“Lark Rise to Candleford” is a BBC series set in 1895. It’s about two geographically close communities, one poor and the other fairly affluent, and how characters inter-act with each other. The series started in 2008 and ran for four seasons.
My wife and I have been watching it when time permits. We are now halfway through the third season.
We usually watch it after the latest episode of “Agatha Raisin,” set in contemporary England. Shown originally on Sky TV and filmed in the Cotswolds, one of the most beautiful areas in the country, Agatha Raisin is an amateur detective (Agatha! Get it?), who has moved from London to the Cotswolds for a change of pace. She must be having second thoughts as the small village she lives in has at least one murder per week. Every murder is tastefully done – no extreme violence here, no, not in England. No guns.
The two series could not be more different. We unhesitatingly recommend the former, but are not likely to continue to watch the latter.
In 1895 the residents of Lark Rise and Candleford all lived in accordance with strict societal rules. These included biblical standards of morality. This cannot be said about the residents in Agatha Raisin’s village, or even of Agatha herself. Agatha Christie would be appalled. And Queen Victoria would certainly not have been amused!
What a difference 120 years has made to the family and morality.
Pause for a moment and think of how much it has cost us on both sides of the Atlantic.
The high costs of welfare are largely to cover-up the breakdown of the family system in this new liberal age. These welfare rolls have put us on a toboggan slide to insolvency. They have also added to the violence in our society as mothers often choose single parenthood over marriage as a way to get more benefits; boys without fathers are more inclined toward crime and violence.
A report from England two days ago highlighted how teenage girls there are increasingly unhappy. Family breakdown leads to unhappiness and increases the likelihood of addictions and suicide.
The anti-biblical society we have created has put 65 million babies to death in the US alone, following the 1973 Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion. These 65 million have been replaced by an equal number of immigrants, many of whom make no attempt to assimilate, while some are openly hostile toward us. Aside from the moral consideration, wouldn’t it have been better to raise those 65 million babies to be productive members of society? Faced with growing existential threats, they would also have added to our military strength; after all, the greatest strength is people, not technology.
Generous welfare benefits in western countries are also contributing to the migrant crisis, as hundreds of thousands of economic migrants are attracted to the West by all the freebies. Not all are refugees fleeing wars and persecution.
It’s a complete mess. It’s clearly time for a rethink. It’s time to restore the family to its traditional role and reverse the role of the state.
Christians believe that God created the family system — “male and female created He them” (Genesis 1:27). “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24). To a certain extent, this is still a basic principle of our law – the marriage relationship takes precedence over other relationships.
However, what we fail to see is that within the biblical parameters we have the perfect welfare system. For thousands of years, this was the foundation of every society, a family system in which the various members of a family helped and supported each other. It is still the basic unit of most cultures around the world.
The irony is that, in the event of a financial collapse, which is inevitable at some point, we would see the family unit restored, as people would have to help each other again.
We might even see some sense come back into the financial system. One of the characters in the first season of “Lark Rise” is now serving time in debtors’ prison. Until 1905, in Britain at least, people were sent to prison for their debts, until family members could save the money to pay off the debt and get them out. Today, the accumulation of debt in the western world is no longer a crime – and it’s even legally possible for people to walk away from their debts. This cannot be good for the economy.
The more Biblically aware Victorians believed that “if a man doesn’t work, neither should he eat.” (II Thessalonians 3:10) They would have been appalled at the very idea of state welfare.
Another scripture that influenced the Victorians was written by the Apostle Paul. “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (I Timothy 5:8).
The family system was the foundation of society. It’s taken quite a battering in the last century, but still survives – and will be needed once again in the event of a national or international calamity.