The Transient and the Permanent

“Everyone plays the philosopher out of the small treasures of his own fancy… the heresy of one age is the orthodox belief and ‘only infallible rule’ of the next.”

Theodore Parker, The Transient and Permanent in Christianity 

I’m here in Meadville-Lombard this week (one of our UU theological schools) studying Liberal Theology.  And one thing keeps peeping out at me from the history of liberal theological thought: each new thinker and generation is in some way reacting to what came before, and we have a tendency to swing back and forth as we note what was wrong with the ideas of those who came before us.

The cyclical nature of generations is fascinating, but I can’t believe that big “T” “Truth” changes in that same cyclical way.  So maybe we are always reacting to those who came before, but where is the kernel of truth – the permanent – that carries through from generation to generation?

What will my children believe?  What of my beliefs will they react against?  Will they agree with anything I think is true?

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