Living in the Future

The Saturday picture shows drew stories of a future
Robots, rocket ships, Mars and mutants
Articles about the lives of leisure we’d enjoy
Warnings of technology gone wrong
Nietzsche wrote of the Übermensch, a superman to save the masses
While John Nelson Darby preached of pre-tribulation rapture
Flying cars and interstellar bars
What oh what did you see?
When you looked into the skies, then closed your eyes
And imagined 2020?

It is here, friends. 2020. Does anyone remember looking into the future at this year, so far away, imagining a world yet to be? Space travel, robots, flying cars, phones where we could see each other? Well, two of those are reality.

Reality is more fully filled with technology most of us couldn’t even dream of. GPS, books on tablets, “phones” that make the devices from “Get Smart” seem laughable. And the internet, and with it, social media. We can keep up with friends we haven’t seen for years, on a daily, mundane basis.

But those technologies are only tools for how we connect with each other. There is no substitute for relationships. For all the doomsayers who predicted we would learn to turn to tech rather than each other, it is precisely those relationships that save us from that tech being used to manipulate us into a worse world.

Our relationships are what will save us. Having face-to-face conversations with people who don’t have the same opinions we do. Talking about the problems we face in the world, getting a multiplicity of ideas, discussing the good and bad points of those ideas, coming up with plans for action – that is what will save us.

At Live Oak, relationships are so important, we put it in our mission: “Enrich connections.” Tech does not make those connections happen, it requires one person reaching out to another and saying, “Come join us for dinner, let’s meet at the movies, can I loan you my power washer?, we’re planning a game night, let’s go to a concert …” Tech doesn’t make the connections happen, but it can facilitate it, when someone sees that someone else is alone or in need. And it allows us the ability to peep into each other’s lives and see the connections happening. (This December, seeing so many members — via Facebook — getting together for holiday events, well, like the Grinch, it made my heart expand several sizes.)

The future is here, and I have so many questions! December is a big month around Live Oak, and as soon as it’s over, we begin planning for the following December. It is challenging for me, today, to do that planning. What will the world be like 11 months from now? What will our country be like? It boggles the mind. I have hopes, I have fears. And I just don’t know.

But I do know this.

Live Oak will be shaping that future, and for the better. Conversation by conversation, relationship by relationship, Live Oak will change lives, and change the world. Flying cars or no, in the end, that will be what saves us.

2020, I welcome you.