In the below post by HuffingtonPost.com, Dictator of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi was pronounced dead by the hands of Libyan revolutionaries. Although my pacifistic nature wanted to hope that redemption and reconciliation could be made in Libya, I had a feeling Gaddafi’s life would be taken sooner or later.
The disturbing thing about Gadaffi’s murder was what the revolutionaries were chanting as they paraded Gadaffi’s body around on the front of a truck. The Libyan rebels chanted, “God is Great! God is Great!”
Although the rebels were chanting a very true statement, I cannot help but cringe when God’s greatest is in correlation with a dead body laying on a truck. No matter what level of relief and freedom Gadaffi’s death provided for the Libyan people, in my eyes, I cannot help but feel like we have made a grave mistake in attributing murder to God’s greatness.
Take a look for yourself and the graphic video of Gadaffi’s last moments and judge for yourself if this act proves God’s greatness.
The idea of nostalgia was brought to my attention by one of my professors at Mount Olive College, Dr. Hollis Phelps. Over the last few months I have written several articles and read quite a bit on the effects of nostalgia on a progressive generation. I believe in a progressive Christianity – a Christianity that is informed by the past and finds truth in the “good old story,” while making it a primary goal to always interpret its significance for the present moment and the moments to come. Although memory can be a powerful device, most of the time we believe our past to be better than it truly was, causing us to lose sight of the beauty of the present moment. Even worse is the one who believes that the past is something that can never upended because the future seems so bleak. These nostalgia-ridden-folk choose to look back instead of forward; a perspective, I must say, that is bred out of fear and a loss of hope.
You know I always am interested in what Søren Kierkegaard has to say. In Kierkegaard’s book Repetition, he claims that hope is not in recollection (or nostalgia for our purposes):
Repetition and recollection are the same movement, except in opposite directions, for what is recollected has been, is repeated backwards, whereas genuine repetition is recollected forward. . . Hope is a new garment, stiff and starched and lustrous, but it has never been tried on, and therefore one does not know how becoming it will be or how it will fit. Recollection is a discarded garment that does not fit, however beautiful it is, for one has outgrown it. (Søren Kierkegaard. Repetition. Pg. 131-132)
I trust that we have the blessing and responsiblity to hope, and even though we do not know how hope will play or how it will fit as, Kierkegaard says, at least with hope we have the chance of newness and redemption. With hope, we can will how life might ultimately fit for us. With nostalgia, we are just reminded that things can never be the same as before. So cling to that hopeful garment.
However, you must not throw away that garment of recollection and nostalgia; leave it hanging in the closet so that you are reminded, when you put on the new garment of hope, that the best days are not behind you.
Check out Jaweed Kaleem’s informative article on the statistics of Bible preferences.
Below are some major stats taken from Kaleem’s article for a quick glance.
- 82 percent prefer a literal translation of masculine words that describe people in the Bible instead of gender-neutral terms, such as “humankind” or “person.” In addition, 89 percent prefer a literal translation of gender-specific references to God, such as using the term “father” instead of “parent.”
- 27 percent favor contemporary language, while 46 percent want traditional language.
- 36 percent want more modern language, while 37 percent favor more old-fashioned language.
- 19 percent feel that understanding the language should require a higher level of education, while 49 percent say it should not require a higher level of education.
- 63 percent believe it should be simple for anyone to understand, while 14 percent say the language should be geared more toward people who have a lot of experience with the Bible.
- 40 percent prefer more formal language, while 26 percent say the language should be more informal.
- 22 percent want language designed for casual reading, while 44 percent say it should be designed more for in-depth study.