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Volunteering with religious charities?
Posted: 06 February 2012 10:13 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Here in NYC, I used to volunteer at a soup kitchen called Christian Help in Park Slope (CHIPS). I liked it. I’m a good cook, I work well in a team, and I always left feeling fulfilled. CHIPS is run by Franciscan nuns but they aren’t back in the kitchen, where I and my fellow volunteers were. Every time I worked there, my fellow volunteers were also outwardly secular people, and we weren’t expected to mingle/dine with the people we fed, most of whom were either religious or whom I at least overheard often praising their lord. In the kitchen, I don’t remember any god talk at all.

But I’m moving to a different neighborhood, and since I haven’t found a secular soup kitchen/food pantry yet, I’m looking at religious ones again. The closest ones are run by Catholic Worker, two LGBT-friendly Episcopal churches (one of them called “Holy Apostles”), a Presbyterian church, and a Jewish student-life center. The nonprofits organizing the two best-known citywide ones are either Catholic (God’s Love We Deliver, the most famous but with high overhead costs) or Jewish (Meals on Wheels) nonprofits.

I’d much rather volunteer with a secular charitable nonprofit, but the pickings in even this big city are thin unless I find another form of work that can help my community or city without promoting religion. I’m happy to help religious people in need. I just don’t want a deity taking credit for it.

Do you volunteer with religious groups? And if you do, as you do it, are you open about your secularity?

[ Edited: 06 February 2012 10:20 AM by josh_karpf ]
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Posted: 06 February 2012 10:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I’ve done a lot of Habitat work. The god stuff never comes up with the great group of people I work with.

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Posted: 06 February 2012 10:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I’ve volunteered at a local Episcopal church several times in the past. My wife and daughter attend there and the church leaders are aware of my nonbelief. No problems


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Posted: 06 February 2012 10:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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The closest I have ever come to volunteering was when I was asked to design a stage for a Christmas show for a local church that couldn’t afford to pay me. The person I was dealing with was a friend of a friend who knew that I was an atheist, but it never came up. The one thing I remember they objected to was the size of the manger cow’s udder. I think I did that on purpose.  cheese

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Posted: 06 February 2012 10:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Funny, George!

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Posted: 06 February 2012 12:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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josh_karpf - 06 February 2012 10:13 AM

Here in NYC, I used to volunteer at a soup kitchen called Christian Help in Park Slope (CHIPS). I liked it. I’m a good cook, I work well in a team, and I always left feeling fulfilled. CHIPS is run by Franciscan nuns but they aren’t back in the kitchen, where I and my fellow volunteers were. Every time I worked there, my fellow volunteers were also outwardly secular people, and we weren’t expected to mingle/dine with the people we fed, most of whom were either religious or whom I at least overheard often praising their lord. In the kitchen, I don’t remember any god talk at all.

But I’m moving to a different neighborhood, and since I haven’t found a secular soup kitchen/food pantry yet, I’m looking at religious ones again. The closest ones are run by Catholic Worker, two LGBT-friendly Episcopal churches (one of them called “Holy Apostles”), a Presbyterian church, and a Jewish student-life center. The nonprofits organizing the two best-known citywide ones are either Catholic (God’s Love We Deliver, the most famous but with high overhead costs) or Jewish (Meals on Wheels) nonprofits.

I’d much rather volunteer with a secular charitable nonprofit, but the pickings in even this big city are thin unless I find another form of work that can help my community or city without promoting religion. I’m happy to help religious people in need. I just don’t want a deity taking credit for it.

Do you volunteer with religious groups? And if you do, as you do it, are you open about your secularity?

Same problem here, I actually volunteered to help at the local food bank, run by the local Episcopal Church recently and was turned.  However it was not because of my lack of faith but that they didn’t need volunteers at this point. surprised What they are attempting to do is have the recipients do the work.  Not a bad idea.  So I am getting more active with the VFW despite their unpatriotic and ignored, in my case, prohibition against atheists.

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Posted: 06 February 2012 12:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Interesting thread!

I once worked at a Catholic school (ages 5-12/13) many years ago.

I did it for various reason. One being that I was unemployed and wanted some work experience on my CV. Another being that I just wanted to be doing something worthwhile.
I didn’t know it was a Catholic school until I got there, and was a bit hesitant at first, but went for it. Religion didn’t feature in any way when I mingled with the staff.
The main job I did was organizing the library, which had fallen into disarray, but also organizing lunch for the kids and some office work.

The only time I did talk about religion there was with some of the older kids, where one of them said her and her friends think thought it was all a “crock of sh*t.”
I later bumped into one of the teachers out one weekend, absolutely staggeringly drunk! Hahaha… He admitted he’s not a practising Catholic but goes with it for the kids.

I’d have no qualms about doing it again, just as long as religion never came into it. A good deed is a good deed.

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Posted: 06 February 2012 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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The only time I’ve done volunteer work was in high school;in my area,there’s a community service requirement that all students must complete in order to graduate.  I and other unmotivated students were forced to labor at a farm that grows produce for local soup kitchens,and it was a religious themed operation if I remember right. I generally don’t like volunteering or charities though.

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Posted: 06 February 2012 02:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I do volunteer work administering a secular/skeptic forum, deleting spam, removing spam accounts, etc. ...  cheese

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Posted: 06 February 2012 04:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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dougsmith - 06 February 2012 02:13 PM

I do volunteer work administering a secular/skeptic forum, deleting spam, removing spam accounts, etc. ...  cheese

God bless…

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Posted: 06 February 2012 04:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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traveler - 06 February 2012 04:00 PM
dougsmith - 06 February 2012 02:13 PM

I do volunteer work administering a secular/skeptic forum, deleting spam, removing spam accounts, etc. ...  cheese

God bless…

Amen, brothers!  LOL

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Posted: 06 February 2012 05:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Spam,spam,spam,spam spam wonderful spam! But I don’t like spam! (Lame Monty Python sketch). cheese


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Posted: 06 February 2012 07:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 06 February 2012 05:23 PM

Spam,spam,spam,spam spam wonderful spam! But I don’t like spam! (Lame Monty Python sketch). cheese

And I hate it! Hate, hate, hate the spam!  vampire

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Posted: 06 February 2012 08:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Just two thoughts.

I just don’t want a deity taking credit for it.

If this is what I thought, then I would consider that a paradox. We need to step back a little and define who we are and our purpose. I’ll be brief. We are
are duel nature beings, spirit and substance. Spirit in that we have a soul that is destined to return(beatified) to the Spirit of God. Our purpose is set to do a task here on earth which is not our true home. Some have called it an exile of sorts, even a test bed. Our bodies are this nature in order to be able to do the tasks in this substantial world has instructed by His laws. Our good that we do is really God’s by ownership, since nothing could have been done if it were not all provided by Him. So we do our good out of privilege and we offer it back to it’s owner in order to give in the deserving glory. We are to build greater good out of the initial good at our disposal.

...... and you are doing just that grin  but need to do one tiny thing and that is change the purpose and realize the cause.

I would suggest to just keep helping out wherever help is needed, with just one caution. The overall purpose of the charitable organization must be oriented first to the morals of God. For instance an organization that does everything good but supports abortion would be one to stay away from. Another would be if funding is diverted to closed activity, then the openly charitable part becomes just a front. These are just two but I think you know what I mean. Research and reputation usually can weed out the bad ones.

It sounds like you have a worthy calling, good for you.

Do I help out?.

Sure do. I work in youth activity and soup kitchens and donated clothes handling. I also cleaned churches for christmas and mount decorations in the church. I’m also in formation for the SFO.

[Edited to change color. Blue is reserved for official mod/admin comments like this one. Thanks.  dougsmith—Admin]

[ Edited: 07 February 2012 05:04 AM by dougsmith ]
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Posted: 07 February 2012 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Oh geez…  oh oh

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Posted: 07 February 2012 06:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Spence - 06 February 2012 08:55 PM

For instance an organization that does everything good but supports abortion would be one to stay away from.

Are you sure? Because as far as I know in the afterlife we will be judged by Aeacus, Rhadamanthus and King Minos. I have never heard Aeacus, Rhadamanthus and King Minos objecting to abortion. I think you may following the wrong god, Spence.

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