Sunday, 16 November 2008

Savoring the world

"Medieval Europe not only created the experimental science of optics and initiated surprisingly modern-sounding discussions about cosmology, but began the systematic teaching of astronomy to university undergraduates.... All this was done with the full encouragement of Christianity - for without that, there would never have been the physical resources nor the intellectual initiative to follow this path...
The disciplined search for truth which we call science, therefore, is not the natural foe of such faith, and to see it as such is to commit a serious injury to those historical forces which have produced Western civilization". Dr Allan Chapman.

Something is finally dawning in some quarters of our culture regarding the bareness of atheistic secularism, particularly with regard to its caricature of the significance of Christianity.
Today, a review was published in a popular paper here of a new television drama, some seven years in the making, to be aired this week, which seeks to challenge our incorrect assumptions on the Purtian period in England, which actually marked the beginnings of enriching society in ways we would all value as good.

"The Puritan conviction", writes Lucy Powell, "was that beauty was God-given, not man made. This meant that women could loosen the punishing pinch of fashionable, tight-wasted bodices, ditch the cumbersome hoops and bustles in their skirts, and forgo the established practice of dropping arsenic into their eyes to make them wide. They also stopped dousing their faces with acid to make them white and wrinkle-free... the period saw a radical shift in the idea of what the role of a woman would be".

The first real 'sexual revolution' occurred at this time. Puritan Men and women were able to 'socialize' in a manner which shocked at the time, and within marriage, the Puritans also encouraged sexual pleasure and satisfaction for both men and women as an inherent part of love making. Far from being the dismal characters we think them to be, they merely sought to show that all of life is best within its proper context, and key to this was an understanding of the relationship of the created order to its Creator.

Modern history is replete with examples of this 'savoring' of our world by Christianity. From the abolition of slavery, to the beginning of trade unions and social welfare, from the rich development of our language, to the origins of the first modern schools of learning for science and the arts, all stems from this same weaving of life and faith.
Is it then, perhaps any wonder, that in a time when there has been very active attempts to dis-engage such association and dismiss these connections that our culture has become more fractured and dis-membered and life has become more demeaned?

Jesus told His disciples that they would become 'salt and light' in this world, and history shows us the reality of what transpires when His body enriches the days and times around them.
Rather than becoming removed from these days, let's seek to do our best to value and season the lives of people and the opportunities we are given with the meaning of all those good things which come down to us from our Father, through His redemption, made ours in Christ.

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