Friday, 3 July 2009

What Do Driveling Little Doodles Have To Do With Christianity's Dangerous Idea?

Reading Alister McGrath, Christianity’s Dangerous Idea: the Protestant Revolution—a history from the sixteenth century to the twenty-first (HarperOne, 2007)…from the public library, yet! Very good. Some bits that caught my eye:
Other nations might have been tempted to experiment with atheism or agnosticism in response to the religious intolerance and bigotry of the Puritan era. The English, however, decided to reinstate the Church of England instead, presumably believing that, for all intents and purposes, this amounted to more or less the same thing.
The same thing as atheism or agnosticism, that is. Hmmm. Does history repeat itself? He goes on:
Under Charles II, who reigned from 1660 to 1685, a decidedly docile form of Anglicanism emerged as the religion of the English establishment. The Church of England would be expected to be submissive to the expectations of the people and to keep its religious beliefs to itself rather than impose them on others. 142
Is there still the tendency to docile submissiveness to the spirit of the age and to keeping its beliefs to itself? I think so, alas. I do it myself.

On early protestantism in America
Whereas Massachusetts became a hotbed of Protestant religious experimentation, with generally secondary interests in commerce, southern colonies from Delaware to Georgia were primarily concerned with trade and saw religion as peripheral to this enterprise. It was an ideal context for Anglicanism to take root and flourish, primarily as the religion of the planting class. Long used to issues of social class and distinction, Anglicanism proved an ideal provider of a veneer of religious dignity to the social structures of the plantations that continued to the dawn of the nineteenth century. 154
Allowing our religion to be peripheral to our lives is still a hazard for Christians. So it devising a form of Anglicanism which merely provides a veneer of religious dignity to living and consuming like everyone else.

The problem with nineteenth century pastors
Who were seen by some as little more than “thin, vapid, affected, driveling little doodles.” 369
Ahem. I AM not thin.