What a difference a day can make! On opening night at Petco Park, there were over 44,000 fans in attendance and only a few drunk people within five feet of our seats. Several years ago, Tonya and I developed what we call the “5 Foot Rule.” The 5 foot rule simply states that no matter where you sit at a baseball game, you will be within five feet of a drunk person. And with the recent price increases at Petco, getting drunk at a Padres game can be an expensive endeavor.
But that was Monday. Tuesday night was a different story. Twenty-four thousand “fans” somehow disappeared between Monday and Tuesday’s games. While on opening night you had to squeeze and tuck your way down the row to get to the aisle, on Tuesday night we had the entire section to ourselves. It still costed as much to get drunk as the night before, but there were definitely fewer drunks in the crowd.
That’s the difference a day can make. Trends change and what is popular today is out of style tomorrow. There is more buzz to be generated by talking about attending opening night than the second game of a four-game homestand.
Our fickle nature extends beyond baseball to media and relationships. The turnover of self-help titles at Barnes and Nobles used to be measured in years; now it’s measured in months, if not weeks. That’s how quickly trends come and go. If you were to sample best-sellers from the last ten years, you would find a myriad of approaches to fixing your finances, getting healthy, or finding love. A number of “principles” from one year would even contradict “principles” from another year.
One reason I’m drawn to Christianity is because it is a faith rooted in history, not the changing winds of pop culture. Within Christianity there is a thread of orthodoxy that runs longer than a thirty second sound bite or a New York Times best-seller. The way of Jesus has been faithfully followed by pilgrim, prince, and pauper alike for more than 2,000 years.
Modern churches find themselves in an awkward spot. As our culture races from trend to trend, from celebrity to celebrity, there is a temptation to shun anything ancient or historical. No one — or church — wants to appear dusty and out-of-touch.
But perhaps what lies at the heart of our culture’s fascination with trends is a desire to find significance and meaning. If so, then who better than the church to offer a real answer … rooted in 2,000 years of history.