I grew up with the word “mod”. It was a short form of “modern” created by folks who were “far out”, “cool”, and “groovy”. We were “with it” and “wow” and against the “establishment” because if was stodgy and old. The “Mod Squad” was a TV program about far out, cool and groovy, young, hip, and with it, undercover cops who showed us all how cool they were by their hair and the fact that they never wore ties. Looking like a chia pet and making grimaces at the camera was considered progress.
Modernity makes promises about “progress”. Progress means moving forward into a brave new future where things get better and better. That’s why the hip and cool and with it today call themselves “progressives”. That is to separate them from “conservatives” who want to conserve the status quo and restore or conserve the past.
Just look at what progress we see in the world today just in something as simple as the news we consume. Huge stories based upon unnamed leaks and unnamed sources. The old days, where a Biblical command held sway even in a news story that “every accusation be verified by two of three witnesses” (Matthew 18 and 2 Corinthians 13), really are the old days.
Look at the progress we have made in societal norms. I went into the restroom at an airport because I thought I saw a man come out of it. I could tell very quickly it was the ladies room so I quickly backed out just as a women was coming in. I told her “I thought I saw a man come out of here”. She said, “don’t worry he probably ‘identified'”. It is a bit funny if it wasn’t so sad. To think that an entire political legacy for some boils down to the “progress” of letting anyone go to the bathroom wherever they want! We have come along way baby, as they used to say. It is possible to go a long way backwards too.
Luther said something about progress that will make you think and think again. ““To progress is always to begin always to begin again”. Modernity promises what only God can deliver. When preachers and churches take their cue from modernity and focus on a sort of progressive vision that “everyday in everyway I am getting better and better” we forget that life is lived, by a Christian, in the promises of God. In Christ God promises a hope and a future.