With thanks to my partner, I watched the first have of The View today (yes, in every relationship, there is compromise. This is one way of compromising with one of my partner's favorite shows). Leno was explaining to the hosts that he wanted to do something to help those who are struggling with unemployment and just don't have the money to spend a night out. He then told the hosts as he has "no marketable skills but (he knows) how to tell jokes".
In the coming weeks and months, there will be even more opportunities to volunteer time and talent. Myself included, the growing numbers of unemployed workers are a volunteer-ready population growth. Besides doing things to boost morale, there will be more opportunities to provide transportation, a set of hands with which to serve meals, clean up spaces, etc. and to be a sounding board and a shoulder to lean on when life begins to feel overwhelming.
With the state of the economy and the optimism evident in the President's job approval numbers, I was quite surprised to read about the results of a survey regarding participation in churches/synagogues/mosques. They show that self-identification with most organized religions is slowly on the decline with a small increase in the population of atheists, agnostics and "New Religious movements".
It is anyone's guess as to why the changes noted in the survey have occurred. I was always under the impression that in times of difficulty that people would return to organized religion for support. In my home church, I see the attendance increasing slightly.
Since it's my blog and opinions being like a-holes, my guess is money is at the root of the decline. In many traditional Christian churches, tithe and/or monetary gifts are collected as plates or baskets are passed amongst the congregation. At the non-denominational Christian church my brother attends, nothing is passed amongst the congregation. Instead, drop boxes that look a little like the stand into which torn movie tickets are dropped at the local multiplex.
No pressure at all for anyone to have to put money in the plate. I can see the appeal of this when everyone is watching every last dollar and cent.
With all off this, I still see opportunities. Everyone has the potential to be of help to someone in need, even if it's just sitting with someone, putting on a pot of coffee and listening. As many of us as possible will need to be ready to pick up the slack from the decline of affiliation with organized religion.