The mariner finds himself at odds with friends and readers. Primarily, the issue is his effort to reconstitute the side of Christianity that has faded over the decades and centuries. That side is commonly referred to as works, which is doing God’s work as expressed through the Gospels. When one reads the Gospels, indeed the New Testament as a whole, a blatantly obvious responsibility emerges. Not only are Christians required to be nice to people generally, but there is an extra mile of service required for anyone in any kind of need. This service requires person-to-person experience.
There is no intent to deny one’s association with their perception of God or the manner in which one communicates with God. Such things are personal in nature and bound tightly to an individual’s unique life experience.
The mariner will leave the issue.
The mariner presses current social, political, scientific, technical and religious paradigms because a total cultural shift is rapidly approaching. It will affect how we relate to one another, our government, our jobs and pastimes, our ethics, our faith, the Earth and even ourselves.
No one can deny that signs of turmoil are all about us. This turmoil will continue to accelerate to the point that the fabric of everyday life will be altered. Those who are eighty years old have experienced cultural shifts. How did electricity change daily life? The automobile and airplane? Already the train and telegraph had altered one’s awareness of a greater society than once was limited to a one hundred mile radius.
With these additional inventions, and industrial transformation entering society, octogenarians can attest to the experience of a culture-wide paradigm shift – from the crystal radio to satellite communication; from horses to automobiles; from the hand held stereoscope to computer driven viewing devices; from socially isolated awareness to an awareness of differences in race, religion, politics, and the world at large. The mariner knew a farmer who, as an octogenarian, had never been farther than 54 miles from his home and never felt the need to travel that far again. Yet all about him, culture was disassembling and reassembling itself into a new culture that had little resemblance to the old one.
Perhaps the emerging culture will be known and accepted as normal by the generation being born now. They will not have experienced the culture that is passing away at this moment. Perhaps those of us past the age of fifty-five will live out our culture with little modification to who we are or how we deal with the new culture – like the octogenarian.
The mariner’s children, around thirty years old, do not live by the same rules as those over fifty-five. Their eyes see a different reality, a different value for government, work, and social relations. Personal values are visibly different. They struggle with social identity; the future is unknown even five years away. How will they live their lives? They don’t know. They do not have the security of the culture that sustained the lives of older folks. They are adrift as they look for their cultural identity in the midst of the change that whirls about them.
Consequently, for those readers over fifty-five, the mariner’s ranting about apocalypse has little meaning. Blog statistics show most readers are 25-35 years of age. To them he promises that he will continue to tug at the vagaries of culture, the change in religiosity, the danger of not reining in the issues that disrupt fairness, privacy and equality.
The last comment on the insistence of the Gospel call to works is that it is that part of Christian practice that will survive and will be needed badly as we move into the whirling shift.