My Musings

Old Alexander McKee

Old Alexander McKee

Alexander McKee passed away on February 20, 1922, at the ripe old age of 102 years, 2 months and 7 days. I know him only through his tombstone at the Wild Rose Cemetery just north of Kendrick on Idaho State Highway 3. It spells out Alexander’s longevity in detail.

His tombstone testifies not only that Alexander lived long but also that he lived well. The epitaph inscribed on his headstone reads thusly:

    Upright and just he was in all his ways,
    A bright example in degenerate days.

It occurred to me that old Alexander would roll over briskly in his grave if he knew how degenerate the “days” would become nearly a century later. What would he think about our 41% rate of American babies born out of wedlock? How would he handle the crusade to decompose marriage itself? What about the millions of unborn and partially born babies exterminated because their lives are inconvenient? Would he own a TV? We can only guess.

Of course, there never really has been a “golden age” when such things as sin, corruption and evil were in short supply. Every generation is flawed in different ways. But every generation has men and women like Alexander McKee too. How bright is your example?

Born in 1820, Alexander. lived through the Civil War, Reconstruction and at some point became part of our expansion into the great American West. It’s easy to idealize these times but we don’t need to watch Westerns to know that these were difficult and often degenerate times.

Jesus often called His generation “evil and adulterous.” Miraculous sign-seeking was a generational vice Jesus observed along with his generation’s refusal to repent (Luke 11:29-32). Jesus likened his generation to Noah’s “deluge-deserving” generation (Luke 17:26-27) for being blind to their impending judgment. His own hapless disciples once prompted a complaint from Jesus about His “unbelieving and perverse generation” (Matthew 17:17). Jesus’ rhetoric was unpopular then and it helped get him executed. He predicted that his generation would reject him (Luke 17:25) and He was right.

Jesus did not hate his generation. He wept for them. Because he loved them, he pulled no punches regarding their sick condition, longing for them to repent. When Christians today lament the moral and mental bankruptcy of our times, we are walking in the courageous footsteps of our loving Savior.

Preaching on Pentecost, the apostle Peter called his generation “perverse” (Acts 2:40). That means the Lord’s church was born from the ranks of the perverse. Later, the apostle Paul used such terms as “crooked and perverse” to describe his generation (Philippians 2:15).

I have three concluding points of inspiration:

  1. The prevalence of wickedness does not indicate the absence of hope.
  2. The need to speak up boldly, vividly and lovingly (as did Jesus, Peter and Paul) is enormous! Moral courage is a must!
  3. Alexander was not the first man to be “upright and just” in degenerate times. We can live in such a way as to make sure he was not the last.

About the Author:

Joel graduated from Pepperdine University with a B.A., completing two majors: Art and Religion. He went on to earn the Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. The views expressed on this blog are personal and belong to Joel Solliday unless otherwise stated. They are not, intended to characterize the views of the Lewiston Church of Christ or other organizations to which I may refer.

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