Saturday, January 19, 2008


The following words taken from J.I. Packer's introduction to Worldly Saints-The Puritans As They Really Were by Leland Ryken describe not only the integration that marked the life of the Puritans, they also describe a healthy approach to life that we should embrace:

There was for them no disjunction between sacred and secular; all creation, so far as they were concerned, was sacred, and all activities, of whatever kind, must be sanctified, that is, done to the glory of God. So, in their heavenly minded ardor the Puritans became men and women of order, matter-of-fact and down-to-earth, prayerful, purposeful, practical. Seeing life whole, they integrated contemplation with action, worship with work, labor with rest, love of God with love of neighbor and of self, personal with social identity, and the wide spectrum of relational responsibilities with each other, in a thoroughly conscientious and thought-out way. (pg. xii)

I wonder if it is 21st Century laziness that leads us to divorce sacred from secular, so that we are largely unwilling to expend the effort to attempt any level of integration between the two. We "turn on" a form of spirituality at church and in Christian circles, and then turn it off during the balance of our lives. Possibly in addition to being lazy we are also fearful that "ordinary folks" will think that we are out-of-touch with reality if we try to mesh spirituality with the mundane, if we try to redeem recreation, if we consider that the "secular" actually belongs to the Creator.

What would result if more of us would emulate the Puritans in their integrated life styles?

1 comment:

Jason said...

I just finish reading C. Vaughn Doner THE LATE GREAT EVANGELICAL CHURCH. He has a lot to say on the subject of the Puritan. Here is just a small portion. "The Puritan spirit with its Calvinist worldview(and in spite of its often overzealous spiritualizing) was arguably the last major religious movement to represent a comprehensive, integrated, and full-orbed Protestant agenda on American soil"

The studied I have done on the Puritans have changed my life and Christian viewpoint.