Thursday, August 11, 2016

Seven Revolutions: How Christianity Changed the World and Can Change It Again

Seven Revolutions

How Christianity Changed the World and Can Change It Again
by Mike Aquilina and James L. Papandrea
As we present them here, the seven revolutions changed the world by changing human relationships, in ever widening concentric circles, beginning with the individual and extending outward to the world. A revolution of the individual affirmed that all people are created equal, in the image of God, and no one is expendable. A revolution of the home affirmed it as a place of safety and love, where women and children are not to be exploited. A revolution of the workplace affirmed that people are not property, that they must be free to choose their work, and that they must be given the free time for worship, for artistic expression, and to enjoy loved ones. A revolution of religion taught the world that God is love. A revolution of the community taught people to love their neighbor. A revolution of the way people thought about life and death rejected the culture of death and affirmed a culture of life and of hope, encouraging people to stand up for human rights. And finally, a revolution of government set up the ideal that rulers should serve those whom they rule (not the other way around), and that all people should enjoy freedom of religion. In short, the seven revolutions can be understood as cultural revolutions that gave the world a concern for human rights in two general categories: the protection of all human life, and the protection of each person's dignity and freedom.
I've been saying for a long time (with a singular lack of originality, I know) that we are living in times similar to those in which the first Christians lived.

Seven Revolutions spells out that truth in ways I hadn't even been aware of. Mike Aquilina and James L. Papandrea show what the pre-Christian world was really like and how everyday Christians, living out their faith, created a groundswell that gradually turned into a cultural revolution. Living in our post-Christian world, we too face a secular culture which doesn't understand our values and, therefore, misinterprets us and our faith.

The book not only covers past history but looks to the future with concrete ideas for converting our culture. It is a necessary read for anyone who isn't clear on the positive good Christianity has had and for those who aren't sure how to bring that good back into our world today. I found it heartening.
Maybe you've also heard that the Church is no longer relevant to the current generation. This is ridiculous. First of all, the mission of the Church is not relevance. Second, the definition of what is relevant changes by the moment and depending on the person, and the focus on relevance is in many ways a symptom of the very relativism that is part of the problem. Having said that, even if the Church is perceived as being out of touch with the current generation, the problem is with the generation, not with the Church. Was Jesus being irrelevant when he called his own generation adulterous and sinful? (Matthew 11:16-17; 12:39-45; 16:4; 17:17; Mark 8:12, 38; 9:19; Luke 9:41; 11:29-32). Jesus shows us that part of the Church's mission is to call each generation back to the Christian definition of relevance—which means the affirmation of life, in reverence to life's Creator.
This book isn't just for Catholics but for Christians of all sorts. Highly recommended.

And if you live in Dallas, it's at the library. Go borrow it!

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