Thought for the day – Friday 29 May

Thought for the day - Friday 29 May
Dear All
There have been many social ‘experiments’ tried and tested over the years and each with varying degrees of success. Many books have been written and read and political systems and principles developed on how we should live.
Some books emphasise individualism while others promote a more egalitarian outlook. The three major systems in place today in sociological terms are Authoritarianism, Monarchy and Democracy.
We might, however, say something like Communism, Socialism and Capitalism and some like our own here in Britain a mixed economy with elements of Capitalism, Liberalism, Socialism and Monarchy.

I recently read a book that I first heard of many years ago, called the ‘Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’ by Robert Tressell. It was an excellent read. It was funny, sad, insightful and very thought-provoking.

In some ways, I would describe the book as being allegorical and I would recommend it if you are wanting a good read. Others for interest, include ‘Lord of the Flies’ (William Golding), The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck), Sunset Song (Lewis Grassic Gibbon), Animal Farm and The Road to Wigan Pier (George Orwell). All of these books have been around for donkey’s years and have made some important social, societal comments. Guess where the terms like ‘Big Brother’ and ‘Room 101’ came from and why?

I have not, as yet, read Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ Communist Manifesto, but I have read Hitler’s Mein Kampf (in English) and until I have read a book of any kind for myself, I make no comment with any degree of confidence or authority. We know what Hitler thought, no need to read him, but Marx and Engels?
Marx did write as a slogan, I understand, ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to his need’. Very biblical? You would think that he got his inspiration from the bible itself when you consider his words and what you read in the book of Acts. Maybe he did!!
It is often the case, is it not, that we hear folk pontificate about this or that and who form opinions on what others’ have said without as much as a glance at the ‘facts’ for themselves. I should say here though, not many folks have visited the moon yet there are many astronomical experts among us here on earth.
I have heard as you will have, I’m sure, that Jesus was a ‘communist’ or at least had ‘Communist’ or ‘Socialist’ tendencies in what he said and did. He did, after all, have plenty to say about greed, riches, wealth, possessions, looking after the poor, and criticised vehemently organised religious hypocrisy. No gentle, six feet tall, blue-eyed, European Jesus here. However, you might describe Jesus, be sure to include ‘straight-talking’ and brave.
In the Acts of The Apostles, we get a first look at what the early church looked like. This young church was little more than one of many, religious sects at the time, and as such, it drew both suspicion and admiration. It was not an organised institution and was nothing like the church we think of and know today.
Robes, smells ‘n’ bells, mitres, crooks and Kirk Sessions were unknown. No Catholics, no Protestants, no Baptists, Methodists, Anglicans or Presbyterians for example, these were all ‘invented’ sometime later, much later.
When you read the Acts you begin to wonder how on earth the church grew from an embryonic cluster of mixed bag believers into the various institutional forms we are familiar with today. I suppose though the same can be said of any institution. How they begin and where they end up are often poles apart.
Jesus’ teachings have come to be known as, as you well know, a new religion called Christianity. For many centuries Christian principles formed the basis of good society and yet even within that ‘good Christian society’ racial discrimination, slavery, all kinds of human exploitation thrived. Even our hymns until they were (and continue to be) revised, reflected class and gender negatively.
Does the church of today resemble the early church? What is it that is of more importance today. Is it the rules and regulations, the practices and procedures or how we live and treat one another?
The church is supposed to be wherever God’s people are praising, caring and sharing, not wherever God’s people are fighting.
Were the early believers ‘communists’, what do you think?
Today I ask you to think/meditate on these things.
God bless you!

Jim

JBoag@churchofscotland.org.uk

ACTS 4: 32-35

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power, the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *