vintage faith.

If you know me, you know I probably care way too much about aesthetics. In the Videtich home, we argue far more about where to put our beloved art and how to set up [well designed] knick knacks on a shelf or credenza than we argue about politics or money.

But it’s more than aesthetics; it’s more of a lifestyle of paring down on things we don’t need while making sure the things we routinely need are appropriately priced according to their usefulness. I’m not about to spend money on a haircut [my hair often looks disheveled because I’ve cut it myself for the past several years] or get crazy with the latest gadgets on Amazon, but I’ll pay a bit more for a few select things.

I am not quite a minimalist; I feel like I want the *right* things, not too many of them, and they need to last. I only need a few pieces of clothing, but the *right* clothing-preferably well broken-in denim and cotton or flannel. I only need a few pairs of shoes, but they must be the *right* shoes. We only have one car, but.. well, you get the idea.

And it’s really bad when it comes to my bike.

A while back I bought a beautiful navy blue 3-speed commuter bike complete with fenders, a bell, and a rack. Naturally, because I ride many miles per week, I felt compelled to complete the outfit and get a leather saddle-which is actually quite comfortable, and should last for decades. For my 30th birthday my parents bought me a pannier bag made of waxed military-grade British canvas, leather, and brass rivets. Hopefully it’ll last as well.

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Speaking of things that will last, I am reminded of my hymnal collection-some of my most treasured possessions.

I’ve got old Free Methodist, Lutheran, and Episcopalian hymnbooks dating back to the early 20th century, each containing songs from long before then. And each one was part of the order of worship for unique communities centered in Jesus, each serving a special role at a particular time in history. They remind me of the large communion of saints I’m part of worldwide, both in heaven and on earth. They also evoke a sense of the eternal aspect of hymnody, for we know not whether we’ll sing Be Still My Soul when heaven fully meets earth.

I guess you could say those hymnals are vintage.

Now, the turn: just like the material things that serve me, I want my spiritual life to consist of lasting, core ideas. Like my leather bike saddle, tested by time, I want to rest in vintage teachings that have stood the test of time and sustained other folks who have, over the centuries, taken Jesus seriously. I also want to continue to be challenged by the teachings of Scripture, to ultimately receive comfort and challenge according to God’s timing.

From my earliest growing up years, there are vintage concepts that stick with me that will forever shape how I approach God. These ideas won’t ever wear out:

Love your enemies; pray for those who seek to do harm against you. 

God works all things together for the good of those who love him and who are called according to his purpose. 

…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 

By grace you have been saved through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. 

For God so loved the world that he gave his only son so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 

The Lord is my shepherd-I shall not be in want. 

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

Look-I am making all things new! 

[When praying ] The Lord be with you [and also with you!] 

[When beginning a prayer] Strong God, through your Son and in the power of the Spirit… 

Be still my soul, the Lord is on your side! 

Be thou my vision O Lord of my heart. 

I could go on. So, in a world that fancies all things cutting-edge, I am increasingly of the mindset that a large majority the most important wisdom is already quite available for me, whether in the pages of Scripture or in the narratives of saints who took Jesus at his word long before I was around.

Not to sound like a luddite, but my canvas, leather, and denim seem to be performing sufficiently well; I don’t feel compelled to pursue the next new-wave thing. And yet, I’m not pining for a time when things were supposedly better [the ’50s?] and I don’t at all accept the mythology of Golden Age thinking. But I do want to live into an authentic, tactile, worn-yet-functional kind of faith.

I want my faith to be resilient. God loved us enough to send Jesus in the world to put to death the powers that continue to keep us in bondage, and he’s inviting us into a kingdom where our old and damaging patterns are insufficient. In response, I want a faith that’s as worn in as an old leather boot-and also as supportive when God doesn’t feel as close to me.

And yes, sure, if we take the analogy too far, I admit that I’m a total hypocrite as I preserve certain technologies. I admit that I enjoy my little fruit-branded computer, phone, and tablet. Maybe it’s the world we live in. Maybe I’m compromised.

Yes, I sometimes romanticize this ideal in my head that leans toward the timeless. Instead of typing on a Remington typewriter I’m typing on a keypad and watching its digital results on an LCD screen. But in my soul and in my gut I want, God helping, to embody a clean, genuine, time-worn yet glowing, vintage faith.

Of course the tough part is just that-living into these lofty ideas and living into our baptisms and communal professions of faith. It’s tough to follow through in my daily practices on this rich inheritance that has been given to me from God’s Spirit, through the church mothers and fathers, communicated over many generations to many people groups, that has resonated within me.

Here’s to living out a down-to-earth, connected life of *vintage* faith in the merciful Jesus who loved us before we knew ourselves.

***

 

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