Monday, July 21, 2008

Vintage Church .... are old and tangible things making a comeback?

Now this was an interesting kick. I found this article on PSFK Trendwatching, a weblog that tracks the hottest trends in fashon, lifestyle, music, and art.
"We’re usually looking forward to find innovation. What’s the next big thing? What’s coming next? Future! At times though, looking backwards might provide a richer source of inspiration. Overlooked ideas lay in wait to be revived. Simple practices long forgotten may be the answer to a present problem. There’s also the cyclically recurring retrofitting of culture, most obvious in the fashion world. Iconography of an earlier age is appropriated and remixed into a hybrid form using past style values to make a statement."

The idea....that old, tangible, solid, non-digital vintage things might be making a comeback. Could this signal hope for the traditional church...hope for organs, pews, stained glass, and buildings that look like they've been around for a century or more? More or less.

But remember the caveat in the quote above....vintage material coming back into mode is more than likely a "remix"...not a slavish imitation of the past but an appropriation of past images, styles, and concepts and presented in a way that honors the past, but is also cool in the present.

The article links to a piece from Harvard Business Review that plays with this concept from a corporation's perspective. What "old things" might very well come back into fashon again. Some examples from the article:
  • Non-working vacations
  • Re-regulation of industries (such as airlines and power)
  • Paternalistic Management practices (the idea that you get a good job and the company sticks with you for your life)
Interesting points....but I think they're woefully inadequate. My perception is that younger generations are yearning for authenticity and relationships. Therefore, my take is that the types of things that are on the way back in:
  • Neighborhoods (the kind where you spend time with your neighbors .... you linger in conversation in the front yard)
  • Home Cooked Meals (anything that takes more than three steps to prepare)
  • Home-made music/arts/crafts
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Community-building organizations (bowling leagues, supper clubs, civic organizations....but again, the organizations that will benefit will be the ones that learn how to remix their tradition rather than insisting on slavish continuity)

Theologically, I'm really into old things: the substitutionary atonement, the dual natures of the person of Christ, justification by faith alone (heck....let's just throw in the TULIP of Calvinism for grins and giggles).

What old things are we mixing into our lives....and where are we breathing new life into them? Looking forward to your thoughts.