Monthly Archives: May 2013

Front Porch or Back

Hebrews 10:24, 25 [AMP] And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities, 25 Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more as you see the day approaching.

I read an article a few years back about a societal change that had occurred in the USA. I’m old enough to have noticed the change. It seems that houses built 40 years ago and earlier usually had front porches. This was because the American society was more ‘neighborly’. People would sit out on their front porch in the cool of the evening and wave to any passers-by, even inviting them to “come and sit a spell.”

My wife and I enjoy watching old reruns of The Andy Griffith Show, because it portrays that era in an entertaining and comedic way. My grandsons have even gotten hooked by its homey charm. There’s Andy, sitting on the front porch, strumming on his guitar, while Aunt Bea rocks slowly in a chair beside him, and Opie plays idly at his feet. You just know that, at any moment, Barney’s liable to stop by, or Gomer, or even some stranger. When they do they’ll be warmly invited to “come sit a spell” on the porch and enjoy small town hospitality.

Since that time home construction went through a change. Owners didn’t want front porches; they came to prefer their porches built on the back of the house. It seems that this was visual evidence to the societal change. It’s not so much that we became ‘un-neighborly’; it’s more that we narrowed the focus of our relationships. We had our backyard barbecues limited to the immediate family. I’m sure there are lots of reasons for the change. We could blame it on economic issues. Or, maybe it’s a fear issue, what with 911, Columbine, Oklahoma City, etc, etc. Could be it’s just a ‘sign of the times’. We are in the last days after all.

I think I do see a bit of turn around in this area more recently. At least, as I look at new homes under construction, it seems that more are adding that front porch again.

Regardless of societal trends, as Christians we have a God-given mandate to be ‘neighborly’. Jesus said that our Christianity would be evident by our love. The apostle Paul instructed that love should be our outermost garment – the one that can always be seen. In fact, Paul dedicated an entire chapter to love in his letter to the Corinthians. And love doesn’t excude, it includes. So it seems that none of these things – economics, terrorism or whatever – are viable excuses to shut people out of our lives.

I bring this up now because we’re entering the summer season. This season brings new dynamics: the days are longer, the kids home from school, there are vacations to be scheduled, lawn and garden work to be maintained, etc. There’s a 60’s rock anthem with the title, “See you in September”. Many times that’s what happens to relationships that were growing over the winter but now get set aside for the summer months.

Let me clarify by saying that I believe that vacations are important, even necessary. Plus lawns and gardens should be maintained with as much excellence as possible. But relationships need ongoing attention also.

So, be attentive to your family. Invest in your brothers & sisters in Christ. Don’t take the summer off from your church. Don’t allow the distractions of the summer to make you sluggish and unresponsive. Come to church. Stay in touch. Prod others to love, helpful deeds and noble activities. And most importantly, continue to cultivate your relationship and fellowship with your loving heavenly Father.

See you on the front porch!