Monday, November 10, 2008

The Puritans: pilgrims and warriors

What do you think of when you hear the word “Puritan”? Gloomy men in black clothes and black, peaked hats with buckles, and their wives in white head scarves and demure dresses? Strait-laced kill-joys, opposed to dancing, theatre, and sport?

Maybe it’s vaguer for you than that. Maybe you think of the word “puritanical”, which the Online Dictionary says is “usually disparaging”, meaning “strict in moral or religious outlook”, with synonyms like “severe, disapproving, stuffy, fanatical, bigoted, prim, narrow-minded, prudish, strait-laced, rigorous, proper”. Not exactly an attractive portrait, is it? ...

Let me give you a different picture. The Puritans were our forbears, the evangelicals of 16th and 17th England, who wanted to reform the English church further. Their clothes were normal, and often brightly coloured; they opposed many things we would also oppose, like bear-baiting and gambling; and they moved organs from churches into their homes, where they enjoyed music and dancing. ...

But the Puritans have an immense amount to teach us. Here are some of the things we can learn from them: ...

Read the rest at EQUIP book club today.

1 comment:

Jess Green said...

I had wondered why they wore those funny clothes and why they didn't have any fun. Thanks for clearing me up on that :)