May 3, 2010

Temporal and Spiritual

Began reading "Wrestlin' Jacob," by Erskine Clarke which revisits religion in the old South, particularly Liberty County, Georgia and its surrounding environs. I immediately ran across the following lines which gave me pause as they resonated with the thoughts already rattling around in my head about this deeply important question of church and state relations.

"'We are sensible," they wrote in the Articles of Incorporation, 'to the
advantages of good order and social agreement, among any people, both for
their Civil and Religious Benefit. . .' For theses Puritan setlers, the government of
such a commuinty would consist of two coordinate branches: the Church and
the Society. The church would be governed by the male communing members who would administer spiritual affairs; the Society would be composed of all males who would subscribe to the Articles of Incorporation, whether they were communing members of the Church or not, and would administer temporal affairs. If this
were not a "Holy Commonwealth," it was clearly a Christian Society they wished to establish on the Georgia coast...At the center of this community stood the church.
" (emphasis added)

I find it instructive that for our Founders, and the society in which they lived and breathed, issues of faith played a central, undeniable role; particularly issues of the Christian faith. You will find this singular fact borne out in the architectural fabric of almost every community in this great land where standing in the midst of the places of law and merchandising are the places of faith and worship.

Can there be any denial that the ground from which the early thoughts about our nation grew was a thoroughly Christian ground?


Mark (under construction) said...

your back!!! and this is good.

Austraila's past is not so note worthy ... a penal settlement we were.

John said...

Mark! Yes, I'm back more or less and always enjoying the visits from my blogosphere friends. Thank you for being one! I look forward to catching up on the things that have been rattling around in your head there down-under.

You speak of your past there in Aussie land. Any thoughts on how that has shaped the culture in which you live today? I have an imagination that Judeo-Christian notions/understandings play a significant role in the secular underpinnings of your society. After all, they may have been criminals but they were "Christian" criminals!

Hope to hear back from you on this one.

Mark (under construction) said...

been working with a Canadian lately and I am discovering one of the biggest differences in the Aussie Psych is our ability to take the "P@@@ out" of each other - I am a New Zealander (Kiwi) been here for about 28 years and we don't do it to the extent as they do here - my Canadian friend is learning that this is a term of endearment.

I found this online ....
Taking the piss - One of the things Americans find hardest about the Aussies is our sense of humour. It is obviously different and is mainly based on irony, sarcasm and an in-built desire to "take the piss". This has nothing to do with urine, but simply means making fun of someone.

Our Christian forefathers were very harsh with their penal charges and the resentment remains.

John said...

Interesting thoughts Mark...In what ways does that resentment show up in the culture, other than "taking the piss" out of each other (a practice I am quite familiar with as it is also a part of our southern culture - we call it "picking at each other" among other names).

Is there really a sense of the penal nature of Aussie-land or Kiwi-land in the day-to-day culture? Interested to hear how this may interract with your pursuits in forming and growing the church there.

Here it's is almost as if people have been innoculated with Christianity - i.e. given a small dose so they can build up a lasting immunity to it.

Blessings my friend.