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FIRST-PERSON: Ideas from the past

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) — I was a child in the 1960s, became a Christ-follower in the 1970s, started pastoring in the 1980s, got married in the 1990s, and became a seminary dean in the 2000s. The world’s changed a lot in those decades — some for good, some for bad.

Remembering some activities of the past, here are some simple suggestions that could help us enjoy today:

1. Write thank you notes. An email “thank you” is nice — and certainly better than no thank you at all — but taking the time to express words in your handwriting still says something positive. A few extra minutes of work will pay off.

2. Use your phone for an actual phone call. Let somebody hear you, even if it’s just to say, “Hello.” The sound of a beloved voice can be powerful.

3. Sing a hymn. Many churches still experience the value of good hymns sung well. They teach theology and remind us of our Christian heritage.

4. Read a magazine or book to learn about the rest of the world. In my day, that magazine was National Geographic, and many of the books were novels set in various eras and locations. Even if you do it on your Kindle, read something that takes you to another part of the globe that might need the Gospel.

5. Go on an outdoor picnic. Andy Griffith often did it. My family did it while camping. It seems that not too many families make time to do it today — and they miss the treat of eating fried chicken and potato salad while sitting on a blanket on the ground.

6. Walk somewhere. That’s what we used to do in North America. Much of the world still does. You’ll see more, and you’ll likely meet more people if you walk when you can.

7. Eat a daily meal as a family. I seldom remember my family eating full meals together, but I know families who did. Because Christian friends invited me to join them at their table, I know my family missed something.

8. Set aside the Lord’s Day for rest and worship. Sure, we had laws that helped us organize Sunday years ago. I doubt that’s the answer but it wouldn’t hurt us to let Sunday genuinely be a day of rest and worship again.

9. Meet your neighbor. When I was a child, our neighbors became our adopted Grandma and Grandpa who even vacationed with us. Now, we drive by neighbors whose names we don’t even know.

10. Talk to somebody. With your voice. Face-to-face. Eyeball-to-eyeball. Not an email. Not a text. Not a Facebook message. Talk. Try it — you might find it’s a tradition of the past worth resurrecting.

Let’s slow down whenever we can and enjoy God’s blessings a bit more. A pace of life that drives us quickly past God’s gifts is simply too fast.

    About the Author

  • Chuck Lawless