I’m a sentimental traditionalist. There aren’t many of us left anymore in the church. But I really do miss what I remember to be “Old -Fashioned” Christianity.
I understand that old doesn’t mean better. After all I’m using my high tech smart phone to write this blog. But there are some things about Christianity which are no longer extant but I miss them.
I miss the sacredness of Sunday. Today, Sunday’s sacredness seems to be limited to an hour or at the most two hours in the morning while the rest of the day is spent like a second Saturday. But as a child growing up Sundays were special. Sundays meant dressing up, seeing friends and hearing the gospel story. It meant small churches, big dinners, family gatherings and peaceful naps. Sundays were special and different all day long.
I remember the rays of the Sunday morning sun splashing red, gold and blue light on the pews and wood floors through the multi-colored stained glass windows. Modern church architecture has exchanged the stained glass windows for dark theatre walls and spotlights. The stained glass windows made my sanctuary a refuge within which I found the beauty, majesty and wonder of God.
I miss the simple preaching of the simple gospel. Contemporary sermons must frequently address the complex, sophisticated issues of modern culture. My pastor’s education was minimal but his walk with God made up for that and his messages were inspiring, and sometimes humorous. Children’s church was called VBS and only lasted a week each year. Pastor’s messages were simple enough for a child’s mind but stout enough for adult digestion too.
I miss Sunday School. Oh, I still teach a small Sunday school class but I miss the prominence Sunday School programs once played in the life and growth of the Church. Today’s model of discipleship may be better suited to the busy schedules and specialized demands of today’s Christian adult. And unfortunately Sunday School classes were (are) often prone to digress into heated debates, but done right, Sunday School can be an affective table-setter for morning worship since it engages the mind in the Word of God.
I miss the testimony part of old fashioned church. Modern worship has become so group-focused that the individual believer is muted in corporate worship. Admittedly as a teen I thought testimony time was a waste of time. But looking back, the colorful stories and quaint, familiar expressions of individual saints sometime moved us to tears and at other times incited thunderous laughter.
Finally, I miss the time-tested hymns and songs of our faith. We had no pipe organ but granny could still pound out the rhythm of How Firm a Foundation. And we sang with such gusto! Most hymns and songs were written with poetic beauty. Every true classic song weaved a story of salvation from sin’s pit, through daiy struggles of life and ended with a verse on heaven’s hope and splendor.
The Old Fashioned Church isn’t entirely extinct. I co-pastor one in northeastern Oklahoma that would still identify as Old Fashioned in many ways. But sadly, the church is moving away from simple and personal worship which served us so well for so long. Will today’s form eventually be labeled Old Fashioned and be traded for something newer?