A reflection on Jesus’ Parable of the Talents
This subject reflects perhaps another interpretation of Jesus’ parable of the Talents. We must consider how we use the talents and privileges we have been given.
Being given abilities especially if it is combined with opportunities is a great blessing. Many of us have been fortunate enough to grow up in a society where we are in a family with certain financial stability, reasonable nutrition and access to education. If we also have reasonable health we are also very fortunate.
Given these gifts we should think of ourselves as highly privileged. Having these privileges are a blessing from God and therefore we have a large debt to Him. Our only way to re-pay that debt is through giving ourselves to those less fortunate than ourselves; helping the poor, the inadequate and the afflicted. This does all sound rather depressing, any form of self-sacrifice does. Most of us would like to eat drink and be merry. However actually by helping others we will become more content and happier. We will start to heal ourselves. We all have wounds that need healing.
Privilege is ultimately a burden because, we question the fact that why have I greater advantages then people who have had less. Do we go through life in a Pharisaical manner believing we are superior to those of ‘lowlier station’ or do we feel compassion for them? One way we can learn compassion is through accepting our own vulnerability and mortality. Being vulnerable and daily considering our ultimate mortality is what makes us both human and humane. We often attempt to hide from our vulnerability by surrounding ourselves with diversions, whether gross materialism, addictions, worldly success, or just plain escapism. By taking these actions we form our own prison barred from the light of our true humanity and that of others. It is only through a series of continual; self-sacrifice and efforts to help the weak and vulnerable can we be released from this self-imposed prison and gaze on the light of infinity in the Kingdom of Heaven. We must also gladly accept that when we are placed in a weak situation, that we can rejoice that we have given others the opportunity of helping us and by helping us they have gained greatly. There is always the great spiritual paradox that in our weakness or through the weakness of others we gain strength and the door to understanding ourselves starts to open.
The Great British Cull
(I would like to thank Adam Singleton, eminent cartoonist, artist, writer and mathematician for giving me permission to use his theories in this article)
I was recently in London where I had the pleasure of meeting Adam Singleton. In the course of our conversation I asked: why had Britain declined so much? Britain was the first country in the world to industrialize, it fought Napoleon, often single handed, for 22 years, and created the world’s greatest empire, controlling one quarter of the world. It also pioneered enormous engineering feats and advanced science in the western world. Now it is a country in rapid decline; its infrastructure is becoming “third world”, its manufacturing is a shadow of its former self and its society is broken. Its leaders are mediocre and those in public life lack any greatness and have little integrity. Adam Singleton answered the question rapidly. To my surprise, “Contraception” he said.
I was taken aback because Adam is not a Roman Catholic or even a Christian, the nearest he says he has ever been to Catholicism is reading Evelyn Waugh and GK Chesterton. So his ideas were not based on any religious belief, but on scientific fact.
This is basically his theory. The slaughter of the First World War removed a large dynamic gene pool from Britain. This also left British society with a large number of widows and single women who would not be producing children, thus increasing the loss. That was all bad enough but it was exacerbated by the introduction of efficient contraception during the twenties and thirties. What happened was the upwardly mobile working class and the middle classes’ fertility levels fell to below replacement level and never made good the losses of the First World War to provide a new generation sufficient to re-build the nation. We then had the Second World War that removed more of the gene pool of the more able. The very high casualties in such organisations as Bomber Command are an example.
However one must also remember the role of the Eugenic supporters who were the intellectual force behind the destruction of future able generations. They believed that through contraception and sterilisation they could remove the less “desirable” elements of society. This was to include the mentally feeble, the feckless and the “undeserving poor” that could be taken out of the breeding cycle to produce a super nation. This was part of the great social engineering crusade that dominated the twentieth century, a belief firmly entrenched in many British intellectuals and supported by the Nazis.
It always happens when man wants to be God: it goes perilously wrong. Instead of removing what was deemed the less desirable elements of society, what actually happened was the destruction of the best elements of society. The feckless and lower ends of society continued to generally maintain their former fertility levels, and aided by the welfare state they increased as a proportion of society, thus causing the imbalance we see today in our social structure. The final debacle in terms of destroying new able generations was the 1967 Abortion Act. It has been said that a schoolgirl from a middle class background is far more likely to take advantage of the “convenience” of an abortion than those lower down the social scale. She has her academic needs and career to think about, driven of course by her progressive parents.
Where has Hell gone?
Nowadays any mention of Hell or damnation is unfashionable. It is not à la mode.
We seldom hear the clergy of any denomination putting forward the proposition that if you behave like a rat bag all your life, robbing and exploiting everyone, that you may certainly end up with Satan and his mob. Nowadays we have the “touchy feely” clergy who may tell you it is wrong to be a villain and disobey all biblical teachings but they are a bit weak on telling you the consequences of your actions. I suppose they think it is a bit old fashioned in our progressive non-judgemental society to mention anything as awful as eternal damnation. Anyway the Bishop might give them a dressing down for not being politically correct.
In the good old days you had splendid pictures made famous by artists like Hieronymus Bosch, showing the bad lot going down to Hell. They were a sanguine reminder to behave yourself in this life. They also had a useful purpose in this world. Many of your Baron Dreadfuls who had treated their serfs badly found, as they were nearing shuffling off their mortal coil, that they weren’t keen on joining the lost souls depicted in these pictures. So they started tipping up some of their ill-gotten wealth into charitable causes, such as hospitals, alms houses, monasteries and other establishments helping the community. Nowadays your rich oligarch builds a mammoth gym in his enlarged basement to prolong his life. The other thing he does is to spend vast amounts of money on doctors who specialize in diseases of the rich. Your modern wealthy rogue carries on his grubby life without any fear of the fiery furnaces of Hell. This I think is a great pity.
Imagine if, in every financial establishment from hedge fund to merchant bank, there were scenes of the baddies going down to Hell. The churches could commission some modern versions with the damned dressed in compulsory grey or blue suits like most of the decision makers wear nowadays. Of course the artist could find a great deal of inspiration for the faces from Television, a wonderful source for the faces of the damned. Another modern touch could be projections of lost souls going to Hell on skis from the resorts where the rich and wealthy go. A blockbuster film could be made, of all the evil lot travelling down to the depths of hell. Hollywood would love to produce such a film; all the baddies could wear black hats, descending to the depths, while all the good chaps would ascend upward in white hats. It could be a glorified Western with real endings!
One marvellous by product of this is: not only would charities benefit, but the rest of the population would not have to suffer so much of the self satisfied smug expression on the faces of the famous and wealthy. Also they may stop telling all of us how wonderful they are, having been so successful at robbing the general public. Politicians also may be less liable to lie. Here I might be being a little too optimistic; even Hell might not deter their established ways.
Yes - let’s promote Hell and get some sanity in our society!
By Alan Marr
Deus vult - Onward Christian Soldiers
We all must remember we Christians are at war, a war we have not chosen. The forces of secularism wish to annihilate us completely or render us totally insignificant, - that is their aim. They will do everything to achieve that end. Do not make any mistakes: they will use every vicious tactic known to man and Satan.
However, do not be afraid; they will be our last enemy and they will never actually win. Even if it appears they are on the threshold of victory the divine light of God will pierce the darkness they have created.
But as the old saying goes “God helps those who help themselves” and so we must not be complacent or apathetic. We have a wonderful array of weaponry to fight this enemy which is far more powerful than they can ever have.
First we have our own “nuclear weapon” love that can combat whatever weaponry is thrown against us; then we have prayer that strengthens our ability to fight, then we have our faith that acts like an eternal shield and humility, a quality that totally baffles the enemy and confuses them. We also have hope that sees us through when despair attacks us in the small hours of the night, where the bleakness of life today becomes more poignant.
But the important question is: how can we employ all these weapons? One of our great weaknesses as Christians is lack of courage; we don’t announce to the world our faith. If we don’t do this, others will think it is not worthwhile and we don’t care enough about it. The other vital issue is our example to others. We must make every effort to be cheerful and good humoured, certainly not an easy task. But everyone is observing our attitude and if we appear reasonably happy, people will recognise this as something to do with our faith. It sounds very simplistic, but people who are attractive through their “Joie de vivre” have the greatest hope of evangelising others and defeating the somewhat grim secularists.
Some of these secularists on the media are an especially gloomy lot, to judge from their sneering attitude. Anyone who wants to join them must be a little masochistic.
When you come across a seasoned secularist it is often not worth arguing, so say a prayer and smile benignly at them, the rosier the smile the better. They may think you’re daft but you will feel better and they will be so irritated they will leave you alone. However, when you meet a secularist who wavers a little and shows they are unsure, gently tell them the benefits of our faith without ramming it down their throat. Pour honey all over them (figuratively speaking) and let them remember the meeting as one of the better incidents of their day. Life nowadays is so often unpleasant at work or travelling or just going about one’s lawful business, that to meet people who really care is vitally important. You see, today when the sense of community has broken down, the pleasantries that people used to experience daily amongst one another have disappeared and it is important that we, as Christians, should re-establish them. In this war we are fighting against secularism it is often the small things that will gain the hearts and minds of others.
There is, however, one deadly enemy in this war that we must always be aware of, the “fifth columnist” enemy, the Christian who is the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They preach that biblical texts need modernising and mustn’t be taken literally; they need modification to suit modern thinking. They preach that the rules of the church are archaic and most of them should be ignored . They go on and on. When you come across them you should announce that you believe they are not speaking for God but for Satan. You cannot be too harsh with these people , they are very dangerous. Remember the aggressive secularist is far less of a danger to our Christian faith than the fake Christian who wants to erode biblical truth. The siren and seductive calls of the so-called modernisers always tinged with “reasonableness” and “tolerance” are in actual fact venomous and corrosive.
By Alan Marr
Martian Reflections Archive
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The TV and the Culture of Death
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