Sunday, May 21, 2006

Meat Not Milk

'I have fed you with milk, and not with meat' St. Paul wrote in his first epistle to the Corinthians (3:2). He claims to have spoken to them 'as babes in Christ' (I Cor. 3: 1). We think of St. Paul's teaching as being emphatically concerned with the conflicting dualities of flesh and spirit, of the fallen state and the state of grace; yet here he introduces a duality of a different kind, not a duality of conflict, but a duality of progress. There is war between flesh and spirit, but the antithesis between milk and meat is an antithesis between two forms of nourishment, one fit for babes and the other fit for grown men and women.

We cannot make sense of adult life with the mental equipment of the child. We cannot afford to carry into adult life a Christian consciousness so under-nourished and anaemic that we slide into accepting faddish convenience recipes for worldly well-being as our daily diet. The evidence is that when the time comes for getting to grips with the Christian faith as adults and not as children, many of our contemporaries abandon their faith. They were spoon fed on the milk of the word, but in adulthood they discard the nourishment as babyish, and assume that there is no more to be said. Meanwhile, professing believers, mena nd women who perhaps make great steps forward in other spheres of life, all too often succumb to the epidemic of anorexia religiosa which destroys all appetite for progress in Christian understanding and commitment.

This book attempts to confront the realities of the contemporary scene and to show how full-blooded Christian teaching will bring under judgment much that is taken for granted by people reared on a protein-free Gospel or on no Gospel at all. We have to learn to set life's manifestations of evil and suffering, as well as of goodness and joy, in the context of the divine and human drama which is Christianity's account of what we men and women are here involved in. The Christian worldview is the only integrative counterpoise to a secularism that is decomposing our civilisation. No thoughtful Christian can contemplate and analyse the tensions all about us in both public and private life without sensing the eternal momentousness of the current struggle for the human mind between Christian teaching and materialistic secularism. (Harry Blamires, Recovering the Christian Mind, pp. 9-10, Intervarsity Press, 1988.)

No comments: