His Brilliancy and I had a most enlightening discussion last night. Of the many things we discussed one of them included nostalgia.

I think many worldviews including the Christian world view have a lot to do with nostalgia . For example take the person who has to sit in a particular place in their place of worship at church. There is nothing in the bible that says where people are to sit ( in fact I can’t even remember there being anything about seats) , it’s just a nostalgic traditional thing that they people have done forever and if they changed they would probably feel some pull to go back and sit in that same area the following week.

I think in my worldview I have a lot of room for analysing but I have very little time for nostalgia of the ‘wasn’t-it’-great- when- we- used- to-sit-around-the-campfire- and-sing- hillsong-songs-and-talk-about-the-all-blacks-winning-the-world-cup’ type.

From this discussion with His Brilliancy , I have concluded that the Christian tradition does not have a fine history of dealing with nostalgia, either swinging too far in the above light, or with the case of myself over analysing situations and not knowing how to deal with such cases of nostalgia when they strike .

This raises two points:

1) When does nostalgia turn into self absorption and into escapism of the reality?

2) If we choose to suppress nostalgic moments be they bad or good (or something in between) are we prone to suppressing what God could be teaching us in the present moment?

Posted in |

2 thoughts - add yours!:

  1. A. J. Chesswas Says:

    very interesting topic... I wonder if most of life is simply nostalgia - how much of what we do is an attempt to recreate something that we've seen, heard, smelt, enjoyed before?

    And its not necessarily wrong. If that set of actions evokes a worshipful attitude, a sharing in love and community with one another, or a passionate expression of creativity and life, then it can hardly be a bad thing.

    Agrarian poet Wendell Berry talks about the link between familiarity and affection - how committed relationships in the right spirit evoke powerful feelings and expressions of love. Whether love for people, love for aspects of God's creation, or aspects of our creations that glorify God and celebrate life, or simply love for God himself.

    The Anglican liturgy is an example of a human creation/tradition that, when employed with a sincere spirit, powerfully evokes a spirit of worship through our meditation on its powerful words and pictures. Of course the same liturgy can absolutely bore people and impart very little worship or life in their hearts. But I think you would be hard-pressed to find a person who comes alive, or comes into worship, without employing some sociological creation with its own aspect of nostalgia...

  2. Lisa Says:

    Wow there is a lot in that comment and I have been pondering it since you posted it (note there commenters - i ponder comments :) )

    -If we have had a positive experience/s then I am sure we are bound to want to recreate it, however if we haven't are we not prone to avoid it?

    -I agree with you on creating a worshipful tradtion and also agree with you again on that when that nostalgia or liturgy becomes something though that is simply a 'tradition' that is cold I think we the nostalgia has either had its place or not been analysed