Time for a Change

Shrimp Boat January 31, 1821

 To President Jackson:

             The canal system of this country is being threatened by the spread of a new form of transportation known as “railroads.” The federal government must preserve the canals for the following reasons:

             One. If canal boats are supplanted by “railroads,” serious unemployment will result. Captains, cooks, drivers, hostlers, repairmen and lock tenders will be left without means of livelihood, not to mention the numerous farmers now employed in growing hay for the horses.

             Two. Boat builders would suffer and towline, whip and harness makers would be left destitute.

             Three. Canal boats are absolutely essential to the defense of the United States. In the event of the expected trouble with England, the Erie Canal would be the only means by which we could ever move the supplies so vital to waging modern war.

             As you may well know, Mr. President, “railroad” carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of fifteen miles per hour by “engines” which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children. The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel as such breakneck speed.

 Martin Van Buren 

Governor of New York

Change is inevitable. Wire recorders became tape recorders. Tape recorders became CD’s. CD’s became MP3’s and while I’m not sure what the initials will be for the next innovation, but I’m sure it is coming.

So what about church? Small country churches gave way to urban worship centers. “Old Blue” (Christian Hymns #2) gave way to PowerPoint slides. Black boards are now white boards. Filmstrips became video clips and two-hour sermons barely touch twenty-minutes today, but is that so bad? Only when we mistake the packaging for the product does it become a problem.

I was told recently about a little old lady who saw a young man apparently texting in church. She leaned over the pew and told him to be more respectful. “Stop that!” she whispered in her best mommy voice.

The young man blushed and held up his iPhone to show her the screen. “This is my Bible,” he protested.

She threw her nose in the air, “Well!” she quipped, “Get a real Bible!”

The Gospel is unchanging. God loved us so much, He sent His Son to save us. It doesn’t matter whether you write that using a pencil or an iPad, it’s the message we need to be concerned about.

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