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BlessedMan

History/Sociology Of Canadian Religion

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BlessedMan

Howdy folks. I am interested in exploring sociological history of churches (all denominations) in Canada; and my major focus will be Adventist Church history in Canada. I was not sure where to post this topic, but I did consult with Gail & Stan about posting again at this forum, and this is a major area of interest for me.

I stuck the word "sociological" in here because that will free this topic from being tied to strictly a religious or doctrinal pitter/patter, and hopefully open it up some for discovery of what happened in Canada with our religions and churches, and how did/does The Adventist Church fit into it?

I am reading one book, for example, which deals with "A Social History Of Religion In Canada," and this book mentions briefly that there were "Millerites" in eastern Canada, in or around the Montreal area.  I was surprised to learn of this, and so now the hunt is on for any & all information about this general topic area. I am hoping to eventually do a related photography project when the time is right, but I think I need to do a little research first. This thread will be part of that.

If anyone in or from Canada can suggest sociological resources, or history references, that are related to this subject, this would be the topic to post them in. Or, of course, opinions are welcome, as well.

I think I need to go dust off my snow shovel for now, as global cooling is happening here. Lots of snow happening in Central Alberta!

Edited by BlessedMan
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BlessedMan

the book I am currently readin only goes up to 1960 and I am discovering that books that deal with after 1960 are not easy to find.

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B/W Photodude

Of interest would be how the church in Canada has progressed/regressed differently than the rest of the church. Given that a couple of the movements in the church in the US came out of Australia, was Canada affected as much as the US? How has Canada as part of the NAD been softened in any events in the Canadian churches?

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BlessedMan
19 minutes ago, B/W Photodude said:

Of interest would be how the church in Canada has progressed/regressed differently than the rest of the church. Given that a couple of the movements in the church in the US came out of Australia, was Canada affected as much as the US? How has Canada as part of the NAD been softened in any events in the Canadian churches?

As with most "history," there were likely many ups and downs that we may never know about, I am hoping some members will have knowledge of materials or stories told by their grandparents, or anything that would inform us of the social history of "church" for Canada.  In the next post, Ill try to detail a few things I have picked up on so far.

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BlessedMan
1 hour ago, B/W Photodude said:

Of interest would be how the church in Canada has progressed/regressed differently than the rest of the church. Given that a couple of the movements in the church in the US came out of Australia, was Canada affected as much as the US? How has Canada as part of the NAD been softened in any events in the Canadian churches?

Another point I am interested to explore is more to do with the how/why of how "the church" even got started in Canada. What from that history, would be considered "colonialism," and what was and should be considered true "missionary work?"

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phkrause
On 9/27/2019 at 2:27 PM, BlessedMan said:

I am reading one book, for example, which deals with "A Social History Of Religion In Canada," and this book mentions briefly that there were "Millerites" in eastern Canada, in or around the Montreal area.  I was surprised to learn of this, and so now the hunt is on for any & all information about this general topic area.

When you mentioned eastern Canada, my mind went right to Southern & Northern New England where the Millerites  first started! So I would imagine that it spread up from there! Not really having any proof though, I can only guess?

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BlessedMan
1 hour ago, phkrause said:

When you mentioned eastern Canada, my mind went right to Southern & Northern New England where the Millerites  first started! So I would imagine that it spread up from there! Not really having any proof though, I can only guess?

In this topic, "proof" is not really needed, as anecdotal accounts can give me valuable clues for researching more.

From what I am reading, it seems that "Millerites" as the book calls them, were not really "Millerites" as in physically derived from, it seems more like some groups did hear their message, and then adopted bits & pieces of it.

I have to say, history really horrifies me sometimes. I am just reading about early denominations in Canada who somehow decided that "pew rentals" were THE thing to do and that said "pew ownerships" were a (rather patriarchal) signal to anyone entering that church of the "piety" and of the perceived "headship" of the man who owned it. What happened, apparently, sometimes, when the husband died, and the wife was left with "her husband's pew?"  Oh my, thats the part you don't want to know. lol

Ill come back here when I have more time to detail this more with references, and more context.

There are some absolutely wonderful stories in Canada's checkered ecclesial history; even if one is not from Canada, I am sure they would enjoy reading about our history.

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BlessedMan
On 9/28/2019 at 4:24 PM, BlessedMan said:

There are some absolutely wonderful stories in Canada's checkered ecclesial history; even if one is not from Canada, I am sure they would enjoy reading about our history.

Sad to say, I dont think I quite realized what I was getting into when I started this topic. I just knew that I enjoy exploring history, and finding out more about the people in my own country. I was in tears as I realized the extent and brutality of some of our country's "Christian" heritage, and am still in shock at the foul legacy that is left behind by the actions of certain religious entities. Not all history is true, and when I started looking into this a few weeks ago, I recall wondering why it seems that many historians, professional historians, from places like Mcmaster University, in Hamilton, Ont seem to publish materials that are quite disparaging of much religious sociology and history regarding religion in Canada. As I started to realize why, I spotted the following comments on Stan's Face  Book page:

natives.jpg
 

Quote

 

Canada's attempted Genocide, started with the goal to Christianize those 'heathens'. The very thought of what happened breaks me, not as much as the Canadian Gov't broke them. Canada's biggest shame.
Even those who managed to make it home, lost so much. Lost the cultural their character and their dignity.

I remember stories, and I thought it was 'overspeak' about the nuns putting a needle thought their tongue for 24 hours.if they spoke in their "'dirty heathen language" They could not close their mouth, as the needles were that big. I heard similar stories from too many people to view it as overspeak.

Little children were taken from their parents, without consent, and told their mother did not love them anymore and wanted them to get a good white education.

Thousands of little boys and girls were beaten to death by religious leaders and never came home.

 

What kind of animals could do such things to innocent people/children?  What I don't get is why such are not named as terrorists? Thats really the only title they deserve. Its no wonder so many historians write the way they do of religious history in Canada. I will come back to this aspect a little later in this topic. Questions abound like what are the justifications or are the justifications being used to "explain" this horror to others? How can any church say they have "good news" for our First Nations People, after all THAT?

Don't get me wrong; there ARE some very good news stories as well; which I will write about in a future post; but unless I am mistaken, they are in danger of being over-shadowed by this very dark cloud.

On another note; a few other observations I made while exploring the history book I am currently reading - and I dare say, perhaps this will partially explain why the genocidal terrorist "christian" murderers  ever thought that they were right. Some of the stupid things they "believed" are well, unbelievable to me!

It would appear from my most recent reading that one group which has a brief, small portion of Canadian History called Advent Christian General Conference, that had adopted only the Millerite doctrines they were "impressed" to. Looks like they decided to adopt the "Christian Sabbath," as being Sunday. It also looks like they were mostly in the eastern seabord areas of Canada. Montreal, New Brunswick, in particular.

Advent Christian General Conference

Mission Statement

Convinced of the imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ, Advent Christian General Conference exists to Encourage, Equip and Empower Advent Christian churches worldwide to be obedient to His Great Commandment and Great Commission.
About Us

Advent Christian General Conference is a denomination of Christian churches in North America, with mission works and partnerships in countries worldwide. Born out of the "Adventist Movement" of the 1800s, our organization is still committed to proclaiming the hope that Jesus is coming back ... maybe today! As we look for his blessed return we occupy ourselves with obeying his commands to make disciples.

I asked Stan about this group, and he replied:

Quote

2/ They are still around. They look at us as offshoots to them. Ellen White would refer to them as "nominal Adventists..." Stan

Here is another doozer:

In Canadian religious history, "Pew owning/ownership" was clearly important to people, but not merely for "class status." It is true that owning a pew [at church] conferred a particular status on it's owner, ; but more often than not, ; it was a visible symbol of family piety, in a religious culture where the central social divide was frequently viewed as between rich and poor, but between the saved and the sinner. In particular, pew owning was a largely male preserve and served to uphold the authority [headship] of the male patriarch."

And then in my own words from the previous page of this book: Clergy from all denominations present believed that "manly independence" as ministers of the gospel meant that adequate funds were coming through the doors and into the coffers, and a large part of that money was derived from the pew rental system (taken from Christian Churches And Their Peoples1840-1965, pages 34-35, by Nancy Christie, Michael Gauvreau)

In future posts, I will continue to post findings as I find them. may God help us. We are the ones who need it!

treaty #6 of 1876.jpg

 

 

 

Edited by BlessedMan

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BlessedMan
On 9/27/2019 at 5:53 PM, B/W Photodude said:

Of interest would be how the church in Canada has progressed/regressed differently than the rest of the church. Given that a couple of the movements in the church in the US came out of Australia, was Canada affected as much as the US? How has Canada as part of the NAD been softened in any events in the Canadian churches?

Canada certainly has a checkered heritage when it comes to the sociology and history of our religious development, and culture. And that is not all bad.

Of course, statistics about this can be manipulated to a degree, but there are some disturbing elements that we just can't fudge on. Prejudice, or bias is something unseemly, that can fester just under the surface of almost everything, including 'religion;" and is one of the darkest clouds hanging over the church in Canada, and their utter failure with our First Nations people, and others.

We live in times where Big Media brings the circus right to the doors of our homes, and into those little screens so many have their noses glued to these days. The sordid, stark realization of how very competitive the biases and prejudices of "religion" can get are grossly apparent in almost everything we do. The dark, secret clouds of the "Christian" Churches in Canada, are still used as a weapon against people who are totally innocent of the prejudice and racism that some people do harbor, while having the audacity to call it "God's work."

Canadians are not alone in this. We all usually like to keep our racism kind of tucked under the rug, and to give it credible labels like "witnessing," or "missionary work," or "God's work."  We usually manage to keep all that buried, just out of sight, and out of reach of the general public; comforting ourselves with the platitudes like "the truth will set you free."  Some of us even have the nerve to call our racism and class prejudices something that "other people do."  I mean,  who among us wants to just "call sin by it's right name?"

Almost no one is willing to do that! The reasons for that are even scarier. Perhaps, I can illustrate with a personal experience.

As a young man in Canada, during the eighties, I recall a number of times having no bones about critisizing our then Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney. After a couple of beers, he suddenly would become Brian Bullroney.  AND that very kind of thing has been normalized by certain elements of Big Media. Thats not a part of my religious or sociological heritage I am proud of, but I brought this up for a specific reason. I would venture to guess that there are very few people who could say they don't have such things hidden away inside them, shadows of hatred and gossip that cloudy carricatures of "truth" find confluence in by many religious, and non-religious entities.

The things here is; if its not a couple of beers that unmasks and loosens what we are hiding inside; it may be something else such as modernity's technological advancements which can reveal things we always thought no one could or would, ever hear. There are a number of ways such things can pop out of us all of a sudden. Generally, if one is human, and last time I checked, I still qualified, it can be thought of as a physical law, if you will, that whatever you are holding inside, will eventually come out. No one is immune to this "law."

Sometimes, it can just be the little things that uncover some kind of dirt we are clinging to in our minds. Sometimes, it is a better story than that. There is a verse that puts it like this:

Quote

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Heb 4:12, KJV)

Obviously, it would be a better story line if God's Word transforms us, changes our thinking and our attitudes, and after a testimony (1 John 1:1-3), about THAT kind of change; (2 Cor 5:17), then I am sure that people would be running over each other to be the first one in the church doors on Saturday, or Sunday mornings.

Case in point: a short while ago, I was out for a walk with my camera, and I happened to find one of those free book boxes that some communities have in small town central Alberta; and being a sucker for free books, I started to fish through them to see what I could find. I happened to find a huge book, looks like its almost four inches thick, and it was the official Memoir book that Brian Mulroney himself wrote! Surprise of surprises! (some 40 years after my initial criticisms).

When I got home, I started leafing through this huge book, and one chapter heading really caught my eye; and my imagination. It was called simply: "The Battle For Canada's Soul," (pgs 836-852). I was quite shocked at what I read, and immediately felt guilty for the thinking I had harbored about this man all of these years. I have to wonder now, how much of all that "Bull" was actually just me!

Brian Mulroney was actually a remarkable man, and an amazingly competent politician. But what struck me even more than all of that history was his detailed account of the early adult-hood days and how he carried his dying father, in his arms, downstairs to the living room every morning so that he could enjoy looking out the window, and being around everyone in the household more.

I was quite surprised by what I have been finding out about Mulroney, and, sadly, what I was beginning to learn about myself, personally, and some of the rot I had festering inside of me. I do like to think that God's Word, through The Holy Spirit, has been convicting me and transforming me, as it revealed those usually, well-hidden "thoughts AND intents of the heart." (Heb 4:12).

Quote

The truths of the Bible, treasured in the heart and mind and obeyed in the life, convince and convert the soul, transform the character, and comfort and uplift the heart. . . . The Word makes the proud humble, the perverse meek and contrite, the disobedient obedient. The sinful habits natural to man are interwoven with the daily practice. But the Word cuts away the fleshly lusts. It is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the mind. It divides the joints and marrow, cutting away the lusts of the flesh, making men willing to suffer for their Lord. {OFC 129.4}

If this kind of "transformation" had been happening with our Canadian churches, then why are they all shrinking, and closing the doors on what was once anticipated as continuing growth and a flourishing, integral part of Canadian society? It seems as though the evangelistic competition has literally "drawn and quartered" the church at large, inflicted irreparable harm to countless cultures & peoples. It really just seems now like the "church" we have created is  literally a target on our foreheads,  and, providing very little real help or "truth"  to those in need.  Vying for top spot in attaining unto "cultural relevance" is NOT going to cut it this time. Not in Canada, or anywhere! Yes, there are some good stories amongst the declining church memberships; but first, lets take a quick peek at some census statistics from the StatCan web site, as stated in the following:

Quote

 

[If we] compare the results of the 1961 Census on the religious composition of Canada with data from the most recent equivalent, the 2011 National Household Survey (tables I.1 and I.2). Christians still dominate the religious composition of Canada (67%), but that is down significantly from the approximately 96% of Canadians who identified as various kinds of Christians Christians in 1961.4 Moreover, according to the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS), some 7.8 million Canadians, almost 25% of the total population compared to less than 1% in 1961, identified themselves as having No Religion. Another notable trend is the growth of global religions other than Christianity. Adherents of Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism made up just over 8% of the national population in 2011, with Muslims alone at 3.2%. This is undoubtedly a major trend, and one that reflects a profound change in Canada as it becomes a truly multicultural and religiously diverse society, but the increase of those with No Religion is even more dramatic: this group now represents the second largest “religion” in Canada.

(Clarke, Brian P.. Leaving Christianity: Changing Allegiances in Canada since 1945 (Advancing Studies in Religion) (p. 6). MQUP. Kindle Edition).

 

THIS should be a monumental wakeup call to every church in Canada!

BUT, is it?

It is being said by historians, politicians, and scholars that agreement perpetuated, is, in effect, still agreement. And there is still wide consensus by "the church," that we MUST "evangelize," because "the Bible says."  The claimed "magnetism" of our church ancestors and "revivalists"  is still floated as the way to do the gospel, and that means minds are closed to seeing this from other, needed contexts.

I don't recall right now where I saw the quote, but it is in one of my electronic books. It goes like this:

Quote

"Hitler's magnetism held the thousands, as one."

I wonder just how close that statement is to what "the church" has done to our First Nations people, and other marginalized cultures?

Apparently, the brutal drive to nix the "competition" with the same things, derived from our "missionary work" of the past, and that gave rise to the current plight of the First Nations People of Canada, and others, is increasingly complicit; even today, in the terrorizing and ruining of innocent people, throughout Canada, that would prefer to just live in peace, and to have the same "freedoms" that we church people keep claiming for ourselves, and asserting how that no one else can have THAT kind of "  freedom" unless they are "one of us."

I have sometimes felt that I was quite literally ordered to PERFORM for the church. I can certainly recall "the good old days" when I would get into major trouble with other "Leaders,"  here in Canada, and with a couple from the US, during the evangelism ministries to which I was assigned, because I rarely sought to get the people I worked with into the baptismal tank. And for me and my situation back then; that was a major point of attack on my character and reputation. I certainly wasn't one of the pastors overheard in the shadowy back offices of the church, arguing about who would do certain baptisms.  And then there was little old me, thinking that I didnt want people  deciding  that they HAD to become an Adventist BEFORE they could know and love our Lord.

I can already hear the cat-calling with Mat 10:34

Quote

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword."

It certainly is not just Abel's blood that is crying from the ground.

(TBC - with some GOOD testimonies!)

 

Edited by BlessedMan

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B/W Photodude
On 10/4/2019 at 12:46 AM, BlessedMan said:

Canada certainly has a checkered heritage when it comes to the sociology and history of our religious development, and culture. And that is not all bad.

Apparently, the brutal drive to nix the "competition" with the same things, derived from our "missionary work" of the past, and that gave rise to the current plight of the First Nations People of Canada, and others, is increasingly complicit; even today, in the terrorizing and ruining of innocent people, throughout Canada, that would prefer to just live in peace, and to have the same "freedoms" that we church people keep claiming for ourselves, and asserting how that no one else can have THAT kind of "  freedom" unless they are "one of us."

The problem Canada has regarding First Nation people does not just belong to Canada. I know the church in Australia is in turmoil over the past history of relating to the "Aborigines."

The USA church may not give much thought to it's past in relating to Native Americans. While there was a very good work in Monument Valley among the Navajos, I had a very good friend one time who was of Navajo heritage who was taken by a white couple who taught in Monument Valley. So, she left her family and culture behind but never really successfully adapted to American culture and was like stuck in between. She could not go home.

So, how the children of indigenous peoples are treated must carefully be considered and they have been very abused in the past. Which is one of the reasons that it is very difficult today to adopt a Native American child. To do so requires permission of the tribe or "nation.' Even if the creature comforts, education, and even safety are better, it is not good to remove them from their larger family of the tribe. 

This has even been a problem with the adoption of black children by white parents. I believe it is easier today, but at one time was very much fought against. Of course, if you are a movie star you will have an easier time. How many black children have movie stars adopted out of Africa?

All that said, if anyone has considered adopting children, locally your child protective service can help you with an older child as babies seem hard to come by. In my state, it is a serious problem as over 50% of the children who are removed from a home never go back. 

You can also contact http://hostukraine.org . They can arrange for you to host a child for a few weeks (four weeks over the Christmas holidays or eleven weeks during the summer) at a time from orphanages in the Ukraine. According to their website, about 80% of temporary visitor children end up being adopted. (How can you host a child for eleven weeks thru a summer and not become very attached to them?!) Read their faq on the plight of children in the Ukraine who grew up in an orphanage. Their "papers" will always be stamped with their status as an orphan and they are second class citizens. So, they end up in human trafficking situations and worse. The war with Russia along with a number of other social problems have left many orphans in orphanages with little necessities of life.

While I am concerned with how the child of indigenous people are treated, I do recall very much the lessons of last quarter's  Sabbath school lessons on the caring of the poor, needy, hungry, and fatherless. James called it pure religion undefiled to care for these children.

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BlessedMan
2 minutes ago, B/W Photodude said:

The USA church may not give much thought to it's past in relating to Native Americans.

Appreciate your comments - this is the whole reason I started this topic.  I believe the silence on this matter is deafening. And it sends a message, not about anyone; except the silent ones.

I will be dealing mostly with the Canadian situation; but certainly any other related situation would be appropriate here. Have to come back later to finish this reply. :)

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BlessedMan
21 hours ago, B/W Photodude said:

The USA church may not give much thought to it's past in relating to Native Americans. While there was a very good work in Monument Valley among the Navajos, I had a very good friend one time who was of Navajo heritage who was taken by a white couple who taught in Monument Valley. So, she left her family and culture behind but never really successfully adapted to American culture and was like stuck in between. She could not go home.

So, how the children of indigenous peoples are treated must carefully be considered and they have been very abused in the past. Which is one of the reasons that it is very difficult today to adopt a Native American child. To do so requires permission of the tribe or "nation.' Even if the creature comforts, education, and even safety are better, it is not good to remove them from their larger family of the tribe. 

This has even been a problem with the adoption of black children by white parents. I believe it is easier today, but at one time was very much fought against. Of course, if you are a movie star you will have an easier time. How many black children have movie stars adopted out of Africa?

You have certainly hit the nail on the head here. The colonial aspects of some of the major religions, and the normalized abuse of First Nations in many countries is the same story. It seems that almost anything is OK "in the name of religion."  There are, fortunately, some good stories as well. I am preparing the next post which will talk about some of those. While "historians" can be very activist in nature, and support their pet-causes, there is good, sound material available if one wants to do the research. When one reads the accounts of Irish, Scottish, Ukranians, and others, and why they came here in the first place; well, lets just say for now it wasnt "colonialism."  Ill be back as time permits.

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B/W Photodude
On 10/6/2019 at 1:53 PM, BlessedMan said:

You have certainly hit the nail on the head here. The colonial aspects of some of the major religions, and the normalized abuse of First Nations in many countries is the same story. It seems that almost anything is OK "in the name of religion."  

It seems that one of the many things that happened when the missionaries came was to make the people wear clothes. I read of one missionary, a woman, who came to a group who were still "nature children", was to take off her clothes and become like them. She reported having good success with bringing the gospel to them. I do not believe she was SDA!

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BlessedMan
4 hours ago, B/W Photodude said:

It seems that one of the many things that happened when the missionaries came was to make the people wear clothes. I read of one missionary, a woman, who came to a group who were still "nature children", was to take off her clothes and become like them. She reported having good success with bringing the gospel to them. I do not believe she was SDA!

there are true angels among us still! :D

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BlessedMan
On 10/3/2019 at 10:46 PM, BlessedMan said:

If this kind of "transformation" had been happening with our Canadian churches, then why are they all shrinking, and closing the doors on what was once anticipated as continuing growth and a flourishing, integral part of Canadian society? It seems as though the evangelistic competition has literally "drawn and quartered" the church at large, inflicted irreparable harm to countless cultures & peoples. It really just seems now like the "church" we have created is  literally a target on our foreheads,  and, providing very little real help or "truth"  to those in need.  Vying for top spot in attaining unto "cultural relevance" is NOT going to cut it this time.

Troubles With Church In Canada: Part 2

"Believe In Jesus And We Give You Water?"

"Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:" (Gen 18:4)

{picture}

Quote

 

Our Canadian Church (collectively) seems to keep painting themselves into the corner. We kind of just do it to ourselves. Look at the "common vernacular. In most places, English speaking places at least, it is common to refer to the larger Protestant entities as "mainline" Protestants. I think that labels like this can be very contentious, (among other things), and that we should avoid them. What does it really say about us when such labels are used? The term "mainline" apparently is American in it's origin, being denoted as the white, Protestant (American Northeast Coast) elite, which really does not apply to Canada.

In Canada, the larger Protestant Churches have historically been much more diverse socially, and the largest Canadian ones, unlike the American ones, were not formed as a result of regional schisms. (such as between the North and the South, in America). Although hisorically, one would have to concede that even in Canada, the largest Protestant denominations, (as well as Roman Catholics) were very socially dominant in other ways. (paraphrased from Leaving Christianity, pg 8).

In my mind, as I look at our history, it is this type of social domination that has brought about much of the ecclesial divisions, infighting, and out fighting that has made the UNChurch. The dynamics of "church" in Canada are ever-changing, as in most places, and currently remain in a state of tortuous flux, I think, largely in response to cultural and legal demands of society at large. It has been my experience too, that with the exceptions of some of the smaller, more remote towns and regions, "church" is no longer socially dominant, or relevant. There seems to be a major crises, in most of the bigger players, struggling to be "culturally relevant," and in trying to stem the tide of closing Church doors, and stifling general "church beefs" amongst the vegetarians. I have driven past several church locations near where I live, and personally seen churches converted into commercial or living quarters. One church I know of has been converted to a photographer's studio! Id actually love to own that one!

 

Read Full Text Here    (I have no time/energy to format/post it all here right now)

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