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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Looking Back – Looking Forward

If you could have one, which would you choose: A glimpse of the future or a journey into the past?  Why?  (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, p.116).

The first “looking back” thought that comes to mind is moments with my own family.  I would like to relive memorable family scenes growing up or like in Our Town  return to when my daddy and mama first met.  I can imagine that I sure would be hoping that their romance would develop favorably so that I could have a future.  I think of how others would address this question.  Surely people in prison with serious time would like to return to the day when they transgressed the law and would much prefer staying within the law by doing something else that day and hour.  If I step outside my immediate family and time, looking back I would like to be an average citizen in Galilee when Jesus began his ministry there.  Would I have seen him in a positive light?  Would I have found him special?  Would I have been a follower or a detractor?  Even though I am a Christian, I don’t think the answers to these questions are obvious.

As far as visiting the future, I would like to jump 200 years ahead, then 2000 years ahead.  In two hundred years, I would like to visit the town I live in now, Saint Petersburg, FL.  I would be very interested in seeing how the challenges of an exhaustible energy supply were met.  I will assume that technology in all fields continues apace and would like to see if cancer and obesity, for example, are continuing afflictions.  Finally I would like to jump 2000 years ahead.  I especially would like to see how governments have developed.  Was in fact democracy the wave of the future?  Are bills of rights now a common feature of all government(s)?  How does the persistence of human nature impact life at the time?  Of course, I would like to see how 21st century America fares in the evaluation of history?  Looking way back, is it seen as a golden age of human relations or a primitive example of things to come?  Is it even memorable; or, a more troubling thought, is it an example of what not to do?  What common things that we take for granted as doable may be illegal then— and vice-versa?  Finally would I even want to continue living under the conditions of the time or would I be wildly nostalgic for good ol’ Saint Petersburg in 2012?  Sometimes I must admit that I take after Pangloss, the optimistic tutor in Voltaire's Candide, singing “This is the best of all possible worlds.”

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