Yesterday I had two separate conversations in which people were musing about how much change is occurring. The WW II generation, of which my mom is a part, went from horse and buggy to automobiles, saw the lessening, or even the end of many diseases, went from widespread use of kerosene lamps and outhouses (in the country, and most folks were rural)) to a totally electrified and plumbed society. The fastest means of communication was a telegraph. The second conversation--gulp--was about MY generation and how much change occurred in the last half of the 20th century. The person said his 13 year old had not seen a vinyl record album until a few days before, couldn't remember a time without cell phones, and on and on.
As for the questions!
1. What modern convenience/invention could you absolutely, positively not live without?
Sadly, there are a lot of modern conveniences that I would be lost without. I can't imagine life without music, so I would be bereft without a CD player of some kind of music player. However, I play the piano and think: hmmm, what if I sat down and made my OWN music more. I don't have a dishwasher (though I would love to have one) so it's not that. And, just in the last year, my computer has become almost indispensable, as I have become connected with more people in a 21st century sort of way.
Another way of looking at the question: how modern? flush toilet, shower and washer and dryer really are indispensable (not just addictive), and my mother can remember not having them, as a girl on the farm.
2. What modern convenience/invention do you wish had never seen the light of day? Why?
I think the cell phone. I actually want one, so it's a little hypocritical, but I also see the downside. One of my pastoral colleagues said a few years back that she refused to get a cell phone because, "there should be some times people CAN'T get ahold of you. You are not the same as God."
3. Do you own a music-playing device older than a CD player? More than one? If so, do you use it (them)?
We still own a turntable, although we never use it. However, our college age stepson uses it, when he comes home. He likes vinyl.
4. Do you find the rapid change in our world exciting, scary, a mix...or something else?
Well, I'm not keeping up. I don't have an ipod, or an iphone, or any or the i things yet. I'm saving up for a laptop and a digital camera. I find it both exciting and scary. I really like how the internet brings us closer: I can't believe the people I had connected with in the last year. I'm also scared by how fast mis-information can spread now, via internet. Faster even than information. And though I am connected with people all over the country on-line, do I lose sight of who is my real community? And is it tempting to invest less in the the people and the communities right here? I don't know the answer, these are questions.
5. What did our forebears have that we have lost and you'd like to regain?
More of a sense of community, and all of the benefits that community brings: support, comfort, encouragement -- and power. It's as we gather together with a vision that we begin to have the power to change the world, our communities, our churches.
Bonus points if you have a suggestion of how to begin that process.
Here's one: call up five people in your community or your congregation and invite them to have coffee or something. Sit down with them for about 40 minutes and listen to their stories -- what makes them tick, where they came from, what they are afraid of, what they dream about. That's the beginning (where can I redeem my points, then?)