An Ordinary Life

Alcott

I was recently reading about the life of Bronson Alcott, Father of the author of “Little Women” and prominent Unitarian. The book contained a quote from his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson, the famous author and leading Unitarian minister of his day, disdaining the life of the common man. He found great consternation in his observation that the common man lived an unexceptional life of common labor to which the “omnipresent miracles of the universe were invisible to him”.

Unitarians such as Emerson believed that man was not born depraved. God could not produce an inherently wicked creation and thus man could develop virtue/divinity on its own apart from God. Adherents generally accepted religious pluralism and found value in all teachings.

In my experience the happiest people are the common persons who work hard each day, pay their bills, love their families and most importantly rely on and submit to God to combat their recognized depraved nature. These ordinary folk are generally contented and persons you instinctivly trust. Without their “head in a cloud” looking for fulfillment within themselves they are free to find the contentment that can only come from God.

Bronson Alcott paid little attention to support of his family which lived in poverty for most of his life. A proud man he was frustrated in the insufficient recognition of his unorthodox teaching methods which did not focus on teaching knowledge as much as bringing the knowledge inherently inside each student out. Convinced that mankind was born with divinity inside apart from Christ that only need be nurtured he was consistently disappointed in the fallen nature he observed including in his overindulged daughters.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 reminds us that there is nothing better than to eat and drink and enjoy good in one’s labor. I need to be reminded that the simple things of life were created by God for our enjoyment and these things along with our relationship with God is the secret to a happy life.

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