Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Rapidly Changing World.

Today I brought the invocation/blessing at a business luncheon at a local business. It was sponsored by the University of Tennessee Center for Business, Oak Ridge National Laboratories, and attended by numerous business leaders and political leaders from the area. I am use to attending religious meetings and the posturing that goes on with ministers. This was an interesting group with all kind of people with Doctorates in the scientific area. A lot different from the Doctorates at religious meetings and conventions. I sat near a fellow who didn't have much to say and seemed fairly young. He was also sporting an earring and you certainly don't see that at a Baptist preachers meeting. It turns out that this was the guy the whole group was waiting to hear from. He has a PhD in mechanical physics and is heading up the building of the Spatial Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratories. The main thing that I heard him say was that businesses in the scientific community are beginning to get in line to use the source and see what application it has for their business. This brought to mind a statement I read or heard the other day that this is very likely the last year that CRTs will be made, the old picture tube in your TV, the Cathode Ray Tube. You remember the old picture tube that would have a white glowing dot that would stay on the screen after you turned it off. Well, they are gone and we are now in the HDTV flat and plasma screen age.

A couple of years ago I went into a Sam's Club and was in the isle where at the gadgets were. I have to confess, I am a gadget guy, I love all the latest electronic stuff. I overheard a woman ask a clerk about 35mm cameras to which the clerk replied, "we not longer sell 35mm cameras, the only cameras we have are digital."

I got to thinking about how change has come about over the years. I reminded me of a story I read about a plant many years ago in Detroit, MI that made harnesses and reigns for wagons and carriages and within two years the plant was closed and Henry Ford was using the building to build automobiles. The point of the story was that the Harness Works forgot what business they were in, that they were not in the harness business but were in the transportation business.

The church has been impacted by some amazing technology with computers, digital sound equipment, and video projection equipment. I have watched some who refuse to use the technology and some excitingly looking forward to the latest equipment. I recall a minister who had for years used and old manual typewriter to write his sermons. His church finally got a computer system with good technology and word processor and put a work station right next to his desk for him to use. He never turned the computer on but continued to pound on the old manual Underwood while wonderful technology sat right next him. One of the most wonderful things to come along has been Bible software. There are some great programs that technology has provided and now thousands of resource books are as close as a keystroke. Technology is a blessing that has opened up a world of resources. We can look at technology as good or bad, what it comes down to is what we use it for. The internet has opened the door to widespread pornography but also to a wealth of information that has changed lives. An object is neither good or bad, it is what we do with it that has moral and ethical implications. Just a few comments from the side of the road.

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