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A blast from the past

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Ol Mule Antique Diner in Cambpellsville Kentucky

Do you sometimes want the world to slow down? So do I. But I learned today to be careful what we wish for.

Welcome to Etcetera, a new column on the Denison Forum website. Here I will comment on the events and ideas of the day as they catch my eye. I’m writing this afternoon on an airplane, soon to depart Louisville, Kentucky for Dallas.

I have spent the day speaking at Campbellsville University. This is a remarkable school in a beautiful state. The president, faculty, and students have been gracious in every way. This morning I spoke in chapel on the assigned topic, “Global Changes in Christian Context.” I gave examples of our changing culture such as these: one in eight couples married last year in the United States met online; more text messages will be sent and received today than the planet’s population; in 25 years, the cell phone that fits in our pockets will fit in a blood cell. Discussing the changes and trends of our day, I felt on the cutting edge of contemporary culture.

Then came a blast from the past. Driving from the campus to the Louisville airport, I passed the establishment pictured on the left. It caught my eye for two reasons.

  1. I wondered what an “antique diner” might be, hoping the description referred to the tables rather than the food.
  2. the Texaco sign featured as part of the antique flavor of the store was one I saw for years growing up.

It was anything but antique in my “day.” Now the proprietor who displays it is so stubbornly resistant to change that he calls himself an “Ol’ Mule.” Viewing his sign, I feel the same way myself.

I am glad God loves both tradition and innovation. Paul never changed the message he had received by church tradition, but he was always open to new methods by which to deliver it. He quoted Scripture in the synagogue and Greek philosophers in Athens. He used new techniques to deliver the old, old story.

May we do both, to the glory of God.