By: Dennis Bates
I like to think of myself as a free spirit, and in some ways, I guess I am. My nephews and nieces call me their crazy uncle and probably a lot of other things when I’m not around. I don’t mind the title; in fact, I kind of like it, if the truth be known.
I’ve never wanted to be boring or do things the way other people do them. In some cases that produces interesting results. In other cases it leads to complete disaster, and I’ve learned to accept that. Maybe one piece of fatherly advice I gave both my daughters sums it up best.
I told them, “Don’t make the same mistakes I did. Invent your own; it’s more fun that way.”
Unfortunately, they remind me of that piece of advice constantly and assure me they are both doing their best to comply with it.
But I have to be honest. In a lot of cases, I’m a complete and total fraud. My spirit just isn’t as free as I’d like people to believe it is. In fact, I am often a very predictable creature of habit. I eat the same thing for breakfast almost every morning; I like the furniture where it has always been and I will never understand people who are constantly tinkering with something to make it better when it isn’t broken in the first place.
Are you listening Microsoft? Windows XP worked fine. You should have left it alone.
Some people tell me that resistance to change is a function of age. Maybe it is to some degree, but if it is, then I’ve been old for a long, long time. It isn’t that I don’t like change, really, it’s more like I don’t see the need for it in far too many cases.
I could write a book about the internal and logical inconsistencies of change for change’s sake, and some day I might, if in fact, there still are books in the future. Even the publishing industry is morphing into something new and different. But ask yourself this: Is education in this country really better today with all the technological and pedagogical advancements in how to teach? Hand a youngster a piece a paper and ask him or her to name and define the parts of speech, or give them one minute to do their multiplication tables and see what they produce. Forget long division. You’d have to define it first.
On the other side of the coin, why is it that we now run ads on television suggesting that young people “play” or exercise for an hour each day? What happened to pick up baseball games, the real ones you actually participate in, not the fantasy ones controlled by a computer program. For that matter, what happened to physical education classes. Back in the day we had them, and we had to pass them to graduate, just like we had to pass English.
I know, I’m old.
Before I retired both business and governmental employers adopted the mantra: The only thing that wont’ change is that there will always be change. Change is inevitable.
While I understand that to a certain degree, the philosophy that underlies it at its deepest levels should be a call to arms for all of us who claim to be Christians. The proposition that everything changes takes our eyes off the prize and attempts to refocus them on doing things that are faster, more self indulgent and in the end full of illusion and empty promises.
Am I better off now than I was 40 years ago? I guess that depends on what is important to us. Is my spirit freer now that I can rearrange the technological furniture in my life every time a new phone or computer comes out? Only if those kinds of things really matter. I submit that in the last analysis they don’t.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. That’s what matters. God sent Him into the world so that if we believe in Him we will have a full, abundant and eternal life. That NEVER changes, but it is inevitable. Much more inevitable than change.