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The Rockin' Rev July 2019

ROCKIN REV 07-2019aas published by St Andrew's Church in the Gorleston Community Magazine

 

Aside from reality TV, many of the most popular shows on British television in recent years have been period dramas such as Downton Abbey, Victoria, Poldark, and Call the Midwife. Current cinema listings also reveal our appetite for stories from the past

 
Commentators offer a range of reasons as to why we look back with longing to days gone by. We're lonely, we're stressed, we're isolated from each other, we have low self-esteem,, or we despair about the state of our lives. These reasons are all about personal emotions but Britain's current nostalgia seems to be a more collective affair
 
ROCKIN REV 07-2019 bMany believe we have become a backwards-looking culture because twenty-first century Britain is confusing, cruel, and boring. Shows like Downton Abbey (now a long-awaited movie) allow us to escape our own lives for an hour or two by looking at beautiful costumes and enjoying romantic storylines
 
Capturing the mood of many Britons today, Lady Violet says in an early episode of Downton "I hanker for a simpler world, is that a crime?" Nostalgia is certainly not a crime, but is it helpful?
 
For many people, it was the Second World War that seemed to embody Britain at its best. Despite the tragedy and austerity of the period, something of the Blitz spirit has since come to define what it means to be British
 
The present battles over ‘Brexit’ have caused Britain to take a further national trip down memory lane. The present looks bleak, and the future uncertain, but the appealing glow of the past just keeps getting brighter. Across the country, people routinely hark back to ‘the good old days’. Perhaps you've been tempted to think this way too
 
ROCKIN REV 07-2019 cA certain amount of reminiscing is said to be good for our mental health. In a mile-a-minute culture that constantly rushes ahead, it can be positive to take a step back and remember where we have come from. However, nostalgia does have its dangers. It gives us an overly romantic view of history. It causes us to be unnecessarily negative about the present. Even when it is making us feel better, it is also distorting our view of the world. Our nostalgia makes us liable to cherry-pick certain moments and objects that suit our vision. It leads us to forget that the past is also full of terror and triviality, the present with beauty and excitement
 
We need to check that we are not infected by a nostalgia that leads us to prefer the past to the present, or to lose our hope for the future. According to the Bible that would be unwise:
 
Don’t always be asking, “Where are the good old days?” Wise folks don’t ask questions like that
Ecclesiastes 7:10

Rev Brian Hall
Vicar, St Andrew’s Church


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Rev. Daniel Pritchard (Guest) 01/07/2019 10:36
Excellent thoughts Brian, thanks!