We had a conversation at our staff lunch today about the Beloit College Mindset List. The list started at the college as an aid to help their faculty understand how to better relate to new students, but it has grown since its inception into a helpful snapshot for people everywhere to understand how rapidly our culture is changing.
Here’s a snippet from this year’s list:
The class of 2014 has never found Korean-made cars unusual on the Interstate and five hundred cable channels, of which they will watch a handful, have always been the norm. Since “digital” has always been in the cultural DNA, they’ve never written in cursive and with cell phones to tell them the time, there is no need for a wrist watch. Dirty Harry (who’s that?) is to them a great Hollywood director. The America they have inherited is one of soaring American trade and budget deficits; Russia has presumably never aimed nukes at the United States and China has always posed an economic threat.
It’s a pretty fun read with a list of 75 items, some of which made me feel pretty old at the ripe old age of 31.
Looking to the future to when my oldest daughter will graduate (possibly) in the year 2030, I imagine the world will be very, VERY different. Here are some ideas that I think might make the list in twenty years:
- Will think it’s a bargain to pay $5 per gallon for gas.
- Won’t have a clue what DVDs or CDs are.
- Blockbuster won’t even be a memory for them.
- Apple will be seen as an old, unhip company instead of the elite buzz they have now.
- Will laugh at their parents talking about facebook, since it will be replaced by something newer and better.
- Won’t know how to use a computer mouse, since they’ll grow up with touch-screens like the iPad.
- The daily printed newspaper won’t exist in any form.
- A “home phone” won’t make any sense in their minds.
- They won’t understand having to schedule a time to watch a TV show or movie since they’ll be able to watch whatever they want whenever and wherever they are.
- Going to college will be less popular than taking online classes.
As a church leader, I think it’s good for us to keep an eye on what’s happening in culture around us. I’ve written previously on what churches can learn from the demise of the print industry and I think preachers everywhere should keep their eye on the culture so that they can best present the never-changing message of the Gospel to an ever-changing world. We probably could use an update to the statement attributed to Karl Barth to “Read the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other,” don’t you think?
What do you think the list might include in 20 years? Will my list be accurate at all?
Image by flickr user Matti Mattila