Churches, Additional Subthemes
The other sections cover multiple aspects of Religion elicited from four works of art: Pierre-August Renoir’s The Church at Essoyes, Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach”", a despondent interlude in a warm church, and sanctuary and inspiration from a church’s priest during a movie. Here are additional thoughts about the theme of Churches that don’t associate closely with any of those works.
Sociology: Religion is a recurrent focus of sociologists, those who study and theorize about how people in a community lead their lives, determine what is good and bad behavior, and explain the trials and triumphs of life. As part of that focus, the places where people learn about their religion, be it the strict interpretation of Sharia law espoused by the Taliban or the Te Hahi Mihinare of the Māori, occupy the efforts of many sociologists. The mores of a society revolve around a place of worship, a church.
Funerals and Cemeteries: All cultures mark a person’s death, most commonly by burial or cremation, but with an astonishingly wide variety of practices. Most end-of-a-life ceremonies of them begin or end at a religious site. Often, the final resting place of a church member lies in a cemetery near the church, perhaps with a headstone, a sarcophagus, a pile of stone, a plaque or other memorial.
Tithing: Support for the church building, grounds and employees comes from contributions by the attendees of the church. In one form or another, to continue their calling, the leader of the congregation must “pass the plate.” Whether or not the plate receives a “tithe,” originally one-tenth of a family’s earnings as a church tax, most of the money that enables churches to function comes from donations.