Temptations old and new

Published January 1, 1999

100 years ago: January 1899

Canadian Churchman reported that in a time of strongly conflicting ideas and aims – and I suppose our own is such a time – there are obvious and special dangers very subtle, but very formidable, to wise and faithful thinking, from the mere fact of the world being divided roughly into two camps, of the old and new. Whatever line a man takes, whether he attacks or defends, whether he accepts what is received as ancient and common, or is dissatisfied with it and devotes himself to criticism, to discovery, to the reconstruction or overthrow of what he finds established – or the substitution of something better in its place – in either case he is exposed to temptations, moral temptations, quite independent of the goodness or badness of his cause, but greatly affecting the habits of his mind and the course of his thoughts, the character of his judgments.

50 years ago: January 1949

Canadian Churchman reported that the superior attitude of those who defy change is productive of misery and at most short lived. Holy Scripture urges us to make continual adjustment. Change your mind is the literal significance of the expression, “Repent ye!” And repentance, one of the fundamental requirements of religion, is perhaps most satisfactorily described as the voluntary change from the worse to the better in human conduct, so long as one does not overlook the equal responsibility of changing from the good to the better still.

25 years ago: January 1974

Canadian Churchman reported that some people today reject the suggestion that the church is experiencing a “conservative backlash” and see, instead, a positive concern for spiritual matters. Although the Anglican Church may be smaller, it is made up of more dedicated people. But they are also demanding of the institutional church flexibility and a willingness to grow. When those demands for change centred primarily on social action, leadership could cope, but now that the same openness and willingness to change is demanded in spiritual matters, leadership seems less willing to move. People are feeling their own power and will not be put off by structures that block or fail to heed their demands.

A French-speaking eucharist was celebrated in the Eastern townships of Quebec recently for the first time in the 119-year-old history of Trinity Anglican Church (Cowansville). About 60 persons, many of them Roman Catholic, participated in the eucharist which was said and sung entirely in French, with the assistance of a 20-member chorale. There are 23 families on the parish roll whose mother tongue is French, although all are fluent in English.


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