Home Sweet Home: Nostalgia vs. Memory

Father Jonathan writes:

Orthodoxy is a religion of memory, but conservative America (rightly reacting to statism) is dedicated to nostalgia. The past is framed with a sentimental, hallmark peachy filter, where the blemishes and moles are airbrushed away. Nothing happens in the past of nostalgia, except a succession of Norman Rockwell prints. The whole montage is narrated by the whisky voice of Thornton’s Our Town narrator: birth, youth, romance and marriage, hearth and home and death. Stephen Foster sings offstage.

I love this montage: I am drawn toward it like a siren.

Nostalgia and sentiment are perilous reactions to Babylon and its progress: going home and trying to find the little house on the prairie, with the apple-wood smoke curling up from the chimney and crunchy leaves and a ham on a marble slab and the silence of winter chill groves, draped in silver gauze is a place you want to visit now at your peril, and can, despite the morose fact that you were never there.

Christianity is history, which is always forgettable: the imaginations of nostalgia are easier come by. Christianity is history: history is Christianity.


Author: Father Silouan Thompson

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