learning from those who have gone before

Here’s an extended quotation not only worth pondering but also one with which we must engage: 

The idea of cultivation and exercise [of spiritual awareness of God’s presence], so dear to the saints of old, has now no place in our total religious picture. It is too slow, too common. We now demand glamour and fast-flowing dramatic action. A generation of Christians reared among push-buttons and automatic machines is impatient of slower and less direct methods of reaching their goals. We have been trying to apply machine-age methods to our relations with God. We read our chapter [of the Bible], have our short devotios and rush away, hoping to make up for our deep inward bankruptcy by attending another gospel meeting or listening to another thrilling story told by a religious advernturer lately returned from afar.

The tragic results of this spirit are all about us: Shallow lives, hollow religious philosophies, the preponderance of the element of fun in gospel meetings, the glorification of men [and women], trust in religious externalities, quasi-religious fellowships, salesmanship methods, the mistaking of dynamic personality for the power of the Spirit. These and such as these are the symptoms of an evil disease, a deep and serious malady of the soul. 

For this great sickness that is upon us no one person is responsibile, and no Christian is wholly free from blame. We have all contributed, directly or indirectly, to this sad state of affairs. We have been too blind to see, or too timid to speak out, or too self-satisfied to desire anything better than the poor, average diet with which others appear satisfied. To put it differently, we have accepted another’s notions, copied one another’s lives and made one another’s experiences the model of our own. And for a generation the trend has been downward. Now we have reached a low place of sand and burnt wire-grass and, worst of all, we have made the Word of Truth conform to our experience and accepted this low plane as the very very pasture of the blessed.

I’m withholding the source (i.e. author and book) for now, primarily because I want the quotation to speak for itself.  I will disclose that the source is not recent, in the sense that it appeared within the past 5 years; the source of the quote comes from a work published in 1948.

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