I sent our then six-year-old daughter to get a milkshake, with a $5 bill in my hand to cover it.   She came back with a great-looking shake, the chocolate syrup oozing over the edges of the cup.  I asked her where my change was and she said, “There isn’t any; it costs five bucks.”

“It better be good,” I replied.

We were at the Art Festival in downtown Carrollton where she did the kid’s art and had her face painted.  That is when she said she wanted a shake, and that is when my five bucks disappeared.  I took a few sips of the shake, by the way, and it was indeed, very good.  I didn’t feel so bad about my money.

I asked her later, “Oh, by the way, how was the shake?”

“Great,” she said, “it was the old-fashioned kind.”  She was six, and old fashioned to her would be what?  I’m surprised she didn’t lecture me on the “good ole days.”  I laughed and asked what she meant.

She said, “It said it on the side of the cup, ‘old-fashioned.’”

“How did they used to make milkshakes?” I asked her.

“I have no clue,” was her response.

“I don’t either,” I said.  Well, I think what they meant is that most shakes today come out of a machine, but to make this “old-fashioned” one they used a blender.  Is that a big deal?  Does that mean since it comes out of a blender that it is better?  I’ve had some pretty good shakes out of shake machines.  And does that mean they can charge me an arm and a leg for it because they put “old-fashioned” on the cup?

Will Rogers once said, “Things ain’t what they used to be and probably never were.”  And that includes milkshakes.  We sometimes have a warped view of the past, shaped by our own biases and experiences.  I grew up in the ‘60s, and though I had some good times, and I do think that those years were “groovy,” I haven’t for one minute made it out to be more than it was.  I am reminded of three assassinations, war protests, race riots, and bell-bottom pants.  What was so great about that?  Sure it was a good time—church was great; music was great; hair styles were…uh, not so great.

There’s a song that is popular in Southern, Christian circles called “Ole Time Religion.”  “Give me that ole time religion…it’s good enough for me.”  I like the song, but there is a downside, you know.  For all the good there was about religion (Christianity) in the past; it wasn’t all good.  I remember when, in the ‘60s, some churches formed committees (we would call them Race Relations committees today) to decide what to do about blacks who wanted to attend white churches.  Oh the names they gave those committees…  And back in the “good ole days” women had limited roles in churches and were told they couldn’t lead churches.  So, the “good ole days” weren’t good for everyone.

But I always temper that with the great church experience I had back then.  My church had gobs of loving, kind people, who embraced me, taught me, gave me confidence, and most of all, gave me the foundation of my faith.  I look back on my past and see a mixed bag—lots of good with some bad. It wasn’t perfect, but then neither is today’s world.

I love being a part of today’s world—the young people, the technology.  I find it a fascinating time to be alive.  I’m not going to spend one minute talking about how good it used to be and how bad it is today.  Such talk serves no useful purpose.

To all those graduating high school and college soon, forge ahead, don’t look back, best wishes, and Godspeed.

Okay, I admit that the milkshakes back in the ‘60s were kind of special.

~Pastor Steve

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