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Exponential times.


Cultural observers indicate we are living in exponential times. Cool! So, what does that mean? Well, it depends on who you ask. Talk to a physicist and you'll get a complicated mathematical explanation about algorithms and the time it takes to process growing amounts of information. For me it's just a cultural buzz word meaning that life is fast and complex. There's a really informative YouTube video that expresses and illustrates the exponential nature of things in the world around us. Click here for an informative smack upside the head about these exponential times. Forgive the short ad and skip it if you wish. The clip will take 4+ minutes.

While many of us are wishing for slower, simpler lives in 2019, we also know it is a pipe-dream. Even with our technological advancements we all deal with a relentlessly ticking clock that keeps us in motion. One writer said that not having enough time is the twenty-first century version of "the dog ate my homework", our go-to excuse. One evidence of this manic pace is the constant voice of my generational cohort screaming "I'm busier in retirement than I ever was in my career". Sometimes that may be an ego thing, with work and busyness being among the more valued personal worth markers. Who wants to be labeled a slacker in these times? Especially among the boomer set. Still, the speed and complications of life are real and to expect less of them in the future perhaps misses the mark of human genius and our new definition of progress. Progress, you ask? That means more and faster.

Which brings to mind God's response to the Tower of Babel thing in Genesis 11. So, in that period the nations had one language. In their brilliance they schemed to build a tower reaching into the heavens. Their goal was to build a name for themselves. So, the counsels of heaven came down to see their magnificent structure. Genesis 11 gives us God's response to their human ingenuity---

And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had

built. And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language,

and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do

will now be impossible for them.

Genesis 11: 5-6, ESV

Nothing will be impossible to them. Well, we all know that humans are mortal, frail, and captive to limitations. While their earthen vessels couldn't accomplish the things of God, he was acknowledging their creative genius. These centuries later, even in a world of many language and culture barriers, God's creation continues to excel in imagining and creating new wonders of innovation. And, the current versions are fast and complicated. Too bad all this stuff isn't geared to redemptive purpose or the things of God. But, no doubt they will continue even at greater velocity and complexity.

Go simple here. The Apostle Paul wrote much about personal contentment. In my mind our systems of worth, work, values, ambition, education, family and even church are driven by the desire and quest for more. It is a systemic overlay that fuels everything we do. More to the point, people of faith are sent into this prevailing system with the biblical instruction to provide light in the darkness, to demonstrate the virtues of waiting, being still and knowing, enduring, being patient, trusting God, obeying his commands, and being citizens of heaven even when the traffic is gnarled or moving at the speed of light. This idea of contentment explodes past whether we are rich or poor to the more uncomfortable zones of whether life is fast or slow, simple or complex. Finding a place of meaning and purpose in in the world, however it exists in our charge.

This doesn't translate to being satisfied with a world on the make. Citizens of heaven should never be totally comfortable in this world system. But, it is what it is and our Lord has placed us in it with his magnificent promises, the truth of his word, and his presence no matter the pace or complications of the times. Today, on the second day of this New Year, I am reminded of what Peter wrote more than two thousand years ago---

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through

the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence

2 Peter 1:3, ESV

Underline that...all things that pertain to life and godliness. What a promise. And, that provision is whether life is fast or slow, complex or elementary, easy or hard, winning or losing, exciting or boring, rich or poor. It's going to get faster and more complex. He is the answer no matter how life is challenging us.

Happy New Year.

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