In his memoir, My Early Life (1930), Winston Churchill drew attention to the estrangement of his society from the legacy and the values of the past. He observed:
“I wonder often whether any other generation has seen such astounding revolutions of data and values as those through which we have lived. Scarcely anything, material or established, which I was brought up to believe was permanent and vital, has lasted. Everything I was sure, or was taught to be sure, was impossible has happened.”
Terrific essay and full of far-reaching implications:
“It takes courage to stand up against your enemies. It takes more courage to stand up against your friends.”
Social context is huge. It does not need to be determinative. It does seem however to be determinative many times.
I have been in and among many churches and Christian organizations. One question I’ve asked which shows the power/influence of social cohesion is: Name one person who has raised an issue of concern about their respective church, school, etc. and was that person marginalized, fired, or promoted? I get lots of silence.
Sad reality and it is the kind of thing which made Niebuhr cynical about groups, including the church. But the church can and must do better. And I know several pastors who do, so I stay sane!
CAN DANCE ON THE HEAD OF A PIN?
I post this the day before April Fools Day so you will know I am not joking by the speculations below.
I’m sure you’ve heard the question before. Here are some possibilities:
301,655,172 (According to Talmudic scholars)
297,814,995,628,536,548,496,165,479,368,800,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (According to seventeenth-century German Jesuit Gaspar Schott)
Source: Divine Fury by Darrin McMahon, p. 256.