An admirer of Sigmund Freud I am not. But i do think an element of personal psychoanalysis would benefit this blog once in a while because context and meta-narrative is so important to understand things, people and places. On the whole I have kept away from talking directly about myself on my Welsh blog; some how it wouldn’t feel right and it most certainly wouldn’t be at all humble to do so. But because i now write here in English, my second language, it feels that because it’s now one step removed I can and even need to talk a tad bit more about myself so that you, the readers, can understand more fully where I come from when I talk about life and faith from a Welsh language perspective.
I will start by saying a word about my late grandfather on my mothers side, the Rev. Gareth H. Davies. My Grandfather, or Tadcu as we say in Welsh, was a notable Welsh Calvinistic Methodist preacher and he died on March 4, 2005 in Cardiff. On his best days, and he enjoyed many of these, he preached with theological discernment, earnest longing for the salvation of men and women, unavoidable application and a Welsh warmth of spirit. At the age of 14 he left school to begin work in the coal mines where he remained until the age of 23.
He came under the influence of his local Pastor, H.H. Williams, and felt he should go to Trefecca College to prepare for the ministry. And this is where it gets interesting and also important for you to understand a large pice of the Welsh Christian psyche. He went off to Trefecca College to start training for the ministry when he was still unconverted! Socialism was what he yearned for and that is what he would preach. But after arriving in Trefecca, through the witness of his close friends John Thomas and Hugh Morgan, he became a Christian.
After becoming a Christian I think it frightened him to think of the damage he could have done in ministry if he had gone forward into the Churches as a man for only the social Jesus and not the saving Jesus. I’m pretty sure I’m right in saying that Tadcu was characteristic of an Evangelical of his day. Because of the militant social gospel that was around at the time Evangelicals made a stand against it and, with hindsight, went too far. I like to think that Tadcu had a balanced view (but i would think that!); but there were others that were most definitely not balanced about it. Some would not even vote at an election so any kind of public show of political or social involvement for them as Christians was completely out of the question. A lot of Welsh Evangelical Christians in Wales, on a whole, still haven’t got round this stumbling block and I’m convinced that this is an issue effecting our mission and testimony today.
What I have just talked about I’m sure is nothing new and the ganging up on both sides of the debate has happened in England too. But I do think that it has been more acute in Wales. It was important for me to tell this story because, on the whole, I was raised up in the more pietistic tradition and it has been my little mission since i was about 17 to get more Welsh Evangelicals back to understand the full meaning of the Gospel. Personal faith, yes. But never private please.