20 Bold & Politically Incorrect Forecasts for the Roaring 2020s (& 30s and 40s)

This is response to my father’s blog, “The Roaring 20s 2.0: Thoughts….”

  1. People are living more and more of their lives in the digital realm. Now, my inner old soul/hiker wants badly to lament this trend, but instead, I must submit, why not embrace it and use it to spread God’s kingdom? If you know me personally, I probably shared with you some stories about how…
  1. Technology is making the Good News accessible in some of the hardest and darkest places on the earth. This next one isn’t enjoyable for me to say, but…
  1. Christianity is going to continue to decline in the West, at least for the next 10 years. Church attendance will continue to drop. Face it, friends. America is secularizing as a whole, and although Christianity will always have a presence, it is a decreasing one in the foreseeable future.
  1. A lot more churches will close, and people will become more and more concentrated in fewer and fewer but larger churches. I’m really not sure how I feel about this make a church trend, and I would really like to see a budding house church movement. Our gospel will never change, but some of our frameworks and structures are going to have to adapt if Christianity is not going to fade into history like Radio Shack and Blockbuster Video stores.
  1. There’s going to be the rise of online churches that people are digitally a part of, but it will never totally replace the need for face-to-face contact, which I think will be at more of a premium than ever this coming decade. This lowering in numbers, however, might have a purifying effect, and we might see more robust and biblically authentic expressions of Christianity appear in America. That’s a silver lining. It will certainly take prayer. Again, I know it sounds gloom-and-doom, but the simple fact is….
  1. America is going the way of Europe, although I don’t think will ever be quite as liberal as Scandinavia. Even 10 years ago, a German friend told me that very few people get married anymore in his country. It’s seen as old-fashioned and largely something for religious people. I don’t quite think America is going to follow this trend 100%, though not because of our values but because of the massive American matrimony-industrial complex. Thank social media for helping keep that one alive!
  1. That being said, there’s definitely going to be a downward trend in the willingness of young secular couples to get married.
  1. On the other hand (time for some good news!), Christianity is spreading like wildfire in the global south (also called the majority world). I’m talking about Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. These areas have been traditionally the least friendly areas to Christianity in the world, but now they are seeing the fastest church growth. The quickest growing church in the world for years has been in Iran. Their increasingly secular and discontented young population has been seeing increasing indigenous and organic disciple making movements over the past few years. Many people are finding Christ abroad as they stray from the narrow fundamentalism of their parents’ generation in nations like Syria, India, and Nepal.
  2. The average Christian in the world is no longer white-skinned. In another generation or so, Christians in the West will be somewhat of a minority, and there will be more Christians in China than in America.
  1. As more and more of life becomes necessarily digital, there’s going to be more and more “unplug” movements. Christians are going to talk about media fasts more and more. 
  1. New parents, as my sister and brother-in-law will be later this year, are going to wrestle with how much of their child to document online while searching for ways out of the increasingly demanding (and exposing) social media rigmarole.
  1. I think the home office will only increase in importance from now. Telecommuting will become more of a thing until people stop feeling the need to justify it by calling it “telecommuting.”
  1. Yesterday’s corporate office will decrease in importance as communal shared spaces of work will increase and be rented out by more and smaller firms. I used to laugh at my roommates who would go to a coffee shop for half a day to get work done until I saw that there are studies that scientifically document that people are more productive in the presence of other people who are being productive.
  1. Flying cars? Nah. Not cost-efficient.
  1. Robot maids like the Jetsons? I can’t say for America, but I know in the Middle East, the answer is clear. Why would someone pay for a robot maid when they can hire (rent?) a human from the Philippines or Ethiopia for a fraction of the cost? I say that with a heavy heart.… Listen, America has plenty of issues that need to be dealt with, but we do deserve some credit that we have a culture of believing every person is a person. Where I live, the world is overtly and unapologetically stratified.
  1. Cash is becoming more and more an intangible thing. It frightens me, to be honest. We haven’t seen the last of cryptocurrency, either.
  1. I don’t think there’s going to be a prohibition against marijuana. To the contrary, it’s probably only going to increase in legality as more and more states follow Colorado’s lead. I don’t really have either remorse nor excitement about this; there are a lot more harmful substances people could be putting in there bodies, and scientifically speaking, alcohol abuse is a lot harder on the body than pot. I’d rather not find out for myself, though.
  1. Automobile ownership is here to stay. Indeed, there’s less pressure for young people to buy cars these days, but this is America, folks. Mass transit will improve in urban centers but continue to lag in rural areas.
  1. Average life expectancy is going to continue to rise along with many retirement homes. As of this writing, my grandmother is in an assisted living facility in Villa Rica as she suffers from dementia. We’re going to see a lot more of such facilities being established in the coming decades as America’s population skews older and medical care continues to improve in its efficacy.
  1. I think we will definitely see a huge resurgence of the small-ball economy. Let me explain how the information revolution is ripe with options for multiple streams of income. It will not be at all unusual for a young person to have a shift at a restaurant in the morning, do freelance graphic design in the afternoon, schedule meetings as someone’s virtual assistant in the evening, and then drive for Uber or Lyft with late night runs to and from the airport. Do you think I’m exaggerating? Entire industries have been upended. Let’s look at two simple examples: taxis and hotels. Would you believe that I even used Uber in Kenya? Perhaps my life flashes before your eyes as you picture me at the mercy of an African driver, but it was quite the opposite. The industrious man was quite content with his long hours, was quite experienced, and was deeply concerned about getting a positive rating from me. I’ll share another story from earlier this summer. Two friends from the House of Prayer and I were carpooling to Texas to go to a friend’s wedding. Rather than try to leave at 4 AM and make the drive in one day, I suggested we split it up and stay the night en route. On Airbnb, I found a spot right along our route in Nowheresville (just kidding), Mississippi. We were able to rent an entire house for for a night 78 bucks, all fees included. The hostess, eager to please, had even left out some cheese crackers, gummies, and a few other snacks for us.

Enjoy the new decade!

Of course, don’t miss my new book, available on Amazon this month!

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