• Jesse Smith

Blockbuster in the '90s

Do you remember going to Blockbuster on a Friday night in the ’90s to rent a movie? “Making it a Blockbuster Night,” was a nostalgic part of my childhood. I remember the membership card that my Dad carried in his worn-out wallet. I remember the picked over movies on “New Release” shelves. And I remember the late fees, which were eventually renamed by the Blockbuster corporate office as “Additional Day Fees.” The nostalgia of those Friday nights sits in my mind alongside our new reality of streaming movies into our home on a Friday night, as a family.


In my estimation, there once was a time in American history when the church sat in the center of the public square. And while many folks earnestly desired to grow in their relationship with Jesus and to be nurtured in the faith, there were others (as there always are) that came for reasons other than that. Some folks tried to attach themselves to the dominant influence of the Church to help their own small business and/or to benefit their own agenda.


The steeple of the church once cast a long shadow in the communities that they belonged to.


And while the church has lost a central role in many communities over the years, I believe we have an opportunity today to retrace our steps and reclaim the core purpose of the church. We will have to unlearn some things. We will have to relearn some things. And God will be our guide.


And I am here for it. I am here for it, the same way so many of those who have gone before me have been here for it.


The United Methodist Church Book of Discipline says that our forebears were here for it when it claims, “Our forebears in the faith reaffirmed the ancient Christian message as found in the apostolic witness even as they applied it anew in their own circumstances.”


As we prepare for worship, may we ask ourselves, what is the ancient Christian message that we need to reaffirm? And likewise, maybe we can ask ourselves, how might we apply that message in new ways in our own time and culture?


The church is at her best when we ask these questions and respond in faith.



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