Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Sinner for All Seasons

August 28, 2016

     By the time he was 16 yrshe was a dissolute and bored youth. His father could not afford to continue his education at that time so he did absolutely nothing except learn and practice immoral behaviour. The Christians shrugged their shoulders and said “ Oh well, he’s not baptised yet . When he decides to be baptised his sins will be cancelled.” His mother was appalled at her brilliant son wasting his brains and life and shed tears that would continue to flow for 27 more years.  Prayers were as plentiful as the tears. His father was a pagan in a pagan and licentious world.

    At 18 he had sired a son and shacked up with his son’s mother for fifteen years. In a burst of moral conviction he dismissed the mother and the son whom he loved dearly. However rather than accepting Christianity and Christian morality he floated from one religious sect to another that appealed to his vanity and intellectual snobbery. He had at least sufficient intellectual integrity to recognise the limitations and inconsistencies in the philosophies and shed them as quickly as he had adopted them.
    He had gone to the University of Carthage which was particularly pagan and particularly decadent.

    After dismissing his girlfriend he shacked up with a male. His mother continued to pray and continued to cry.  She could not stand to be in the same room as he . One day the evil of his lifestyle and his empty intellectualism hit him. He had been under the influence of a leading preacher who not only refuted his false views but personally liked him. He found this startling.

    One day it hit him. In ran out into the well groomed and spacious garden ,sprawled under a tree and wept. He cried out to his companion . “ What we are doing is filthy! Filthy!”

 On the next  Easter he was baptised. He established a Christian communitywhose members included his mother and brother.  The house rules were frugal, prayerful and disciplined. Hospitality was very important. One thing that was forbidden was gossip especially against people in their absence.  A statement to that effect was on the wall of the dining room.

    He was called to be a bishop although he protested. He reigned as the Bishop of Hippo for 37 years. In that time he fought various cults and heresies, some of whom practised terrorism and often resorted to murder to those who opposed them. His sermons, books, and letters continue to be published, distributed, studied and discussed. His best known work is THE CITY OF GOD. He is the great Augustine ( 354- 430 AD ) whose champions include Protestants as well as Catholics.
    No Christian ever told him that sin was just a lifestyle option.  Gay