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What Christ Means to Me

Wilfred T. Grenfell

Muscular Christianity

Hi Friends,

Muscular Christianity is, according to Wikipedia, a philosophical movement that originated in England in the mid-19th century, characterized by a belief in patriotic duty, discipline, self-sacrifice, masculinity, and the moral and physical beauty of athleticism. I know of two writers characterized as muscular Christians. One is Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking. The other is Wilfred Grenfell, who's book, What Christ Means To Me, I am offering this Father’s day.

Wilfred T. Grenfell was a medical missionary to Newfoundland. His book was published in 1927. I found this book while rummaging the Lyrical Ballad Bookstore in Saratoga Springs, New York, a favorite haunt for me.

What makes What Christ Means To Me metaphysical is the focus on Truth and what makes it Christian is the practical application of following Christ. What makes it worth your time to read is for you to judge. What I found in the book is common-sense Christianity, similar to what one would read in Henry David Thoreau’s Walden or Glenn Clark’s The Soul’s Sincere Desire. Grenfell writes,

The religion of Christ is the simplest and most human course of life as well as the most divine. Life is not the horrible tragedy of being bound to a wheel from which escape into a Nirvana of forgetfulness is the loftiest hope. Life is a victory to be won by the will even against a timid intellect. Life is always everywhere a real, tough, courageous fight, with daily opportunities to which are added all the fun of achievement and all the glories of the conqueror. (p. 58)

I don't mean to play up muscular Christianity, it's not for everyone, but it does have a place in New Thought. Much of our success in life can be attributed to who we hang out with. To read Wilfred Grenfell’s testimony is an opportunity to hangout with a great metaphysical Christian. Spend some time with him and let his spirit raise you to a life of greater accomplishment.

You may read more about Wilfred T. Grenfell at his profile page on TruthUnity.

Mark Hicks
Father’s Day, Sunday, June 25, 2023

Listen to Mark’s message

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What Christ Means to Me by Wilfred T. Grenfell

What Christ Means to Me
Written by:
Wilfred T. Grenfell

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The experience of a journey around the world forms a good background against which to show up to one’s self the problems of one’s own life in their true proportions. For only by comparison in a relative world can we estimate either size or any other truth. As I write we are steaming down the Persian Gulf. In the distance the rocky coast of Persia is plainly visible. A lady having asked me how far we were from the shore, I replied, ‘Ten miles.’ Her estimate had been five. At that moment the captain came by and we referred the point to him. ‘We are forty miles off,’ was his statement.

Without the perspective that travelling gives, it is practically impossible to judge the relative importance of all those small considerations that loom so large on the horizon of the tiny section of this round world on which most of us pass the few days of our stay, to which we have given the name of ‘our lives’ — which, speaking accurately, is begging the question.

As one mixes, now with our fellow creatures who live naked under a broiling sun, now with those clad in furs in the frigid climate of the sub-arctic, now with those who enjoy everything that life here has to offer, now with those who must live and die like dogs or flies without even enough to be free from actual want, and without any hope of ever achieving independence, one stands amazed that one could ever have laid such stress on the tiny differences of methods or viewpoints as to divide ourselves deliberately from others who are aiming at the same great objective, because in our conceit we thought that we were infallible. When one realizes, resentfully though it may be, that the same impulse must be imparted in quite different ways to two apparently similar human creatures, in order to attain the same result, it helps one not only to be more charitable in judgment, but freer to try to state openly that which has influenced one’s self as not necessarily causing those divisions or recriminations which are usually avoided by silence.

When various friends invited me to put on record what Christ means to me, I realized that to make a mere bald statement would be meaningless. In any other line of activity, such would be rightly rated as valueless. Man knows us, and God judges us, by our records, and we can only know ourselves, or what anything has meant to us, by that same gauge. Facts are still the most trustworthy and verifiable things we know of, especially recent historical facts. Such a record calls for more time and more length than a mere category of what ‘I believe,’ but to my mind it is the only way possible that would carry any conviction.

Certainly, in surgery such a course alone would satisfy the governing body of the college and be acceptable as a credential on which to base action.

This is my only apology for the following booklet. Some of it may have been written previously. The conditions of incessant travel under which this record has been made have prevented my consulting previous books. The best I can hope is that the details of long past events will do justice to my memory by tallying, and that, in any event, friends will understand and deal generously.

Wilfred T. Grenfell, M.D.