Pastoral Ponderings—Artifacts of Connection
Darling Wife Karol and I went to the Habitat Re-Store over the weekend to look for a window, but of course explored other things as well. The old furnishings always catch my eye, even some true antiques, as was the case this time, with an old Victrola in very good condition. I love antiques—part of my fascination with history I suppose. I was reflecting on why they fascinate me so, and I started developing a theory: perhaps it is because so many antiques are artifacts reflecting how people connected to one another over the years.
Whether antique jewelry, reflecting the convergence of both intimate and public connections (how often does jewelry and its stories form conversation and memories of key relationship events?), cars and trains and how they connected people, or perhaps my favorites, home furnishings, and how they shape personal interactions. The Victrola I saw fits right into this theory, with both how families connected around them, and how they brought voices of others from far reaches of society together.
So I’m seeing a pattern of a love of antiques looking like it might be a love of a history of how people connect. But the Victrola story might also teach us something about how we do church. When tracking down the date of the machine we did end up buying—a 1923 model—I also discovered a history of dramatic decline.
The Victor company was one of the most successful and fastest growing companies in America less than ten years before ours was made. But by time our 1923 model was made, the Victrola was fast becoming irrelevant because of the new “passing fad” (or so the Victor company thought) of radio that had just burst onto the scene.
Key observation—people were still CONNECTING—but around radios rather than phonographs. So what can we in the church learn here? People are eager as ever to connect—but HOW and around WHAT we connect changes over time.
Let’s ponder together—what artifacts can we now use, or grow into using, that we can use to help people connect with Jesus (which may or may not be in a pew)—so we don’t follow the Victor company on their path (sold off in 1929)?
Keep on connecting—Rev. Jim