Insight on the News
Churches in Financial Pinch
● Declining incomes trouble many churches. A general assembly of the United Presbyterian Church (seventh-largest U.S. Protestant denomination) was told that the church is near bankruptcy. In England, the incoming Archbishop of Canterbury warned that “the church in the coming years will be stripped of much of its possessions” by means of inflation. A number of Anglican churches have had to sell treasured gold and silver plates to cover expenses.
Temple Beth Am, a Jewish synagogue in Amherst, New York, has chosen a different method: Bingo. Marshall Glickman, former president of the Reform congregation, says: “We are turning to bingo because we are nearly $400,000 in debt. . . . If we push too hard for higher dues, we force people to drop out.” He says that a Jewish temple in nearby Niagara Falls “began a bingo game and in three years cleared $75,000.” Compare this with the spontaneous giving on the part of God’s servants as described at Exodus 36:3-7 and; 1 Chronicles 29:9.
Coping with Stress
● “A calm heart is the life of the fleshly organism,” says the Bible. (Prov. 14:30) Today people’s calmness is under heavy attack from the stress of modern living. What happens to the “fleshly organism” under such pressure?
Heartbeat steps up, blood pressure rises, digestion slows and numerous other changes take place. According to a recent book titled “Stress,” when relief does not arrive, these body reactions keep on and build a cumulative effect, “wearing out the motor of the body without taking us anywhere.”
Prolonged tension can bring serious damage—from ulcers to crippling headaches to heart trouble. What is the solution?
Many turn to tranquilizers and “mood pills.” But, as the authors of “Stress” point out, “these pills never really solve anything, they only obscure it.”
The remedy, according to researchers, is to get at the cause of stress and either adjust your life to bring relief or adjust your attitude to reduce the effect on mind and body.
Some things in life are simply beyond human control to change. And adjusting one’s attitude requires insight into the reasons for life’s problems and something solid to rest one’s hopes on for something better. “The waning power of religion,” the book “Stress” observes, “is one reason why life has become so stressful in the Western world.” But religion founded on truth will not wane in power. That truth is found in God’s Word, pointing the way to the ‘calmness of heart’ that contributes to health of mind and body.—Prov. 3:4-8; Matt. 6:25-34; Phil. 4:6, 7.
Alternative to Blood Transfusions
● How severe an anemia resulting from blood loss can be survived without a blood transfusion? Oxygen is vital to life and hemoglobin is the blood component transporting oxygen. Anemia is considered “severe” when the hemoglobin count drops to 6 grams (per 100 milliliters of blood) or lower. (Normal is 13-15 grams.) Even when the count drops to only 10 grams, and there is considerable bleeding, doctors generally want to transfuse blood.
Under the heading “Exceptional Blood Loss Anemia,” the “Journal of the American Medical Association” (JAMA) of May 20, 1974, cites three cases involving Jehovah’s witnesses where the hemoglobin levels dropped to 6.9, 3.8 and 2.6 grams respectively. On account of the patients’ religious convictions, doctors at Long Beach Naval Hospital tried treatment other than blood transfusion. Along with intramuscular injections of dextran and intravenous injections of balanced saline solutions, they administered “hyperbaric oxygen” to compensate for the lack of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin. What resulted?
“Dramatic improvement, with reversal of the signs and symptoms of hypoxia [lack of oxygen] in all three patients,” the article states.
Such treatment in itself may not solve the cause of the anemia, but it may allow the doctor needed time to work at the solution, or time for the patient’s body to apply its own healing power, without resorting to blood transfusions. And it illustrates again that alternative methods are often available to doctors willing to respect convictions based on God’s law regarding the use of blood.—Acts 15:28, 29.