How most vicars stay sane I do not know. There is a special blessing in the knowledge of the love of God: without it, Bedlam is close at the heels.
To reach out to touch the divine, the awe must overwhelm the mind, and it is easy to be misled down other paths.
A minister of the established Church has a position without easy parallel. He is a public official with all eyes upon him because he is expected to display a special insight into the mind of God, but with a doctrine reminding him that he has none. He knows he is inadequate to the task. To be an elder of the church is to accept impossible responsibilities in which you are seen as what you can never be. The process of striving to achieve spiritual improvement may destroy it.
Understanding anything of the vastness of God, and the divine is impossible to approach. Martin Luther when first ordained as a monk-priest shook uncontrollably when he first performed the mass, because he had been told that he was physically creating the body of Christ, which is to say he was quite literally making God. No man can do this.
Most vicars, level-headed and understanding as they are, know their own inadequacy at impossible task, and they fail only when they forget that they are mortal. Whatever vision Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel were shown on Sinai, we are told that none, not even Moses, can see The Lord and live. We though have Jesus, which is why any attempt by a minister of the church to understand his called must be by learning at the feet of Jesus, and being content there.
A temptation may creep upon one to believe that there is a special insight given to vicars, that any inspiration in the mind, notwithstanding that it is not scriptural, must be from the throne of the Most High. This is particularly evident in those vicars who take up political causes and will not be swayed from them, as all who disagree must surely be evil.
Vicars should keep busy at their actual calling: we know who makes work for idle hands.
For as in the middest of the sea, though a man perceive no sound of that part of the water next him; yet he is well assured, that part contributes as much, to the Roaring of the Sea, as any other part, of the same quantity: so also, thought wee perceive no great unquietnesse, in one, or two men; yet we may be well assured, that their singular Passions, are parts of the Seditious roaring of a troubled Nation. And if there were nothing else that bewrayed their madnesse; yet that very arrogating such inspiration to themselves, is argument enough. If some man in Bedlam should entertaine you with sober discourse; and you desire in taking leave, to know what he were, that you might another time requite his civility; and he should tell you, he were God the Father; I think you need expect no extravagant action for argument of his Madnesse.
This opinion of Inspiration, called commonly, Private Spirit, begins very often, from some lucky finding of an Errour generally held by others; and not knowing, or not remembring, by what conduct of reason, they came to so singular a truth, (as they think it, though it be many times an untruth they light on,) they presently admire themselves; as being in the speciall grace of God Almighty, who hath revealed the same to them supernaturally, by his Spirit.
Thus we have vicars who preach sermons devoid of spiritual content but fiercely passionate on climate change, those who condemn racism, which could be done with a simple word, and consider they work done, with not a word from the charge given to them in the Great Commission.
It is displacement activity, just like the Pharisees of old following invented rituals and painting tombs rather than following justice and mercy.
It s hard to condemn such behaviour knowing we are all flawed. Modern life is too complicated to take it all in. The Christian faith is actually very simple so some ministers may be looking for something to fill in, to bulk it up, but that would be mixing the iron with clay.
In a more dangerous trend, a minister may turn away from the actual requirements of his calling, knowing it to be too hard and the awe too frightening, replacing the living faith with a dead, secular doctrine drawn from his own Private Spirit, which is a form of madness. It is unsurprising then to see a minister sew his own lips together, which must be a sign of deepest madness in itself, not in the cause of the faith but in a purely secular idea of environmental eschatology.
If the secular cause has gained such traction as to displace actual Christianity, it is a heathen religion, an idol, to be condemned and cast out.
- Gnawing inadequacy
- Eschatological Rebellion
- Politics makes screaming madness
- The maddening of a paper MP
- Who are hypocrites?
- The Babylonish captivity of the Church, politically
- By Thomas Hobbes:
- By others:
- Institutes of the Christian Religion – Calvin
- The Borisaurus: The Dictionary of Boris Johnson by Simon Walters
- Philosophy, Rhetoric, and Thomas Hobbes by Timothy Raylor
- Thomas Hobbes: Political Ideas in Historical Context by J P Sommerville
- On Liberty by John Stuart Mill
- Hard Green: Saving The Environment From The Environmentalists A Conservative Manifesto by Peter Huber
- Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth by James Lovelock
The Revenge of Gaia by James Lovelock
- Green States and Social Movements by John S. Dryzek, David Downes, Christian Hunold, David Schlosberg, Hans-Kristian Hernes