A Secular Age?
What is a Secular Age? How do we come to terms with it? These questions open up a very big subject. May be you think that there is really no big deal. Surely, you might say, it's all just about the decline of religious interests while, at the same time, we have all become more preoccupied with the secular concerns of the here and now.
One thing that might surprise you, however, is that the almost axiomatic meaning of 'secular' as 'non-religious' is almost unique to the modern world, as shaped predominantly by the West. For
example,, the 'secular clergy' of the mediaeval times referred to bishops, priests and other officers of the church who lived and worked amongst people in towns and cities whose main pre-occupations were with the secular pursuits of farming, milling, tinkering, tailoring, shoe-making and exploring the ideas of Aristotle and the Bible. The word 'religious,' on the other hand, referred to persons who lived their lives in a religious/monastic setting. But even their lives were not all prayer, Much of it involved work in the field and garden as well as the reading and copying of manuscripts.
How about the following definition to get us started?
In a Secular Age, secular concerns (such as politics, business, technology, science and arts) are pursued from a life perspective that suppressws the transcendent dimension of human existence, thereby imposing the religiousness of 'secular immanence' or 'exclusive humanism' upon us. Justice, Love, Kindness, Compassion, Humility and Wisdom, are then deprived of their pure, normative and transcendent content, thereby leaving us without the sustaining bread to feed our bruised, guilty and aching souls. The gospel calls for the renewal of the spiritual roots of such realities - through the grace of God the Holy Spirit working in the depths of our hearts - in ways that are brought to bear upon the realities of all secular callings.
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