The Good Old Days?

I love old people. They are dripping with experience, and stories. There is nothing like a story that begins with the phrase, “When I was your age…”

Their hills were steeper. Their miles were longer, and fast food for them was a chicken running around the back yard that had to be caught, killed, and plucked of feathers. You know, the good old days.

Things were simpler then. I know this to be true because every time I make a trip down south I feel like I traveled there in a Delorean.

And I love the good old days, which, for me, are the 80’s—hair band awesomeness. The music was amazing. Michael J. Fox was a teenage werewolf.

But when we talk about the past, generational differences always come up. There are variations, but it usually involves the way people were “back then,” and the way they are now. Take this quote for instance:

The world is passing through troublous times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress.

These are heavy words regarding society’s youth. I’m sure you have heard something similar before.

What I find interesting, what prompted me to write this, is when these particular words were spoken.

A man known as Peter the Hermit spoke these words in a sermon he preached in the year 1274.

Not 1974—Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll. 1274 A.D.

I don’t point this out to deny the claims of Mr. Hermit. In large part, he was probably accurate. I find myself looking at today’s teenagers and shaking my head. I see them walk into buildings without holding the door for those behind them. I notice how they treat their parents or elders with disrespect.

I think, “If I would have talked to my parents like that…”

No, I don’t discount his statement. I just believe it shows us something.

The good old days of yesterday were someone else’s Dark Ages, their sign of the apocalypse.

And it has been this way since Adam and Eve shared the fruit snack.

The sweet people of the South at one time owned slaves. This means they held the door for strangers, went to church on Sunday, said “Yes Sir. No Ma’am,” and kept human beings in their barn like animals, beating them if they got out of line.

Yes, this wicked world has waxed far worse, but at least we have united to put an end to such sickening behavior, not that we are finished.

In this political season, the solution is not to get back to the way it used to be. No candidate can offer that. Those days are over. We can never go back. Staring in the rearview mirror too long will only cause a wreck.

There is nothing wrong with glancing back. In fact, I believe it’s healthy; we can see how far we have come and honor those who have gone before. That’s why I enjoy biographies and historical literature. We just can’t try to live back there.

In my opinion, the only past event worth constantly dwelling on is the crucifixion of Christ, because it has eternal ramifications. It has the power to transform entire cultures, even today.

To believe the Bible is to believe that Christ came not to make people better, but to reconcile them to God. The resurrection of His body exemplifies the way God wants to bring every broken system back to life, down to the eco system.

But changing the world happens one person at a time. Not just by taking them to the past, but by showing them what God is doing with the present and what He has planned for the future.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments section below.

Photo Credit: Panel Switchman (Creative Commons)

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2 responses to “The Good Old Days?”

  1. Apostolic anonymous says :

    Interesting thoughts in your post. In talking about the ‘good old days’, I think we sometimes mistakenly assume linear progress from the past up to now; that is, we assume society progresses uniformly in one single direction. Liberals see that direction as a positive one, and conservatives take a more tragic view.

    I think a more accurate view would be that history is made up of oscillations. Some cultures had rampant sin in their distant past, moreso even than today; for example, homosexuality was popularly practiced in ancient Greece during the time of the Apostles (Romans 1:26-27).

    So, my own view would be that society oscillates through apparently “virtuous” periods (though I hesitate to apply that word here, Romans 3:23, especially in light of your slavery example above) and periods where people are more openly sinful (though these are when the Bible’s greatest prophets tend to step on the seen).

    What do you think?

    • Anthony Garcia says :

      I think oscillation is a good description. My only argument would be that at no time has an entire culture shifted towards absolute good or absolute evil. It is important to understand that no generation has achieved ideal morality, especially from a biblical standpoint. There have been incredible bright spots throughout history, but not apart from nightmarish darkness.

      Great thoughts. Thank you very much!

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