Setting up for a PayPal account for the church I had to enter the date of our founding, September 1693. I hit submit and ... ta-dah ... error message! "Please enter a valid date." But September 21, 1693 is a valid date, and what is more it is the date our parish was founded, by the Ministries Act of the Colony of New York. Not according to PayPal it isn't. And that from a company that has a capital letter in the middle of their name. So I call the company. After an extended period on hold they tell me just to put any date in that field.
There is a deeper problem here I think. We as a culture have distorted our identities. We have pushed individuality to the extreme and one of the consequences is that we are alienated from our roots. I suspect that this deracination has spiritual consequences: we lose depth and awareness of who we are. Another problem with this is that we have become unjustifiably arrogant about what the past has to offer us. Yes, they did not have cars, cellphones or twitter accounts. But, the deep problems of belonging, love, meaning, purpose, powerlessness and possibility were all subjects of their reflection. The past has much to teach us about our origins, but also much to convey to us in the way of life's struggles.
I put 1940 in the blank, the decade we received tax free status. But in my heart I am connected to 1693 AD, 33 AD and even way into the time before the Common Era.