When we reach landmarks like this, it always makes me think about where the world will be, and where I hope I’ll be in ten more years. In ten years, I’ll be nearly done with my thirties, and I hope I’ll have done a lot with those years.
It’s fun to make predictions about what will happen in the future, so that’s what I’m doing today. For better or worse, here are a few things I think will take place in the church, politics, and culture. Chime in with you predictions for the next decade too.
In the next ten years, many churches will close their doors. Some will hang on for dear life, continuing to resemble relics of a now bygone era of American religion. Many denominations will continue to shrink and even disappear. The Episcopal, Methodist, and Presbyterian USA denominations are my top three “endangered” churches. But something new will take their place. House churches will become accepted as a mainstream alternative to traditional church. The multi-site ministries of today will have grown into multi-city ministries, also known as “denominations” themselves in ten years.
The irony of Americans today is that we think we’re so smart and educated that we won’t be manipulated or tricked again, like all those deluded people who were scammed by last century’s televangelists. But Christianity will continue to be infected with “self-improvement” and “prosperity” Christianity. This will become even more popular as our prosperity and self-worth decreases. Exploiting Jesus will never go out of vogue.
The people who identify themselves as Christians will continue to decline. Twenty years ago, being a “Christian” was necessary to be a respectable member of society. Now that this isn’t the case, people will continue to be winnowed out of the church. That’s not necessarily a bad thing for the church. What I am sure of is that the church will go on, whatever it looks like, because it has Jesus as its head.
Brave New World
The world is a crazy place. I’d like to think that America will last forever, but nothing ever does. I’m 50-50 on the stability of the country over the next ten years. President Jefferson believed each new generation needed its own revolution, whatever that means. If ever there was a time that a revolution was brewing, that time may be now, and history shows we’re overdue. People are becoming more dependant on a government that grows ever larger, while being less and less able to deliver its promises. I may lower the odds of an uprising based on the continued wimpification and apathy of many Americans.
All I know is crap always happens. History will always repeat itself. A tyrant may take power, a natural disaster may strike. The economy could utterly fail. People will make the same mistakes they did before, either deliberately, or because they are ignorant of history. They will hail this mistake as progress. Mark my words.
The Islamic population will be to Europe what the Latino population is to America. Europe will look very different in ten years.
The Future is Now!
People will make grand predictions for new technology of the decade. We’ll be reverse engineering the human brain, curing every disease, we’ll be teleporting instead of driving, and put a computer inside a contact lens, with full Facebook and Twitter capabilities. Although tech in ten years will be beyond what we can imagine today, we still won’t achieve half of what we think we will, and what we do accomplish won’t make our lives any easier.
Something else to fight about
Gay marriage will be settled as an issue, making way for a new debate, perhaps on plural marriages, or even inter-species marriages. Christians will be painted as “hateful” and “bigoted” for claiming that a lifestyle based on love is wrong. After all, many of us said gay marriage shouldn’t be legal, and look how that worked out…
The Simple Life
I think in a lot of ways, young Americans will become so disillusioned with modern life, that they will actually do something about it. We’ll start reaching back to a simpler way of life. We’ll build smaller houses, stop buying so much stuff, stop going so deep into debt, probably out of necessity. We’ll grow more of our own food in our yards. Someone will open a small retail shop with a poor selection and higher prices than Wal-Mart, and people will flock to it. Our sense of “social justice” will be more integrated with the way we actually live and consume.
The Office, season eight will be a sad, sad weekly ritual.
The Social Network
Everything will continue to become a “social” experience…unless of course, people just stop caring. My hope is that social media and blogging will actually evolve to be used for some great good, like connecting people who want to help others, to the real needs of their communities.
I am at the same time optimistic, yet pessimistic about the coming ten years. I know people, and I know they always make trouble for themselves. God doesn’t really need to smite anyone, we’re busy smiting ourselves. Yet I know that God is in control and He lives among us, and humanity always goes on, no matter what trouble we cause for ourselves.
What do you think the next ten years will hold in religion, politics, technology, culture, or entertainment?