Nostalgia and Faith

The Scriptures don’t report it and  it is certainly difficult to imagine it.

At no point are we aware that  Jesus was sitting around a campfire with his disciples recalling the time where he was walking on water… “Peter, duuuude,  you should have seen your face when you began to sink – I was sure your cloak was getting all wet and it wasn’t from lake water, if ‘ya know what I mean!”  He wasn’t at the Last Supper recounting the time of the leftover loaves and fishes; choosing to focus on the dozen with him now rather than the thousands gathered then. He did not stop carrying the wooden Cross on the road to Calvary to reminisce about growing up a carpenter’s son.

Nostalgia is defined as a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. And it is so often mental comfort food  shared amongst the youth ministry crowd. We can often cling to our own experiences rather  than helping others grown into their own unique experiences.  We limit our repertoire to what has worked for us… in a different time, different place… without consideration for the time and place where we are now.

Perhaps it is the nature of the age group with whom we minister – We see change and growth so we “Remember when…”   Perhaps it  is the nature of our faith which is built around a “Do this in memory of  Me” action. But, nostalgia does not seem to  be  the  sensibility of the Master.

There’s no better place to serve young people than in the present. Kids don’t remember or need to re-enact our romanticized memories, when screens were for keeping the flying bugs out and kids entertained themselves with Capture the Flag instead of Grand Theft Auto V. When families gathered ’round the television to watch wholesome programming over plates of Spam. When gas cost less than a buck a gallon, but we hardly noticed — seeing as how we walked barefoot, uphill, both ways … in the snow – you know the usual rap.(Unless, of course, you only  listen to Motown.)

The faith we share  is forward looking.  We evangelize towards a open future, not our closed past. The prayer Jesus  taught was for our future, the beattitudes call us on how to live towards the future, the commissioning of Holy Thursday direct us towards the future.

Young people need their childhood, not ours. We owe that to them.  We owe it to ourselves as well. There is a moment where, if we choose to live in the past, we become dead to  the present and fearful of the afterlife of the future

D. Scott Miller

D. Scott Miller is the dean of Catholic Youth Ministry bloggers which is a polite way of either saying that he is just plain old or has been blogging for a long time (since 2004.)

Scott recently married the lovely Anne and together they have five adult young people and also grandparent three delightful kids (so, maybe he is just plain old!) Scott presently serves at Saint John the Evangelist in Columbia, MD as the director of youth and young adult ministry.

He has previously served on the parish, regional, diocesan, and national levels as well as having taught within a catholic high school. He is one of the founders of RebuildMyChurch and has returned to posting regularly (keeping regular is important to old guys) at ProjectYM.


D. Scott Miller


D. Scott Miller is the dean of Catholic Youth Ministry bloggers which is a polite way of either saying that he is just plain old or has been blogging for a long time (since 2004.)

Scott recently married the lovely Anne and together they have five adult young people and also grandparent three delightful kids (so, maybe he is just plain old!) Scott presently serves at Saint John the Evangelist in Columbia, MD as the director of youth and young adult ministry.

He has previously served on the parish, regional, diocesan, and national levels as well as having taught within a catholic high school. He is one of the founders of RebuildMyChurch and has returned to posting regularly (keeping regular is important to old guys) at ProjectYM.



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