Romanticism of the past reveals shared values

Church leaders generally speak of the 1950's as the "golden age" of church in America.  Loads of churches were built, loads of people attended these houses of worship, and the church was at the center of the cultural square.  Church leaders have a tendency to romanticize the 1950's.

Many people I know romanticize their time in college.

Many others still romanticize the time they "were single".

There seems to be a large number of people in my tribe who romanticize a version of pre-industrial, agrarian America.

I wonder if the age in which we romanticize is an expression of our personal values?

Those of us who have fond thoughts of pre-industrial America seem to uphold a set of values which seem to be embodied in that age:

  1. Shared economy
  2. Emphasis on that which is 'local'
  3. Tools that are not dirty to the environment
  4. Smaller numbers of everything and simpler 
Of course, we also forget that that time also:
  1. Highly segregated 
  2. Malnutrition
  3. Limited access to resources
  4. Hard manual labor
Perhaps one of the ways we can build bridges between one another is to discover what age they romanticize and uncover the values that person is cherishing.  

If I know you are a minister who loves the1950's church, then I am willing to bet that you and I have different values.  This gives us a chance to build a relationship knowing right off the bat that we have different views of what Church is, but also we have a chance to build a relationship on shared values.   

This is also true for hot button issues.  Say a pro-lifer and a pro-choice person are meeting.  It is easy to quickly point to the difference in their views, but I am willing to be that they have a shared value - quality of life.  Build the relationship and conversation on the shared value and not the divergent views and see what happens.  

Jesus and the religious order had different views (how to live out Sabbath), but they had similar values (Sabbath is important).  

Republicans and Democrats have different views (the role of government) but shared values (safe and prosperous society).  

You and I have different views (theology), but I am willing to be we have shared values (Peace).

I may not care for the 1950's but I can appreciate that you too romanticize the past, because I do that as well.