Pastor's Blog

As I’ve thought about what I’m writing – about my life and ministry – it feels odd looking back on my beginnings as a pastor because the world, including the US, was such a different place.  People thought SO differently in 1982.  Back then, we would NEVER have imagined that the world, much less the US, would look the way it does now.

There was no internet and only rich people could afford a Commodore 64 computer.  No one owned a printer or a copier;  you had to go to a store and pay someone for those services.  There was no such thing as “social media” – no Instagram, no Twitter, no Facebook – not even email!

There were no cell phones.  Phones were attached to walls.  A few rich businessmen used beepers.  But most of us were still amazed by calculators!  People used cassette tapes;  CD’s were just out and weren’t commonplace yet.  Movies on VHS tapes were amazing.  No one had heard of a DVD, much less Netflix.

I don’t ever remember racism being an issue in the news.  Wasn’t that solved in the early 1970’s?  We had all moved on – or so we thought.

We were definitely not afraid of global warming.  Science was predicting an ice age if we didn’t stop emitting pollution into the atmosphere!

We found it shocking that homosexuality was removed from the list of mental illnesses in 1973.  But there was no gay pride, and no one in 1982 -- Christian or otherwise -- would have imagined, much less accepted, homosexual marriage, as American cultural practice.  AIDS was at yet unknown.

School shootings were unheard of, and terrorism was a term connected with the Irish Republican Army (a la Harrison Ford’s Patriot Games), not radical Islam.  Islam was stuck in the dark ages.  The Ayatollah Khomeini was just getting established in Iran and he seemed to be far away and of no real importance.  We were more afraid the Soviet Union, nuclear bombs, and people lacing Tylenol with cyanide.

The evangelical world had not yet been rocked by the tawdry stories of the sexual promiscuity of Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart – much less the pedophilic priests of the Catholic Church.  “Child molestation” and “human trafficking” were not even a part of our vocabulary.  We never gave such things a thought.  People regularly left children unattended in vehicles while they ran into a store.  No one called police or emergency services.

It was such a safe and nice world.  So much kinder and gentler than the present.

Funny to remember that in 1982 we evangelical Christians were certain that America could not possibly get worse, that we were a nation ripe for judgment.  Abortion and pornography were rampant in the culture.  And Christians were compromising with the world -- using drums in church music and Christian women were getting a SECOND earring in each of their ears!   What kind of world was that and what would come next?  Never did Christian people imagine that anyone would want to pierce any other part of the body, that men would pierce their ears, or that ANYONE but men in the military would get tattoos! 

Prophecy preachers combing the prophetic books told us the biblical evidence pointed to a return of Jesus by 1990 at the very latest.  Either the preachers blew it, or Jesus did.

I recite all of this because this was the context in which I entered the ministry.  The world was different.  The atmosphere was different.  The concerns were different.  It was in THIS context that my ideals were forged – and as the world changed, and changed RADICALLY, I had to decide what to do with my ideals.

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