Alan Smith in his e-mail, "Thought For The Day," shared some fascinating quotes last week. In 1899, Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the U.S. Office of Patents said, "Everything that can be invented has been invented." In 1943, Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM said, "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." In 1949, Popular Mechanics wrote, "Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall said in 1957, "I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year." An engineer in the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, discussing the microchip, asked, "But, what...is it good for?" Ken Olson, president, chairman, and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation said in 1977, "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."

Obviously, they did not envisioned today's role for computers. Computers start our cars. Computers enable the 911 system to respond to our emergencies. Computers price our purchases in checkout lanes. Computers help the pharmacists fill our prescriptions. Our life histories (from medical records to social security) are preserved by computer. Every facet of life is touched by the work of a computer. I am typing these thoughts on a computer. A computer makes it possible to produce this newsletter, and a computer will help mail it. And, in much less than one life time, such applications will be primitive.

We can be so confident, so definite, so certain about what is and is not needed in our congregation. Each opinion and conviction runs deep and strong. Each varies greatly from Christian to Christian. We see and access needs so differently. Why? Why do members hold such different view points and value systems? Each of us is powerfully influenced by each of these factors: personal background; concept of relationship; good and bad experiences; successes and failures; disappointments and disillusionment; and one's personal definition of faith and conviction.

As I consider my lifetime of teaching, advocating, and position taking, I see that truth in me. In 2050, Christians will discuss the 1990s' view of Christianity and the direction of the church. Someone will quote us personally to verify a point. Will the quote be humorously nearsighted?

Thank you, God, for giving us grace for our sins instead of rewards for our prophecies.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 16 November 1997

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