Sunday, January 27, 2019

Granny’s demanding rights too!

Joyce Sasse - In the Sixties, when people of all ages were being encouraged to speak their mind, one cartoon had a feisty Granny shouting “Little old ladies have rights too!”  Sixty years later we are still trying to understand what’s happening because of all that speaking out, and why our social world has changed to such a degree. Think Twitter!

Charles Taylor, a retired philosopher from McGill University, gives us some perspective in his book “A Secular Age”. I’ll probably not read the book’s 800 pages, but I’m studying commentaries on this work and am beginning to say “Ah Ha!”.

Taylor’s term, “secularism”, has a lot to do with the public refuting a religious-based world view.

This attitude has resulted in a decline in religious practise and commitment. Social order is now fragmented because there is no common platform on which society can build its values. Civility is minimal. Self-realization is the higher goal. Faith, at best, is but one option among many. Belief in God is regarded as a childish attitude we can do without.

In the midst of all this chaos, it is easy for us to become inept tinkerers who try to find quick fixes for one broken situation after another.

While “secularism” does describe much of what’s happening, it is only a partial and very negative picture of reality. Taylor also gives glimmers of hope. By examining our weaknesses, he suggests we can make constructive decisions to move forward.

It is going to take more study and more columns to delve deeper, but I do appreciate some of the pointers he gives.

First, the era of being authoritative is over … Instead, can we try to affirm the strengths of each other?

Christians can no longer live on nostalgia. Our understanding of what it means to live as Christians must constantly evolve. Faith is a living entity.

The goal of the religious life is to share God’s love. That’s expressed through seeking to bring healing to our communities and our world, we are encouraged to develop support networks and build on positive relationships.

Taylor suggests the real question for the faithful is to ask what our response should be when something bad happens. Will we choose revenge or forgiveness? Judgement or reconciliation? We can live as if others matter, or we can be entrenched in saying to each new initiative “But we’ve never done that before!”

What do you think? Talk with others. Share your thoughts. More to come…

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