Why Choosing the Supposedly Correct Side is Difficult, Part 2

In the prior post, I summarize the beginnings of the Reformation in England. There’s a lot more to the story. The point is, in the middle of all that, what direction would a good, thoughtful, non-CAUSE non-crazy person leap?

Towards Queen Elizabeth? Okay, she’s cool, but not entirely pro-democracy.

The Geneva Calvinists produced the Geneva Bible.
Towards the Presbyterians? Some of them were okay, but the ones who got obsessed with surplices make me roll my eyes. And I’m not alone. People back then rolled their eyes too.

Towards Geneva, where the more extreme Calvinists hung out? They had that double-predestination thing going on, which enters "angels dancing on the head of a pin" territory when it comes to clearing up theology. And not all puritans were on board with it, some of them maintaining that double predestination “disgraced God.”

And yet--

These people brought debate and democracy to the whole idea of governance and religion. Granted, it was proto-democracy, not exactly the type of freedom-of-speech we Americans assume as a right. But it is still remarkable for the time period. It drew all sorts of people who were looking for alternatives to previous forms of worship. They preached individual conversion, even individual salvation for women as well as men (again, considering the time period, this is extraordinary!).

Dod was a fairly strict Puritan who was a
decent human being, prompting persuasion
through kindness rather than lectures.
Yet if a person wanted stability—well, there was the non-democratic queen. Only, Queen Elizabeth’s ability to survive every single group that wanted to drag her down—from Catholics to puritans—is a historical reality now, not a given at the time.

There were a large number of “conforming” puritans—those who acceded to the monarch’s requests—who maintained a more stable course. But they also tended to be a tad rule-oriented, becoming obsessed (and I do mean obsessed) with exactly how people should behave: hunt, talk, sing...They  weren’t fans of dancing, maypoles, plays, card playing—

On the other hand, they were almost aggressively practical. Counter-Reformation Protestants wanted the table where the Lord's Supper was set to be treated with more respect, as in placed somewhere in the church where dogs couldn't pee on it. But to puritans, it was a table, not an altar.

I can see both sides. Not the anti-plays stuff because, frankly, I perceive God as on the side of artists who want to add to creation (not cancel it). And I'm not too fond of peed-on tables. Yet I admire the practicality that sees a table as a table.

Ahh, history is messy, which is why I never trust a pundit’s streamlined version of history that fits whatever that pundit thinks should happen NOW (no matter what side of the political fence). 20/20 hindsight is easy. It isn’t reality.

See next post: Part 3

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