One of absolutes of life is that life is always changing. “The Times They Are a-Changing” was written by Bob Dylan in 1963. I love the song, but Dylan was pretty quick to throw out the old.
If we are unwilling to change we will cease to exist, however do we throw away everything that is old? Are there some things that we should hang on to?
When I think about the word “old” I think about my Grandma. She didn’t like to be called Grandma so we called her by her first name, Andrina. Admittedly, it’s kind of an odd name. Andrina told me that her parents picked out a boy’s name for her, Andrew. When she turned out to be a girl they added an ‘ina’ on the end, hence Andr-ina. According to my Grandma this is a Scottish tradition.
I have fond memories of Andrina. She was force of stability in a very unstable world.
I grew up in Birmingham, Michigan, an upper middle class neighborhood – like a Norman Rockwell town. Everything changed for me when I was five years old. My Dad informed my three brothers and me, “Your Mother is in the hospital and you aren’t going to see her for a while.” What my Dad didn’t say was my Mom was in the mental hospital. She was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia. We didn’t see for a year.
When my Mom was released from the hospital my parents divorced and my Dad had custody of four young boys. Growing up in my house was like living in a giant bachelor pad. Nobody did the cleaning or the cooking. We had Kroger Turkey Potpies for dinner on many nights. (To this day I cannot eat a Turkey Potpie.)
My Dad was married and divorced three times. I grew up in a very dysfunctional family where things were changing every day. Most days the TV didn’t work, but it didn’t matter because we created our own drama. I would do crazy things like hiding in the refrigerator for hide and seek and turning on the sprinkler inside our living room.
For breakfast we had scrambled eggs and English muffins. We had tea and Scotch bread every afternoon at 4pm. For Sunday dinner we had leg of lamb or roast beef. Every piece of furniture in her house was an antique and it had a story behind it.
When I would return home from college I loved to give visit my grandma. She always greeted me with a smile. I would strategically drop in to visit Andrina at 8am. I loved her home cooked breakfasts and she loved to cook them for me. What I loved most about my Grandma was that she was always the same.
As, the pace of the world is getting faster and faster, lets not forget that it’s good mental health for some things to stay the same.
I believe that the successful church of the future will honor the old and encourage the new. It seems like most churches do one or the other.
What do you think? Is it possible to do both?