#Bloganuary Writing Prompt: If you could, what year would you time travel to and why?
I’d set the dial in the Time Machine for somewhere in the 1880s and visit an ancestor, a much published bishop in the Church of England, John Charles Ryle.
I’d sit in his study in Liverpool anticipating all the topics we might cover in an amiable fireside chat. I feel we’d have much in common, even though our backgrounds and cultural orientation vary in some significant areas – eg class awareness vs egalitarianism.
He was descended from landed gentry. His father was a successful silk merchant in Manchester. Young J C had been looking forward to a rich inheritance and a career in Parliament. A bank collapse changed all that, and J C Ryle became an accidental clergyman. His influence grew however, and in spite of troubles and disappointments reflective of the Victorian era, was regarded as a man of deep calm and resilience. In spite of all this he never got over the deep lament and shame of the family loss.
I, too, in early adulthood, ended up a pastor following a great deal of resistance on my part. My journey has taken my family through times challenging, disappointing, and exhilarating. Our faith in the Way of Christ has been refined and tried in ways that are too numerous to count.
And there are family resemblances – I winced at the well-meaning critique that J C’s father and his business partner were “known more for their generosity than their business acumen.”
Yet J C pondered what might have occurred had the collapse been avoided. He instead would have been wealthy and had a career in politics – but he believes his spirituality would have suffered greatly. I feel we’d be on the same page.