Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Times Are a-Changin’

When Bob Dylan released his well-known folk song, “The Times They Are a-Changin’” in 1964, it’s unlikely he imagined how much changin’ the times would be a-doin’.

Recently a friend sent me an e-mail listing some of the major changes that have transpired since 1950. Being born in 1948, I predate them all: Television, penicillin, frozen food, Xerox copiers, contact lenses, Frisbees, birth control pills, credit cards, lasers, ballpoint pens, panty hose, air conditioners, dishwashers, clothes dryers, FM radios, USA Today, CDs and DVDs.

In the 1950’s, no one bought Japanese cars; the World Trade Center had yet to be built for us to marvel at (and later see destroyed); and camera film was still fairly primitive (not even science fiction novels talked about digital photography).

Everyone was mastering the fine points of Monopoly and checkers; a “PlayStation” consisted of a seesaw and swings. Business travel took place on cumbersome propeller airplanes; now video conferencing often makes jet travel unnecessary.

No one aspired to jobs like website designer, cable TV sports commentator, cardio-thoracic surgeon, FedEx delivery person or Wal-Mart greeter, because none of those existed.

If you think all of this is amazing, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Futurist Dr. Richard Swenson notes, “Progress works by differentiation and proliferation, thus giving us more and more of everything, faster and faster.” In other words, mankind witnessed more change in the past century than in all the rest of recorded history combined, and we’ll see more change in the next 20 years than in the past 100. So if you’re thinking, “stop the world I want to get off,” you’re not alone.

That’s one reason I find the Scriptures comforting. In the midst of life in constant flux, Hebrews 13:8 assures us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

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