Not Fade Away

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. (Matt. 24:35)

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Heb. 13:8)

The world around us is adapting to electronic media and information technology. How we think about community, experience the world, share our lives with others, communicate with the people we care about, value ourselves, and even consider what counts as a "place" and why we don't feel the need to actually be there—all of these have changed over the last two decades. We're on a fast-moving train that isn't going to stop.

Christianity is being affected by these changes. Local churches and ministries struggle to adapt, and often just become one more diversion in the panoply of options that our culture offers consumers. More and more young people are abandoning Christianity as a result, finding meaning in things that promise more immediate sensory gratification.

As we move at an increasing speed toward a virtually-connected culture, I predict one important development. Real-life experiences will become more cherished and meaningful. They will be like a cup of cold water to someone who has had nothing but strong beverages for most of their lives. What people will increasingly long for is stability. It is the one element that electronic media cannot provide. It is a basic human need. We want at least a few things in life that we can count on and which last.

I'm a-gonna tell you how it's gonna be
You're gonna give your love to me
I wanna love you night and day
You know my love a-not fade away
A-well, you know my love a-not fade away
                          — Buddy Holly

When Buddy Holly recorded Not Fade Away back in the 50s, the world was different than it is now. Traditional values were considered the norm and families were still strong, but things were changing with the arrival of television. Consumer culture was on the rise. Holly's song became a hit in a world that was adapting to life after the war. That was one of the reasons it became a hit; it resonated with young people. It promised something we all want. We want to know that love will last.

Today, values are changing at the same rate as media and technology. Some Christians are reeling after the recent Supreme Court decision upholding gay marriage, which I find puzzling. The church has long since accommodated itself to cultural views on divorce and adultery but sees this new development on marriage differently. We cannot pick and choose. There is an anchor—something which does not fade away. We need it. It is the love of Christ. But it is not just his love, it is Jesus himself.

The words that he spoke do not change, because he does not change.

It is a comfort, an anchor for our soul. A foundation to keep us steady, the rock upon which we build our house (Matt. 7:24). To count on his love means to stand on his words. As our culture embraces and promotes shifting values on cultural issues, we must stand against them when they contradict Jesus. Jesus' perspective may be politically incorrect, or force us to take responsibility for behaviors we have justified in the past, but this is part of the cost of following him. We have all been drawn into the values which surround us. It is time to renounce them and hold tightly to the truth. Jesus' path was offensive to many, and grated against cultural sensitivities in his own time. It is not a question of hatred for the views of others. It is about holding true in our own hearts, and then secondarily as a body of people with the same priorities.

Jesus' opinions about marriage, material belongings, and our destiny are not difficult to understand. They make perfect sense of the world we live in now, a world driven by electronic media and on course for some uncertain future. The question is simply if we will read and adopt them as our own.

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