Sunday, October 31, 2010

Santa Ana Kiwanis 90 yrs. Strong


The Kiwanis Club of Santa Ana has an outstanding monthly bulletin. It's full of news, projects, planning, and sometimes even a column by Amazing Clint.  Because it is such a good communicator I want to use it to start a converstation about membership. Churches, Service Clubs and other Non-profit charitible organizations have experienced membership problems recently. Their influence has gradually eroded and for some the result is not good. The reasons why this is happening are not crystal clear but there is one characteristic that appears common to the problem: 

A DECLINE IN RELEVANCE.

Such organizations usually have  dwindling but committed core of ageing members. As they get older they find it increasingly difficult to participate and contribute, and  realize that their organization is not attracting new and younger members, and at some point they find themselves with a serious membership problem. 


IT'S AN OLD PROBLEM
I read somewhere that when Plato founded his academy (about 387 BC) it encouraged in the broadest possible way the intellectual pursuit of politics, philosophy, religion and science. When Plato died his student Aristotle  continued as head of the Academy and continued it's work. Ultimately the collected works Plato and his successors formed the basis of modern philosophical thought. You probably wonder why I've included this little paragraph.

Plato's work developed encouraged a close relationship between Religion and the Sciences.  It gained strength during the dark ages and reached a high point during the middle ages. Interestingly, though distinctly separate, church and state worked together. The dominant Catholic church was very powerful.  Any head of state that dared disobey papal directives risked excommunication, seizure of properties, confiscation of wealth or worse. He (or she) also faced the attack of enemies fired with the "love of God" and the promise of wealth and  power once the "enemy of the church" had been crushed.

Something is familiar there isn't it?

At some time point prior to the dark ages, science had been introduced through religion. The main alchemist's objective was the changing of base metals into gold.  The objective of Religion at that time became the improvement of man. The church with it's  monasteries and other institutions provided the centers of learning and research. A very few  individuals were supported by the royal courts of the time, who in turn were generally under the close influence of the church.

Time passed and three things happened that changed the balance between Church and State. They were:
  • The Reformation (1517)
  • The French Revolution (1789-99)
  • The Industrial Revolution (1750-1850)
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I've not finished this and yes there is a point. I'm just having trouble getting to it. 11-01-10

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