Tag Archives: Religious beliefs

Church closure sign of declining church attendance

Another church closes its doors – Presteign-Woodbine United Church in the eastern part of Toronto offically closes its doors in June. But services have already stopped and it recently held its last annual spring variety show.

The church is merging with another church – but this is another sign of declining church attendance in Canada. The percentage of decline is not consistent in reports and surveys, but some show as high as 60 percent.

I’m more interested in the why than the what as I believe (pun intended) the what follows the why.

So, here is my somewhat biased take on declining church attendance. Disclaimer or whatever. I don’t go to church anymore except for funerals and weddings. And unfortunately at my age, the latter is more prevalent. The latter is also often taken out of the church and to that I say, good. We want to celebrate someone’s life, not their church attendance record when they were alive.

So why the decline?

It is all too easy to blame it on societal trends, i.e., from religious to secular. To me that is only a part of the whole. Yes, people are too busy and have to prioritize what they do or run around in overwhelm.

But when they do prioritize is church attendance near the top of the priority list? Not for many it seems.

More important, religious denominations are not giving us what we want and need. And on a deeper level, some people have turned away from God because they have either stopped believing that he exists or they just don’t think he is listening to them. They feel they are praying to dead air. And when they look at the extreme weather, terrorism, etc. in the world today, that only adds fuel to their fire. No, I’m not saying God is to blame for all that. But when people turn to their church they don’t get answers, they don’t get help, they don’t get peace.

In other words, churches and their services are no longer relevant for many people. And some, who may be angry at God, take it out on the closest to God place they know – i.e., churches, and just don’t attend services any more.

All the Yoga classes, dance classes, daycare, etc. held in churches won’t keep the church doors open – as a church at least. Perhaps if the building turned into a community centre, it would be more relevant.

As for Presteign-Woodbine United Church closing – the building could end up in the hands of a developer, although at this point I don’t know of anything concrete. It was speculated in a news story on Global TV over the weekend. Unfortunately, this church is not an old enough building to get historical status – it looks too  modern inside and out (No, I didn’t attend services there, but a few years ago, took Yoga classes there). But a community centre function even with some structural additions would beat tearing it down and building a condo.

And to get back on the decline in church attendance. Sources can’t agree on that one. Just Google “Canadian church attendance decline Statistics 2016” or Google that without naming a country.

Interesting reading.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

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Filed under Beliefs, Church Attendance, God, Life demands, Only child, Prayer

Only Child comments on physicians’ religious beliefs and patient responsibility

Only Child  contemplates physicians refusal to treat patients

Only Child contemplates physicians refusal to treat patients

There’s a brouhaha in-the-works about whether physicians can refuse treating patients if the treatment goes against the doctor’s moral or religious beliefs. There are already small rural communities with only one medical practice or clinic that won’t perform abortions because of moral or religious beliefs. But now that has escalated to refusing birth control in some parts of Canada. In Ottawa, Ontario, three physicians circulated a letter saying that they won’t prescribe birth control. A medical clinic in Calgary, Alberta just posted a sign on their door to that effect. Read the Globe and Mail article at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/do-doctors-have-right-to-refuse-to-treat/article19383553/

What happened to treating the patient for what is best for the patient? Based on what is available for treatment and what is legal in that category. But religious and moral values being imposed on patients by their doctor(s)? Last time I checked, birth control (and even abortion) is legal in Canada. Whether you are for or against abortion, doesn’t it make sense to prescribe birth control to avoid a situation that may bring on an abortion?

Don’t they teach “common sense” at “doctor school?” More important whatever happened to the physician motto “do no harm.” I’m not saying that physicians should automatically prescribe the birth control pill without considering the patient’s overall health. If the patient has high blood pressure obviously the pill might have to be avoided. But there are other birth control methods.

For the most part physicians (unless they are obstinate) consider several options when a patient comes in with symptoms and gets a diagnosis. He or she would discuss these with the patient and suggest what would work best for the patient. Sometimes there is only one option for treatment but that should also be presented to the patient.

The patient’s health and concerns should be the doctor’s focus, not the doctor’s religious values.

Let’s take this scenario further.
What if the police refused to investigate a murder because the victim had different religious beliefs than the police officer?

What if a retailer refused to serve a customer because the retailer was a very religious Christian and the customer was a known atheist?

What if the federal tax department suddenly decided that you had to be Christian to file your income taxes?

I know – these are silly and stupid scenarios. But what about the physicians’ sudden rise in the attitude that their religious morals and beliefs trump their patients’ health? That is being not only stupid but going against the grain of the law.

And speaking of laws, the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons is revisiting this issue with their regular policy review and update. They are even welcoming public input until August 5. The last policy review in 2008 ran into this issue but the OCPS backed down on stating doctors should park their beliefs at the door because – are you ready for it? – doctors raised a big stink about the issue.

And doctors wonder why some people think they act like they are God.

For the record I am not referring to all doctors here. Some are good and have the patient’s interest and health as their first concern. It’s this other bunch who seem to have tunnel vision when it comes to their religious beliefs and imposing them on others. Maybe this latter group are in the wrong profession. Maybe they should switch to some religious ministry.

What do you say about this? Have any of you ever encountered a doctor refusing you any treatment because of the doctor’s religious beliefs? And if you are a doctor reading this post, what are your views here? Do you treat your patients based on your religious beliefs or based on what is best for your patients?

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Birth Control pills and abortion, Doctor religious beliefs vs patient treatment, Health, Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons

Only Child says life isn’t what we’re taught

Only Child's  rose garden by end of driveway

Only Child’s rose garden by end of driveway

In April, when the first tulip showed its face in the flowerbed under the living room window, Mom had to get out in her garden and do her vegetable, fruit and flower business. In the beginning, Mom and I moved in tandem with the garden and religion like we found parallels in them – both had beauty, filled us with awe, seemed to bring some order and ritual to our lives: plant seeds in spring and be rewarded with beautiful flowers and bountiful vegetables and fruit in summer; go to Mass and communion on Sunday and be rewarded in life with only good. (excerpted from You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2012 Sharon A. Crawford).

This beginning of Chapter Two, Practising Gardening and Religion, in my memoir serves as a contrast between the beliefs of a child and the non-beliefs of an adult past middle-age. As mentioned in last week’s post, my garden is my spiritual nourishment and faith and religion of any kind – Christian, New Age, etc. doesn’t do it for me. Many friends, colleagues and acquaintances in my age bracket have “come home” to some religion and faith. Heck, some even have kept the faith and religion of their childhood. Great for them but not for me as I’ve found from experience. I’ve tried different religions –from Christian to New Age and found all lacking. The common denominator seems that they don’t live up to their preachings and I’m not referring to the people involved, some committing horrible crimes such as sexual abuse. I mean their “truths” when put into practice.

I still believe in God – it’s my take on God that has changed due to life circumstances. A friend calls what happens to us “challenges” and I go along with that in part. To me challenges are positive things that happen to you. For example, the editor at my book publisher finally gave me his feedback on my pre-quel novel (prequel to four linked short stories in my mystery collection Beyond the Tripping Point published October 2012. See http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html). Instead of cursing and getting angry, I welcome having to do a major rewrite as a positive challenge. Also fixing up my garden, planting and digging up the weeds encroaching on the perennials and taking up space in my vegetable garden, trying to grow vegetables in the ground or in pots – all this is hard work with lots of well, challenges. And that’s how I look on it – a challenge to work through.

But the negatives coming at me aren’t positive challenge; they are destructive curses. This stuff is bad and the criteria seems to be twofold: it comes from outside me (i.e. I don’t cause it) and it reeks havoc on my health, finances, or property, and time, or maybe some of each. True the novel rewrite and the garden may partly come from outside me (I wrote the novel and I work the garden – but I don’t plant the weeds for example) and true they take time, but both are a joy and engage me in a positive and constructive way.

Maybe the lack of “joy” is the key to what constitutes negative. For example, in the past couple of months, among other things, I’ve had to deal with and/or am still dealing with the following:

  1. Financial – The Canada Revenue Agency messing up my tax returns which until fixed can leave me not receiving GST rebates and provincial tax credits (see last week’s post at the beginning); the bank officer messing up my RRSPs. The latter has hopefully been fixed and the first, let’s just say I’m waiting for them to fix their mistake.
  2. House and Property – where to start: just a few – the water still sometimes getting into the basement during strong storms despite the big excavation outside two years ago to fix; the bathroom leaking taps which lead to three (so far) visits from the new handyman – he doesn’t look at the big picture and is very disorganized, and now a surveyor was drawing the tell-tale orange lines across people’s front property and the roads – the phone company is doing digging for “conduit”  this summer. They just did something like this five or six years ago and then dug the corner at the end of my driveway. After grilling the surveyor with questions (old journalist here), he thought it might skim the corner of my rose garden. Didn’t last time, so now I’m busy trimming back the rose bush and the bush juniper hanging over the driveway. It appears that some of my neighbours’ front perennial and vegetable gardens are going to get dug up – again for the same thing.
  3. Computer problems. Enough said here.
  4. The incompetence of so-called professionals and their unreliability. A partial “list” is included in the diatribe above.

So when I get a professional doing a job well I have to speak up. I had two window blinds that needed replacing – the bedroom mini blind was falling apart in phases for years –no spare cash to get fixed and the blind in the kitchen fell on me last summer (it’s spring is broken). This year, armed with a 10% Sears discount from the Home Show in Toronto, I signed up to get the blinds replaced. They measured the space correctly and delivered (and hung correctly) the blinds – the latter three weeks earlier than promised. That’s the way it should be.

Where does this all fit in with trust, faith, religions, etc.? For me, just putting it out there to be protected from a lot of this negative stuff and when it happens to get it fixed quickly, professionally and send me the money to do so – often doesn’t happen. More likely I run into incompetence, screw-ups, spending too much money, and my time wasted dealing with it all.

Bottom line: have faith in yourself and caveat with anyone else, except a few trusted friends and family. No one gets a free ride – life is full of bumps and putting it out there for otherwise doesn’t guarantee that is what you will get.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Gardening, Home and Garden, Life demands, Only child memoir, Problems, Sharon A. Crawford