I find it interesting/strange/bothersome that modern Christianity often seems to be waiting in the wings for the “next big thing”. As a community, evangelical Christianity seems inextricably linked to the new and now. The questions we ask often have little to do with actual historicity and focus more on “how old it is”. Why is this? Why are we so attracted to the new?
Perhaps we have mistakenly bought into the notion that newer is automatically better. Couple that with the fact that youth generally distrusts age… and now we’re on to something. But why are we afraid of the “tried and true”/old ways? In part, there is almost always an (unwarranted) arrogance that accompanies youth. This moxie is also part of what keeps them on the front edge of change and improvement. Yet often with youth comes a false sense that anything old is… well… old… and worn out and therefore, useless. That is simply not the case.
In terms of our spirituality, we would do well to lean back and study the past. In doing so we can see repeated patterns. We can begin to observe that ours is not the first generation to deal with a particular issue or see things in a certain light. And even more importantly, as we view the more modern (and ancient) history of the Church we can see that all of us were/are really just trying to model “the original”.
What things would today’s church do well to re-visit? What things existed in the early church that we find missing today? To quote one of our more famous poets, perhaps we should “get back in time”!