When nostalgia gets in the way …

Who would send a World War 2 era B-17 into battle today? I’m no military expert but I would guess she’s better suited for a museum than for battle. The plane is a beauty to look at … all polished up ... though it wouldn’t have a chance against today’s adversaries. And why would we use it when so many other options are available?

There it is, yes, the great phenomena … nostalgia, and it places a powerful, alluring effect on our psyche, and collectively it can have a powerful impact on society. Nostalgia is nothing new as it has historically been used in political discourse to give credence to certain positions …

There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present and invoke the security of a comfortable past, which in fact, never existed. — Robert F. Kennedy

Our brains seem to remember the “glory days” of old for all the glory while ignoring that THAT glory was the reward for battles won and lost, for hope sustained through suffering, rising in iterations from the agony of failure, product of voluntary responses to the call of justice, emanating from an increasing self awareness and sense of duty, and the pyscho-somatic utterance of “yes sir” … honoring what was considered sacred, and yes, in the end …eventually obtaining victory...glory.

Nostalgia makes it easy to forget the fear of our ancestors as they prepared for battle. That same B-17 can remind us of so many that never made it back... or others that were patched up, bodies removed, cleaned and sent for another sortie.

Considering the glory days for too long, for all the glory, … while forgetting the details that led to the glory can desensitize us to the sadness, pain, and sacrifice of mothers, wives, and family as the news of the war greeted them through an elegantly written - but chillingly brief letter… what may have been a standard American life …could now never be … as men and women where …

sacrificed on the alter of freedom — Abraham Lincoln — Letter to Mrs. Bixby 1864

Conflict begins with thoughts, simple ideas … and grows as words are spoken, foundations are lost, fear rises, and aggression multiplies. In response, there is often no choice but to rise to the occasion.

In a relatively short time on earth, America has had it’s share of conflicts and it’s freedom has been paid for in precious blood. Those soldiers that make it back are selfless souls who confronted evil with their lives and remind us that there is danger around the globe and yes, we live in a fallen world - where humanity stumbles on to get it right; and although fallen, humanity strives to stand together - as if by some innate, strange, often fleeting desire…

We remember our soldiers with honor, and our heros… but what of the abolitionists, and those …

… who hunger and thirst for righteousness … Matthew 5:6 NIV

What of those who have given their lives on the “alter of freedom” fighting against the enemy within? What of the leaders of the civil rights movement who despised aquiesence to injustice and paid with their lives?

What of those who stared back the chilling glare of hate with the tender confidence of love. There can be no life without penetration and there can be no love without vulnerability; and this is the irony that defines this world — and it is only when our defensiveness (stubbornness) meets a greater force that demands our vulnerability … that hope may come alive.

Let us then be careful with our thoughts as if they are to be weighed by a greater authority than ourselves, one who could judge truthfully, let us be mindful of our words as if they may one day testify against us, let us be cautious with our actions as if they may bring us to judgement…

It is never unfashionable to seek wisdom … the Christian may say that they have been “born again” into “eternal life” … then, it can be asked, what is the rush, the fear, the reason(s) for anxiety — if you already have it, IT?

So if your Lord is the “Prince of Peace” should not peace reign within you and around you?

It is to ponder how the believer can preach nostalgia when their Book has spoken and laid out a foundation regarding this …

Do not say, "Why is it that the former days were better than these?" For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this. — Ecclesiastes 7:10 New American Standard Bible

“It is not from wisdom” … in other words the best time is now …

We gain from experience moving forward with the good we have learned and seek to avoid repeating the evils that the past bears witness to. We improve not by striving to build a kingdom from the pixie-dust of nostalgia but from considering our foundations and expanding along with the universe…into the future with growing knowledge.

Humility leaves the door open for the attainment of new knowledge … but fear and hate spawn disorder; and disorder undoes our progress.

AGAIN, we do not adavnce by looking backwards ..when our freedoms are challenged because we are advancing then we look at the Constitution, the Bill of Rights … we look towards wisdom and principle and we can because they are timeless.

There seems to be great value in pondering the intentions of the founders. We may even go back to Kant, Augustine, and Plato; not becuase we are nostalgic, but because we are seeking to apply time tested principles. We are striving to grasp the foundations, the fundamentals, or something much less volatile than the mish-mash — opinions of the present. Surely, we will make something of our efforts.

So go ahead and move, you know which way.

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. — John F. Kennedy
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