We need more people in the world, not less, if we are to solve the world’s problems. And we need more gardeners – I am serious here. For the true gardener is the man transformed in Christ who works in the world to raise it up to what it is meant to be.
Here is a quote from St Augustine from the Office of Readings on the Feast of St Lawrence, August 10th:
‘The garden of the Lord, brethren, includes – yes, it truly includes – includes not only the roses of martyrs but also the lilies of virgins, and the ivy of married people, and the violets of widows. There is absolutely no kind of human beings, my dearly beloved, who need to despair of their vocation; Christ suffered for all. It was very truly written about him: who wishes all men to be saved, and to come to the acknowledgement of the truth.‘
This may seem a rather innocent little quote about flowers and the things of religion – martyrs and virgins and so on, but in fact reveals so much about the difference in attitudes between one of the Faith, and the modern world. Here’s how:
It is common nowadays for people to think of man as an unnatural animal whose work necessarily destroys the environment. Much of the back to the land movement I always feel has a romantic vision of the past and assumes that only a man who lives as he did before industrialization can live in harmony with nature. This pessimistic view of modern man could be seen in various influential figures such as Rousseau in 17th century France who hated industrialization and thought that all modern society corrupted ideal man. The ideal for Rousseau was the noble savage who could be conceived, unlike modern man, of living as an intrinsic part of nature as the animals do, rather than in opposition to it.
We see Rousseau’s worldview today in many of the green movements that assume that any influence that man has on the eco-system is bad, because man himself is an unnatural entrant into it, he is not part of it.
This may all sound fairly innocuous stuff – a high regard for the environment is good thing, surely? But in fact this neo-paganism that removes man from his a place as the highest part of creation to something seperate from it, and lower (Read More)