Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.

10 Observations on the case of Jimmy Savile

1. In 1 Timothy 5:24 Paul says that The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgement ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. Jimmy Savile is a case in point. Some did have their doubts about him and some few knew there was a problem but until only a few months ago the official line was that his sins were not obvious. He was a man to be commended and celebrated.
2. Do not believe everything that people say. Even when on rare occasions Savile was confronted with his crimes he denied them all. We should not be surprised at that.
3. Many people have the idea that if your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds then all is well. In the case of Jimmy Savile there appear to have been many deeds that could be considered in some sense good. However, it is his evil deeds that are capturing the attention at the moment. Nobody is suggesting even for a moment that provided his good deeds outweigh his evil ones nothing more needs to be said.
4. One hopes that the Savile revelations will help put paid to the lie that the sixties was a wonderful period of freedom and progress. Rather it was just as much a period of licentious when a number of people took advantage of the situation to pursue their own evil agenda.
5. Society today prides itself on its non-judgemental, post-modernist attitudes. It is clear from the Savile case, however, that society still draws very clear lines beyond which no-one dare go. This is not an anything goes society, despite what it may claim. Sin may be demarcated in a different more expansive way to that which once prevailed but make no mistake some sins are totally unacceptable.
6. When punishment comes today it is quite selective but it is very like the way Soviet dissidents were once dealt with. Savile's contribution to Radio 4's Desert Island Discs has already been moved from the website and soon his presence on radio and TV will be as rare as that of the similarly discredited popular artists Gary Glitter or Jonathan King.
7. It is amazing what depraved acts people will do if they believe that they are not going to be found out. Savile remained pretty much undetected because his crimes were committed largely in secret. What is done in secret does not always remain secret. A day is coming when indeed every secret will be revealed and it will be shouted on the housetops what men tried to keep secret.
8. Without close supervision many men are quite happy to abuse their power and use it to their own advantage regardless of the suffering it brings to others. Corporate bodies (like the BBC or hospital management teams) have a tendency to obfuscate the truth rather than bringing things out into the open.
9. Society claims that we are all equal but in fact there is a hierarchy, particularly when it comes to who is trusted and who believed to be telling the truth. Those further up the tree, including the knighted and friends of royalty and those who reach a good old age, are presumed to be more reliable than criminals, the physically and mentally sick and the deprived. In this case the opposite appears to have been the case. Generally speaking, it is the most vulnerable members of society who are most often taken advantage of.
10. Savile claimed to be Roman Catholic and was certainly received and honoured by the Pope. Without mere point scoring it is worth considering how much guilt attaches to Romanism here. While Romanism would condemn Savile's acts as much as any philosophy, it would appear to have been unable to do anything to shame this man for his sins and encourage him to confess and repent.


Eric Gale said...

Is it not disturbing that in our country once you are dead you are now considered guilty until proven innocent, and that you can effectively be tried by the media for crimes that supposedly took place 40 or 50 years ago? As far as I can recall, on the day the story broke Esther Rantzen effectively pronounced him guilty on national T.V. Surely the Lord Mac alpine case should give us pause for thought. Had this case come to light after his death the outcome may have been very different. If I were a minister, a teacher, a doctor or a celebrity I would be very concerned that my reputation could easily be destroyed by the malicious and vindictive actions of people even after my death. In the case of celebrities of course, there is the compensation bandwagon that will prove attractive to some.

Gary Brady said...

Thanks Eric. You make a good point. Savile was never found guilty in a court of law. By this stage, however, even his own nephew is taking the view that at least some of these accusations are true. It is on that basis that I waded in. I think the points still stand but am open to being corrected.

Eric Gale said...

P.S. Thanks for taking the time for your blog. It often makes me think and your humorous blogs make me smile.