Church History as Mapped by the Pendulum

27 Jan

Penduli (that’s the plural for pendulums sic) have fascinated Physicists for centuries. Apart from their particular usage for keeping time, their motion can help us understand the more complicated motion of things like universes…wierd huh.

In ‘pop culture’ we saw a pendulum helping the Oceanic 6 get back to the island.

However penduli are fascinating for another reason. That reason is the Church.

See, just as a pendulum is constantly swinging back and forth, it seems that the Church has been swinging from one extreme to the other throughout it’s history. Of course the issues change, the heresy develops and indeed the Church is constantly thinking up new things to do for a short time (or not so new in fact), only to then decide it’s abominable and swing completely the other way.

Even this Church has a Pendulum

What am I talking about? Well can you think of a time in Church history that can’t be described in terms of what they were reacting against or what indeed they were doing that would lead others to soon react against them?

“Here comes the science…” A pendulum is almost always accelerating (no it doesn’t keep swinging faster until it reaches the speed of light, it’s just that deceleration doesn’t really exist. Buy me a white board and I’ll explain). There’s a force, called gravity which is almost always trying to pull it back to the centre. Only thing is by the time it’s swung to the centre from the crazy place that is the edge, all it’s momentum is pushing it away from the centre to another place that is equally as crazy, equally an edge.

Clear? Thought not. But let’s talk about the Church. There is always ’some big thing’ we have to react against and when we do, we never seem to settle in the middle, we always seem to lose it, pass through the middle for a short time and end up as far from centre as we started (all be it in the opposite direction).

My question is this, “What is it that draws us back towards the centre, back to the truth?” “What is it that boots us out of the centre and back out to the cold, scary recesses of the ‘edge’?” “Is it important to realise that when we react we will most likely swing to far?” “How do we stop ourselves from merely waving at the centre as we whiz on by?”

That’s a lot of questions and so far not very many answers. If you’re inclined leave yours below!


4 Responses to “Church History as Mapped by the Pendulum”

  1. Gethin 28/01/2010 at 12:06 am #

    Isn’t the plural ‘pendula’?

  2. sammydaviesjr 28/01/2010 at 10:29 am #

    Hence the ‘sic’…

  3. Lester Ortiz 19/03/2014 at 12:15 am #

    Is it OK if I quote some of your thoughts in a message I’m preparing for church? I really like what you said.

    • Sammy Davies 19/03/2014 at 9:24 am #

      No worries. Go for it. Don’t pull any punches.

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