Altar Call -- Opelika-Auburn News
February 25, 2001
My wifeís mother, Sarah Brown, almost lived in three different centuries. She was born in
1900 and almost lived until the 21st Century. In a lifetime that spanned nearly one hundred
years, she witnessed a lot of changes. She amused her grandchildren by telling them how scared
she was when she saw an automobile for the first time.
Sarah easily remembered the hard times her family endured as she grew. She had the same comment for anyone who ever complained about how tough things were: "You donít know what hard times are; let me tell you about how my mamma made dresses out of flour sacks." Whenever she got on her soapbox to lament those difficult times, I would tease her by saying, "But, Grandma, I thought those were the good old days!" And grinning, she would say, "Not exactly!"
So was she happy about the changes that were taking place all around her? Not exactly. As she grew older she assumed more and more the familiar disposition of the elderly toward change, she did not like it. She recalled a slower pace, when families had the time to sit on the front porch and talk. "You are so busy you donít have time to enjoy life anymore," she would often tell me.
Now as I grow older I can understand better Sarahís opposition to change. I find it difficult to embrace some of the changing things in my own world. Television sit-coms are for the most part either stupid or trashy, or both. Hollywoodís movies are often little more than garbage. Much popular music that is adored by our culture has absolutely no appeal to me.
The danger for old fuddy duddies like me is that, if we are not careful to make wise choices, we may find ourselves against all change. And that would be tragic, for change is inevitable and much of it is helpful. We must not become so comfortable with "nay saying" that we fail to recognize and embrace changes that are for the common good.
I heard about a man who reached the ripe old age of 100. A reporter, covering his birthday celebration, said to the old man, "I guess you have seen lots of changes in your lifetime." The old man replied, "Sure have, Sonny, and Iíve been against every one of them."
And there is the woman who had a lovely plaque over the mantle in her home which read, "Prayer Changes Things." One day when she returned home from shopping, the plaque was missing from its familiar spot. "What happened to it?" she asked her husband.
He said, "I took it down."
"Took it down! But why? Donít you believe in prayer?" she asked.
"Oh, yes," he said, "I believe in prayer; itís change I canít stand!"
By the way, did you know that a couple of hundred years ago there was a great controversy in the church about music? It seems that some jerk wanted to teach people to read music so he came up with the novel idea of putting music notes in the books along with the words. Imagine that!
Some people opposed this new way of singing. Among the objections was this one: "Weíve never done it that way before." And if you think long and hard about it, you can see why that comment has been called "The Seven Last Words of the Church."
Though nay saying is still popular, we should be wise to leave the "neighing" and the braying to the horses and the jackasses. At least most of it.