Well, I'm alive; feeling the congestion from my head move south into my chest, but I'll live. Sinus congestion is the worst. I had surgery to correct a deviated septum years ago, so when I get a head cold, it migrates. But I don't need to provide a litany of my minor ailments.
I am preparing my post for next monday about studying the parables of Jesus. I had it almost ready on the weekend, but once this cold set in, my mental faculties were clunking along clunkier than normal. I will have that post next week. I'd like to combine the post with actually going through an example of how to study a parable.
I've been reading about the attitude the Puritans had toward social action. To the Puritans, Christians were responsible for the poor. The new birth resulted in concern for others, and they took seriously their role in making the community better. It was personal rather than an institutional matter. Whereas today we have (in Canada, especially) social safety nets like unemployment insurance and child tax credits, the Purtains, as individuals, ministered to those in need. Their idea of helping others was not to adopt a program for them to receive handouts. They wanted to help the person for the long term. The Puritan Richard Greehan said this:
Surely if men were careful to reform themselves first, and then their own families, they should see God's manifold blessings in our land and upon church and commonwealth. For of particular persons come families; of families, towns; of towns, provinces; of provinces, whole realms.
The Puritans wanted to help those most in need, so if there was a way to help those who could contribute to helping themseleves, they saw that as the better deed. I think that principle is ideally at work in social programs, but in practice it doesn't work all the time, at least not here in Canada, where things like unemployment insurance is used and abused by those who don't truly need it.
Ryken says with regard to Greenham's comment: "Such a statement is an implicit rejection of the modern liberal position that the way to combat social ills is to multiply social agencies."
We all know that government agencies, no matter how well-intentioned, cannot legislate morality or change people. With the plethora of social agencies here in Canada, one might think society was much better, but it has created a serious entitlement mentality.
I've grown up with social agencies being a very present element in the economy. I've benefitted from them. But I don't think they are entirely what the Puritans had in mind. They are big issues, and once a social agency gets installed and people begin depending on it, it's rather difficult to see it go or be changed in any way.
I love how the Puritans' attitudes spoke to so many areas that we can benefit from today. It was a reminder to me that as an individual, I can contribute help to those in need.