I heard Bishop Hanson deliver the keynote address to the Lower Susquehanna synod assembly a couple of weeks ago. He was asked, “How is the ELCA doing?” He answered, “I believe the ELCA is suffering from a very contagious virus called NOSTALGIA.”
Definition of nostalgia: A bittersweet longing for things, persons or situations of the past.
The problem with nostalgia, Bishop Hanson further explained, is that you’re longing for something that actually never really existed. Nostalgia can be a way to escape the challenges of the present.
But why long for the past when you can, and should, celebrate the possibilities of the future instead?
Women of the ELCA is susceptible to this virus as well. Are we living in the present and looking to the future, or are we saying to one another, “Oh no, what will the women’s organization look like in 10 years?”
My questions to you:
- Are there women in your unit who are resistant to looking forward but instead just keep wishing things were still the way they used to be?
- If your unit functions differently than it used to, is that a bad thing?
- Is your women’s unit suffering from this virus called nostalgia?
Emily Hansen is director for stewardship and development, Women of the ELCA.