Friday, 8 May 2009

A Thought or Two on the Modern Malaise

Recently, I found this quote by the great Baptist preacher, C.H. Spurgeon:

The sharpest pangs we feel are not those of the body, nor those of the estate, but those of the mind...The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity, but a wounded spirit who can bear?...You may have no outward cause whatever for sorrow, and yet if the mind be dejected, the brightest sunshine will not relieve your gloom.
(Sermons Vol. 11)

I think that pretty well sums up the modern malaise, especially amongst youth. Nothing particularly wrong, but the spirit is dark, haunted and broken. It reminds me of something Cardinal Pell said in an interview a while back. The reporter asked him how the young people could be expected to cope with the modern world being in the mess its in. The good Cardinal replied something like, "That's rubbish! Young people in Australia have never had it better! They've never been through a war. They've never been poor or hungry. They can find jobs without very much trouble. Education is not only possible but compulsory. Cope with what?"

That is precisely the question. If our culture expects that external and material needs are what will make one happy (and every TV advertisement proclaims as much), then why when all of these are fulfilled are the people not happy? Or is there something we're missing, something that both Cardinal Pell and Spurgeon know about but which the bulk of our culture has forgotten?

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