Thursday, November 7, 2013

Were you born an old man?

I laughed when I read it.  A comment on this blog began with that simple question:  Were you born an old man?  Unfortunately you did not get to read it because the comment was also laced with profanity and so I removed it straight away.  But the question did get my attention.

The person presumed that since it seemed apparent that I was against gay marriage, against entertainment worship, cautious about the use of technology (in particular social media), and a host of other things, I must be a curmudgeonly old man who was never young.  It is true that I am deeply suspicious of many of the things called new.  I bought a new model car and wished I had waited a year for the bugs to get worked out.  I have purchased new technology enough to know that the first may not be the best.  But I am not adverse to a good laugh, a practical joke, or fun.

Some who read this blog consider me guilty of a hopeless hope -- the continuing belief that Lutheranism in general and Missouri in particular are not worth abandoning and the conviction that we are addressing our faults and failings (if a little too slowly for my taste)...  In fact, there have been not a few who have told me to jump ship and swim one river or another where I might be more appreciated.  I have no inclination to do so.

The truth is that I do delight in new things.  I was perhaps one of the first of Lutheran Pastors to own a genuine IBM PC with an added floppy (the big kind, without a hard plastic cover) and have been using WordPerfect for as long as it has been sold!  I do have an I-Pod which gets a work out nearly every day pumping out the soundtrack to my office time.  I have a tablet computer which is great for traveling and for carrying about when a laptop cramps your style.  I enjoy movies (though the dialogue often makes me wince and I am pretty selective about what I watch).  You may not be old enough to recall the Sony Betamax but I am.  New or even better is no guarantee of success.  Wise words -- remember them.  No, you cannot accuse me of being a Luddite though I may not be a trendsetter, either.

The old is not the object of my attention but that which is faithful.  I have learned that life is too short to wait for experience finally imparts wisdom.  You can learn from others and there is great wisdom in that which endures through generation after generation.  I have learned that a life in pursuit of pleasure is a life wasted and a life offered to goodness, holiness, virtue, love, and faith is a life you cannot lose. 

Sunday morning generally finds me like a kid on Christmas Eve.  I can barely wait to wake up about quarter to four and slip quietly into the shower, dress, and drive in darkness to the Church.  In the early morning solitude I find the time too short to review the sermon and prepare for all that is to take place.  At the same time I long for the sound of the hallways filling up with people of all ages who are glad to go to the Lord's House.

No, I was not born old.  In fact, when I look into the mirror I see the same 26 year old first heading out into the parish ministry.  Sometimes I cannot believe where the time has gone and it often seems that the person inside of me is at odds with the gray bearded guy in the photo.  I am happiest when busy and still relish the pressure a due date puts on me to read, think, write, and publish.

Out of style, yeah, that is me.  I have clothing older than my kids (though my wife refuses to let me wear that stuff outside the house).  Out of touch with current musical trend, yup, that I am.  But I keep up with the Bachstreet Boys and have an extensive cd collection of the guys who bucked the one song wonder trend with a lifetime of classical hits.  But old?  Nah... not me!


Anonymous said...

Keep posting, keep the faith, and continue it keep your readers challenged, entertained and enlightened. A Christian by religion and Lutheran by confession. An LCMS dude living in Denmark, Gabriel

Dr.D said...

I'm with you all the way. I drive a 1997 Toyota (and will continue to do so until it reaches at least 250,000 miles or I expire), and I run Win XP on most of my computers. I find most of the "new improvements" in new technology to be more "new" than "improvements." The changes are only for the purpose of selling something new. That which has already been sold has no remaining value to the creator, so something "new" must be put in its place for a further profit to the seller.

We live in an age that has forgotten entirely the value of things that have enduring value, that have stood the test of time. It is sad, but it is a comment on our fallen state.

I too have been accused of being born old, but now that I am truly old, I don't mind at all. I would not go back to youth for all the tea in China.

Fr. D+
Anglican Priest

evc said...

Pastor, please keep on, keepin' on. As a new-ish member in LCMS church ( in the mid-south district ), I very much a encouraged by your posts in the midst of a discouraging time in our church.

I will freely admit I was 'born an old man' and actually, I'm thankful for it.