Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Trapped in Neverland

I'm back from a few days away visiting family. We are glad to have power after the recent windstorm left many in the dark and cold. Unfortunately that same storm knocked our internet provider with whom we also get telephone and cable tv. So the last few days have been a mixed blessing of sorts.

I'm blogging from an alternative location today and came across this well written piece by Dr. Carl Trueman, Professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. It resonated with me on several levels -- as one who comes from humble roots, as a father, and as a pastor who is watching the next generation take its place in the church -- just to name a few.

Here is an excerpt:

Growing up, I adored my grandfather. He was probably the funniest man I ever knew, with a razor sharp wit, absurdism and satire running through his veins, and an imagination that seemed to know no bounds. His letters to me were mini-masterpieces of surreal satire, and he knew how to have fun, how to puncture pomposity, and how to provoke people to think. Yet he was, by today's standards, uneducated. He had left school at thirteen to work in a factory; he was a union man; he lived through the General Strike and the Depression; he knew what it was like to tramp the streets, looking for work but knowing there was no work to be found; and, a psychological victim of the British class system...I hated the system that had treated my grandfather like dirt and kept him tugging his forelock at those whose only virtue was to have been born to wealthier familes...

Now, there's quite a contrast between the world in which my grandfather grew up and the world of today. By age fifteen, he had done two years of hard work; had he not done so, the result would have been simple - he would have starved. By age twenty, he knew what responsibility was; by age thirty he had spent over half his life in the workplace. Indeed, he did not become an adult when he married and had children; he had already been an adult since before he had really needed to shave.Today is so different. If the poverty and hard work of my grandfather's era left men middle-aged at thirty, the ease and trivia of today's society seems to leave us trapped in a permanent Neverland where we all, like so many Peter (and Patty) Pans, live lives of eternal youth. Where my grandfather spent his day hard at work, trying - sometimes desperately - to make enough money to put bread on the table and shoes on his children's feet, today many have time to play X-Box and video games, or warble on and on incessantly in that narcissistic echo-chamber that is the blogosphere. The world of my grandfather was evil because it made him grow up too fast; the world of today is evil because it prevents many from ever growing up at all...

You can read the rest here:
Trapped in Neverland - Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, Inc

1 comment:

Joe said...

Trueman says poverty is an evil and I suppose he is correct.

Those of us who have escaped it (by a single generation in my case) are then faced with different evils -- including temptations to sloth, indolence, and ingratitude.

It seems the only way to combat those temptations is to intentionally deny what we can afford with our money and our time. We can give away more and more money. We can severely (by the world's standards) restrict what we allow our children to do and own.

And when that is mastered then one confonts another evil -- the ridicule and rejection by the world and even some in the church.

God knows we don't respond perfectly to our temptations. We overcorrect against some and underestimate others. But there seem to be far, far too few brothers and sisters who even acknowledge a need to deny ourselves any indulgence.

This leads to isolation and it deprives us of meaningful counsel and feedback on our choices, which allows errors to compound too easily.

I've heard that poor Christians in third-world countries pray for American Christians because we suffer such temptations of wealth. I believe it, and I hope they continue praying for us.