Looking Back and Moving Forward
I love history. And now that I'm 60, I've started to enjoy nostalgia as well. But I know that history and nostalgia are not the same.
Nostalgia is trying to relive something that is departed. Some things gain in our affections after they leave us. And thus nostalgia pays its wages in sentiment—though not necessarily in wisdom.
History, however, pays off in wisdom and insight. It involves sober reflection on the past in a way that helps us know who we are, where we are, and how we got here. It gives us perspective on the present that helps us avoid taking the same unnecessary detours two or three times. Indeed, by being clear-eyed about the past, we are helped to move forward.
You are now reading the last issue of Christian History & Biography, at least as we know it. And I'm trying to avoid nostalgia and keep moving forward.
There have been a lot of great moments over the past 26 years since the magazine was first published by Kenneth Curtis as an adjunct to his filmmaking at Vision Video. After Ken screened a film he had made about Czech reformer and martyr Jan Hus for a couple of groups, including a group of seminary-educated pastors, he discovered that very few knew who Hus was.
(Even if you don't know Jan Hus, you've probably heard about him: He was the goose in the saying, "His goose is cooked." For more about that, look up Thomas Fudge's article "To Build a Fire" on www.christianhistory.net.)
That experience led Ken to print a 16-page study guide to accompany the film. Every medium has its limitations, and motion pictures are best at grabbing attention and building curiosity. They are not as good as print or the internet at conveying information. That study guide about Jan Hus grew into a magazine that developed its ...