Charles Darwin and Charles Kingsley: two men who, seeing a stone, could do none other than pick it up to examine it, but, more importantly, to see what lay beneath. It is the forgotten art of the open eye and open mind.
Charles Darwin looked at creation, and, by looking, picked out a pattern of life evolving as each new problem was encountered and a solution found. It was not a perfect process; trial and error, by definition, never is. Yet, it seems increasingly likely that it was in this way that the world came to be how it is.
Charles Kinsley looked at Charles Darwin, but also his Bible and the world around him. He saw that in an astonishing way all three connected. The Water Babies is perhaps his 'go' at articulating that connection. The reader of the 21st century might read the Water Babies and shudder at some of it. They might look at Charles Kingsley and shudder at his support for slavery. But this is what being fully human is about; it is being brave enough to dig and comment even though some of it might turn out wrong. Kinglsey's support for Darwin is a reminder to Christians, for Kingsley was an Anglican clergyman, that each generation needs the same courage to engage with all the world has to offer.