What surprises me about this is how consistent the people featured on these shows are. Almost all of them want the wood floors and the open concept. And it makes sense to me. Obviously wood floors look nice, are easier to care for than carpet, and they’re more durable. And who wouldn’t want an open concept where those working in the kitchen to prepare meals could still interact with others in living areas? It seems to make for more convivial social environment for everyone
Sure enough, a little bit of thought helps us see that there was a point to the way some of these homes were built. When we go back to the early part of the 20th century we discover that the most common types of floors were wood floors. But then carpet became popular. There was a reason. Carpeting can make a house seem a little bit warmer, and it certainly is more comfortable if anyone is going to sit on the floor. So carpeting became a popular thing. These days people are focused more on the look of wood, its durability and ease of care and think it makes way more sense to have wood floors. But my guess is at some point a few years down the road, someone is going to start thinking that maybe carpeting is a pretty good idea. And wood floors will no longer be the rage. Similarly, there was a reason that people built homes with rooms separated from each other. Imagine a large family gathering, say for a holiday. I can envision someone wanting to have rooms that are separated from each other so that there might be a place for the children to play together while the adults gather in another room to visit. Putting everyone in one large space would be noisy and chaotic. Therefore, I think it reasonable to guess that down the road at some point the open concept will also fall out of favor.
My interest here is not so much with the style of homes that are popular, as with the fact that styles come and go. And styles coming and going reminds us that in all ways thinking changes. We get easily dominated by the tyranny of the now. We forget that what seems obvious and clearly true to us today may be very different from what seems obvious and true 25 or 50 or 100 years from now. At least in our society people seem to have an obsession with what is latest and stylish. They seem to think that what we believe and think today is absolutely true and forget the many things that people used to believe that we now think are absurd. More to the point, we forget that what we now believe to be true is someday going to be considered absurd by someone else.
Is there anything that can help us guard against the myopia of the now? A knowledge of history can help. The more we know about history the more we see that styles and beliefs come and go. It helps us to remember that much of what we believe and think is obvious will also fade away eventually. But more importantly, what can help us most is timeless truth. There are some things that have been true for thousands of years, and they will be true for thousands more, if there are thousands of more years. We are wise to evaluate everything through the lens of what is always true. Isaiah 40:8 says, “the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” God’s truth is timeless truth and we need to evaluate everything that we think, see and hear through the grid provided by God’s eternal truth. Styles wither and beliefs fall, but the word of our God endures forever. So we should not let it bother us even a little if what we believe is out of step with what is current. What is current will someday be passé, but truth, timeless truth, will always be true.