Thursday, July 19, 2012

The "Old Ways" vs. The "Old Days"

Herb Kane (Hawaiian, 1928-2011)
You can read about the artist here and here.

I have added a feature that allows a scripture to pop up when you run your cursor on it. This makes reading more convenient, as you don't have to click on a link and go to a different page. 

I sometimes hear remarks concerning the past and its disadvantages.

 While there is a Biblical warning not to glorify the former days as though they were better, (Isaiah 43:18 and Ecclesiastes 7:10), it was never intended that the values of the past, or that history, would be despised or dismissed.  There are many admonitions from God's Word to walk in "the old paths, where is the good walk," (Jeremiah 6:16) and to honor traditions (2 Thessalonians 2:15).

Daydream by Herb Kane (Hawaiian, 1928-2011)

 I love the paintings of the water-carriers and shepherdesses of by-gone days, yet I think that running water is far better, and automobiles are a better form of transportation.  What I am addressing here is not the old days, but the old ways and the old paths, which can still be traveled today.

It is adventurous and admirable to blaze a trail of your own in some things, but the well worn path of virtue and values is important to follow. The old paths, which lead to the good way, which bring spiritual and emotional stability and well-being, are the paths every generation in every era of time needs to seek.

 Moderns who love the things of times past, such as the automobiles, furnishings and styles,  also need to embrace beliefs and values that are good and true.  Courtesy (1 Peter 3:8), careful conversation, (Ephesians 4:22; Hebrews 13:5), and contentment (1 Timothy 6:6; Philippians 4:11) are just a few of those things, as well as faith and fortitude. Other valuable things are loyalty, dependability, dedication and simple belief in God's Word.
The old ways, (the old paths), based upon the inspired Word of God, are to be desired above all other types of progress. The "old paths" described in Jeremiah 6:16, is where you will find the key to happiness and success in life.  While there have been people in each century who were always wanting to hear some new thing  (Acts 17:21) , the old ways, where the good walk is, are tested and proven by the faithful followers of God in the past.  Because of the examples recorded in the scriptures of people who grew in wisdom and were obedient to God, we can easily see what paths to follow. 

And so, the old days, while they may have been filled with the old ways, are not exactly what we are seeking these days. While we honor the past and celebrate its glory with anniversaries, memorials, jubilees, and other markers, we are not actually living in the past, but appreciating it.  We realize that when we follow the old paths, we will get the kind of results that other people got when they followed these values. There are customs from past times that we admire which were there because someone followed the old paths, back then, as well. Many of us desire the quality and craftsmanship of the houses and clothing of the old days. Others admire the slower, more deliberate pace of life in past times. There is nothing wrong with reproducing the good things of the past or practicing the traditions of the past that have good values. These things are part of the good walk.
When you see someone wearing a different style than that of the prevailing culture, do not quickly conclude that the person is glorifying the past or thinking that the former times were better. They are probably just enjoying the finer things from another era, to make life pleasant in this era.  God designed life so that we could learn from the past. In the area of clothing and fashion, we are the most blessed of any generation before us, for we have many centuries of designs to study and choose from.

 We should not be limited to just the fashion of the day, dictated by designers and their particular tastes. When I wore my Victorian costume and rode my tricycle in an old-fashioned parade, there were several people curious to know if I lived completely in the past, or dressed that way every day.  While I wear costumes that are more authentic in design when I participate in special events, the designs of the past influence the way I sew clothing for every day wear in these current times. I like the feminine look of the Victorian clothing, and I add touches of that style to modern sewing patterns.

There are other things that people admire about the past. The way people spent their leisure time with their families, the things they made by hand, the habits they had, plus the way they handled life's ups and downs; these all have something to teach us today, for they are some of the old paths that God speaks of. Jeremiah 6:16 says that following the old paths, you'll have peace.

 It is only natural to see the things of the past that bring serenity and peace to our lives, and there is also nothing wrong with rejecting modern values that bring an uproar into our lives.  We are all free to choose which values we will embrace. Therefore, if it appears that someone is a little old fashioned, or "living in the past," it could be that they are only adopting something from the past that gives them truth, direction and peace.  The law of the Lord, itself is rooted in the past, and so to obey the teachings of our Lord is to follow the old paths, where the good walk is.

 The paintings by Herb Kane which appear at the beginning of this post, are an illustration of the old ways. The painter lived in modern times, yet recorded some good customs of the past in his paintings.  The scenes in those two paintings illustrate an old Hawaiian tradition that is still practiced today. While these paintings depict things that were in the past, they speak of good traditions and customs which can easily be imitated today--the old paths. There is certainly nothing wrong with re-enacting the old days in order to appreciate our past or to understand the way our forefathers lived, and we can also do this by following the old paths, where the good way is. (Jeremiah 6:16)

Those who mock and deride the past are not showing respect to the Lord, who uses the past to remind us to follow in His Ways. Those who are really living in the past are the perpetrators of past, failed doctrines and life-styles such as communism, socialism, modernism, rationalism, cynicism, darwinism, dewyism, atheism, skepticism, materialism, marxism, feminism, fabianism, keynesian economics, and many other "isms" that you can read about here.  Unregenerated people resurrect these old, dead doctrines generation after generation; old beliefs that provide nothing but dismal, hopeless and demoralizing lives for those who have it imposed on them.

The good news is that God provides something better: the old paths, were is the good walk. Jeremiah 6:16. The old ways that He wants us to follow are found in the precepts, the values, the proverbs, the examples, and the contrasts in His Word.

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Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia,
Thank you for another wonderful post! I'm only in my 20's, but I adore the fashions and simple ways of living from the Victorian era up to the 1950's. For a while I didn't know what to do, because I didn't like the clothes offered in stores, the music on the radio, and the attitudes of other girls my age. I felt disconnected from the world and quite alone...but then I started reading articles on LAF and your blog, and I was so relieved to find people who had vintage values like me! After discovering the art of vintage living, I transformed my home into a sweet escape from the modern world, and I look forward to making many great memories here with my family.
Take care,
Paulina said...

I love this post. What a comfort as I am a little "different" from the rest of my family - not so modern.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Another reason some of us love past fashions/furnishings, etc, was that they remind of us those we loved from these eras.

I am partial to the 20's/30's fashions, and always think of my grandmother and see her in all those pictures of when she was young.

I remember her parents when I look at her furniture I still have, with all the stories she told me about her Victorian mother.

I'm not trying to be her, but I just loved her, and love some of the things she loved.

Bellacocina said...

Great post,love being able to bring the verses up by using the mouse,so nice not to have to leave your blog and come back.I always find so many wonderful things to read on your blog, so grateful to you for taking so much time and effort to lift the spirits of others and give us all a gentle,beautiful place to come to.

Mrs. V. said...

Lady Lydia, you have no idea how much I agree with this post. I've been wanting to say something similar but have not known how to word it. You are so right that we have the choice to buy into all that is modern or choose differently and live in and walk on the old paths. For me and my family, we choose the older ways. And the older I get, the harder I want to cling to them and the more determined I become to do so.

Judith said...

Lady Lydia, I always like reading your post. This was is a special one. Thank you for the pictures of Hawaii a place that I love!! I used to live there when I was 15 through 19.

Anonymous said...

As usual, you know how to say what's on the heart of so many, Lady Lydia. "The old ways, not the old days." There really is a difference!


Anonymous said...


What a beautiful, well thought out, sensible post!! It is balm to my soul, and I expect, the souls of your readership also. Your endeavours to separate the 'old ways/paths (thought, ethics, morals, sensitivities etc) from the material world is wisdom personified; to walk the 'old paths wherein one will find peace for one's soul' does not mean jettisoning the inventions that make life and tasks easier than that of our forebears 150 years past. I have a beautiful homemaking manual dating from the late 1940's and used to be concerned about some of the conveniences the writer suggested homemakers make use of. Perhaps my irritation was rather a touch of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I become so inspired reading your posts...There's some lovely 1940's swing (Andrews sisters etc) on the radio in the background and am thankful for my drier that aids in the laundry on rain interrupted winter days like the one we're having in Sydney at the moment.

thank you also for the wealth of Scriptural referencing you have provided. How I wish you could drop in for tea this afternoon...

Anonymous said...

The paintings by Herb Kane depict an actual Hawaiian tradition. A husband sings to his wife while she lays in the sun. I have several photos of this very thing.

Lydia said...

Those who are not rooted and grounded in the Word of God are always looking for a way of life that is different, or that is better. The therapists and psychologists of our day are always trying to find the answers to life's problems, but the old paths are right there in the scriptures. Why make your own mistakes when the failings of mankind and the consequences are shown in scriptures. Proverbs is a book of comparisons that will show the folly of following new paths as a guide for your life. We do love the past, but what we love about it are the good ways!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you mentioned the Book of Proverbs! It's my favorite Old Testament book of the full of pithy advice, thought-provoking examples, etc. As you said, it's a book of comparisons. Really, as a "how-to" manual, what could be easier to read & use than the Book of Proverbs?


Anonymous said...

One thing that dictators do when they want to control a population, is erase the past or rewrite it to suit them. They know that people who have a respect for the past cannot be made to respect the present regime. It is good to teach the past to future generations.