What a crazy mixed up world this is. Our society has become so complicated; but then there are magazines and television programs and books, ad nausem focusing on simplification. Most of them are trying to get us to buy even more products. Somehow I don’t think they’re getting the point that they say they’re trying to make.
However, it’s best to use some wisdom when reviewing and making decisions. When I was in high school and thought I was so smart, I rejected a lot of tradition. Through 17 year old eyes, tradition looked tired and out-dated. I remember saying that it was not a good enough reason to keep doing something just because that’s the way we’ve always done it. And while there may be some truth in that, it’s not enough to say that just because this teenager doesn’t understand the origins of something, that it’s passe. Thank the good Lord above that I did not reject all tradition: Joe and I were married at our church, we both worked, we still valued family ties.
Our wedding ceremony was a mixture of traditional and not. I wanted a “practical” wedding dress – something that I could wear again and not have people thinking that I was like Grandmother Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof (she was ancient and wearing her wedding dress in the dream sequence). So I chose an evening dress pattern from the Vogue catalog and some aqua crepe fabric. No bridesmaids, groomsmen, my father didn’t give me away. Joe and I entered together, singing “To Be Like Jesus” a Capella; we wrote our own vows.
The church we attended was a small group of believers (New Life Fellowship in Jesus). Our pastor, Ray Vogt, was a former Mennonite. I think there were former Baptists, Mennonites and Catholics in our congregation. Going by appearances it was untraditional because we met in a YMCA building. Actually, those buildings had family history connected. The YMCA was only leasing them from the Tulsa Public School system. My brother, sister and I had all attended school there; it was the original campus for East Central High School. When I was there, it was Lewis & Clark Junior High; East Central had moved to the new building on 11th St. by then.
It was wonderfully New Testament fellowship, but it didn’t look like a “church” building. This was before the advent of the steel building mega-churches. Most church buildings up until that time, were wooden, brick or concrete block and they were all identifiable by simply looking at them. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the new style, but I confess that when I visited the Congregational Church in Middleboro, Massachusetts and saw that soaring spire and the huge columns, it made me wistful. Here was a place that was set aside from the world – identifiably so.
Hopefully all this gray hair is not in vain. I would like to think I’ve earned it.