"Oh, that we could return to the times when things were simple!" When were those times? In the days of the "great war" which was fought to permanently end the possibility of war? Or the second world war fought after the war to end all wars? Was it the decade when our troops returned home to an economy that could not absorb so much manpower? Was this time during those days when a war time economy struggled to return to peace time enterprises? Were those the times of the "Korean Police Action" or the "Vietnam Conflict"?

Were those the times of the "speak easy" era? prohibition? the escapades of people like Al Capone or Bonnie and Clyde? The times of the "great dust bowl"? The times prior to Social Security or Medicare? Maybe the times when "the smoke-filled room" controlled political parties and elections? Maybe the social upheavals of the 60's?

The "times when things were simple" exist only in "selective memory." They are illusions that appear in the rear view mirrors of the "complicated now." As each generation ages, it looks back to "a simpler time" when things were not so complex and life was not so demanding. However, our backward glances suffer from a perpetual illness. Backward glances "see" from the pleasant light of "glowing memories." Those memories commonly focus on the "good experiences" (often exaggerated) as the person refuses to recall "bad" realities.

As history marches on, as civilization expands, as one age fades and another emerges, human existence becomes increasingly complex. As peoples become nations and nations become a global community, human existence becomes increasingly complex. As societies develop and fragment, human existence becomes increasingly complex.

Most Americans have only a small taste of how radical "progressive changes" can be. In the early 1970s I talked to an elderly African man who had met the first "white man" to set foot in his region. He was also fully aware of the first man to set foot on the moon. Can you imagine a person being exposed to that much transition in his life span?

Only one eternal constant exists in our complex world: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, yes and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). The ages will never be too complex for Jesus to rescue and sustain. Understanding Jesus will enable any generation to cope with and survive its age.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 2 May 1999

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