Change


We live in a culture of rapid change. Computers alone are increasing in speed and complexity at an astounding rate (See "The Next Generation of Moore's Law"). In the past 10 years, the Internet has grown from 400 million to 3.4 billion users (and counting) and over 22 billion internet enabled devices! This is enormous.



In North America alone, the internet is pretty well omnipresent. Our homes, cars and workplaces are all cloud-enabled (and can easily be if not already). In 2009, the cloud was still new as a mainstream concept. At around the time google apps for education was rolling out, I was tasked with staying on the bleeding edge of new technologies that could help classrooms become more effective learning environments. Early adoption of google apps was one such technology. From an IT perspective, adopting google apps eliminated a full 1/4 of my IT responsibilities: troubleshooting email problems. Now google apps is but one of a plethora of could-based computing solutions which are changing and will continue to change the workplace in dramatic ways.  Today, the cloud is inescapable: I imagine due to a combination of fantastic technology and excellent marketing. This is change at it's most rapid form, and each year it accelerates.

Many of us don't know how to deal with this level of change. If like me you were born in the late 70s or early 80s, the change that took place between 1990 and 2010 just kind of happened and you likely went with it. Mobile phones became a staple virtually every home and workplace in North America. However, many older adults I know tell me they just don't understand computers, and some don't really wish to understand them.

This is a problem for a couple of reasons. First, a lot of information is spread using computers. Social media, as crazy as it can be, is a powerful conduit for learning as a community of sorts. Secondly, the millennial and future generations will be and are shaped by their use of technology as a staple part of their day. Well beyond playing games and posting benign things on facebook, technology is one of the primary ways people try to connect in meaningful ways with one another. It's not just having conversations, it's initiating connection which happens over social media. Events are planned using social media, or initial contact is made between friends to hang out. Social media is both a conduit for face to face interactions, as well as it's own form of social gathering. How bizarre.

Despite the fact that it can feel cutting edge, social media has been around for a long time. The beginnings of it's mainstream adoption date back to the 90s in IRC chat rooms, then ICQ messenger, MSN messenger and then this messaging idea was integrated into everything from email clients to phones and it changed, well, everything. Many people decry social media as not true social interaction, but ask any teenager who has been bullied online and you should quickly see that it's as real as it gets. It can't replace spending time with a real person, but it's sure trying. New forms of social media will most likely (In my opinion) shape even the broad economy in the coming years if it hasn't already, and we will need to learn how to deal with these changes.

Another big change is the coming of age of the populous, technologically savvy millennial generation. Check out some of the differences between the millenials, genx and the boomers: http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/millennials/ 

Millennials, among other things, are questioning, dismantling and re-imagining the religion of their traditionalist parents and grandparents in order to rebuild something better.  This is thanks in large part to cohorts of philosophers, pastors and theologians across the world who began the work of dismantling and rebuilding the systems of institutional religion which have dominated the history of European/Western culture. Many millennials in fact don't even bother with formal religion. Reasons may range from having bad experiences with church world, or perhaps church world was not something they grew up with.

In a world of rapid change, not much can be counted on as certain. However, this I am certain of: that Jesus' sacrifice was once for all. We never again need to measure up or rely on our moral performance to get right with God, the universe or however you talk about it. The temple curtain was torn, and we can freely approach God with confidence as one approaches a friend. This will produce the kind of change the world actually needs.

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