A certain nostalgia surfaces when people–particularly we of a “certain age”–become frustrated with technology, fear filled by world events or bewildered by the actions, clothing, language of younger people. Thoughts wander to the days of a simpler lifestyle when tomatoes tasted like tomatoes, telephones (with large dials and no buttons) hung on walls and church music was quietly, soothingly rhythmic. Western Christians especially are tempted to believe that God generally approved of our lives in the 1950s, divorce rarely happened and children were born obedient. Right was clearly delineated, wrong swiftly punished.
God, however, never indulges in such a rose-colored glasses view. He says, The heart is deceitful above all things and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely sick… and he attaches no time frame! To read a practical history of humanity’s penchant for both good and evil regardless of the calendar, read Psalm 107, one of the most complete histories of people who claimed a relationship with God.
Several years ago, a friend who described herself as “white haired and just a tad pudgy,” told me of her recent enrollment at a local college. When I expressed surprise at this endeavor, she went on to say that this occasional foray onto a campus kept her aware of and interested in the younger generation, as well as helping prevent the cementing of her brain into immovable chunks!
Even more important for Christ followers is the always onward discovery and application of biblical truths, especially when uncovered in unexpected places. Recently I participated in a small group comprised of an ordained minister, a retired engineer and his teacher wife, a university student, a businessman and a homeless man from our community. Preconceived ideas and expectations slowly evaporated as we learned from and about each other. When our homeless friend quoted a somewhat obscure verse from the Old Testament, my naturally skeptical, proud and prejudiced mind wondered if he was accurate, I had never heard of that verse. Not only was “John” correct, but God used the quoted verses in a deep way in my life.
Oswald Chambers, author of My Utmost for His Highest, writes, Beware if in personal testimony you have to hark back… If you get out of the light you become a sentimental Christian and live on memories, and your testimony has a hard, metallic note. If we want our faith stories heard and understood in the language of our culture, they dare not be hard and metallic. Rather they need to pulse with the vibrancy of a beating, warm heart that lives enthusiastically in the now.