for-profit, but there are no rules or restrictions how to participate in blogging despite the requirement to do work in the offline world.

I am not exactly prolific, I don’t think, although I am dedicated. Like many, many others, I enjoy blogging and I feel it is valuable to be “aligned” with what other bloggers might be doing or thinking. I appreciate any feedback I receive from people who see my blog.

Best to Sell Your Elevator Pitch

When my maternal grandmother was in her golden years, she tried to assure me, “Don’t worry!”

 

It hasn’t been that bad.

 

Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt is the word, “fret,” and it’s a timely choice by the folk at WordPress.

 

What’s being outlined by writers on tech around the world in the news and elsewhere is big trouble… the Cambridge Analytics scandal dealt with Mark Zuckerberg decimated trust in Facebook and cost Zuckerberg a fortune.  For someone like me, maintaining a tiny little Facebook business page to assist with the operations and goals of our likewise tiny little nonprofit, I am sure I am characteristically flabbergasted the same as so many other people struggling to market their brand on Facebook in the same boat.

 

It is potentially back to the drawing board for many.

 

Meanwhile Twitter, beginning the twenty-third of March, put into effect a change in policy that restricts marketers from tweeting the identical thing across multiple Twitter accounts, which is less a problem for me personally as I only have one Twitter account, but which is intended to scale back the impact that spammers and the like can have if they’re active on several Twitter accounts.  For example, there is far less risk that trending topics on Twitter will be launched by the dubious and artificial method of conflated Twitter accounts bringing to prominence a devious trend.

 

It is nonsense, though, because honest Twitter users who make Twitter part of their business model have far less freedom to market their brand.  It also comes on top of several months of other changes to Twitter that consistently kept people who love Twitter up in arms, like notably extending the famed hundred and forty character limit for a tweet to twice that, two hundred and eighty characters.

 

The little tweet was suddenly full on birdsong, and now, counterintuitively, restrictions are in place so that the social noise on Twitter is slowed down considerably.

 

Dimensions: 3000 x 2143
Photographer: Mahkeo

My little blog defaults to options to share a post on both Facebook and Twitter, and now both social media giants are mired in an unpredictable morass that quiets down an outcry that until this year seemed like just a normal part of using the social media leaders.

 

Could be time to shop around.

 

Twitter finally made a quarterly profit, it is worth noting, so the changes effected under the leadership of Jack Dorsey may continue to prove effective.  For Facebook, on the other hand, the steep increase in distrust of the formerly reputable social media giant will play out a drama that will see many Facebookers transmuting their internet profiles elsewhere, or at least becoming far more aware of what can happen to data once it is committed to the Internet.

 

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Photographer: Flo Karr

What’s happened with Facebook is only one page in the news-intensive deconstruction of all the trouble the United States is seeing given their leadership is so unsteady at a time when a strong technology industry is necessary for friendly waters in the face of the potential for major change in the near future when many players want as much control as possible over the cyber landscape.

 

There is every reason to fret.  Above and beyond prayer, it would be advisable to equip yourself with as much information as possible to ride the tide back to shore.  It is exciting to observe, and if you have a tidy niche from which to beam the perspective you want people to take, I’d recommend you do it with dedication and surety.

 

If you’ve read today’s post, I thank you.  Any like, follow or comment is welcome.