I may be in the minority on this. I may be wrong – way wrong. I’m open to those possibilities. But you have to concede some level in truth in what I’m about to pose.
A great deal of life/society/politics/theology/culture/etc. is predictable. “But, but…what about Trump?” “But what about technological advances?” “But what about theological thoughts?” “But what about changes in society and culture?”
Predictable. All of it.
Let me be clear though. I’m not arguing that we know exactly what is going to happen and when or by who. I’m not arguing for a future that is set in stone and every detail is planned out. That’s something different.
Maybe a definition would be helpful. Here’s one I like – predictable is behaving or occurring in a way that is expected.
A good bit of life is predictable. Since tomorrow is Tuesday, I’m willing to say that you’ll most likely do your regular Tuesday routine. I’m not predicting every moment of the day, just the general nature of what will happen for you. It’s really not a radical concept.
Let’s take on a few more of the predictable things that someone might list. Trump – very predictable. He’s going to say or do something that will be controversial and draw attention to himself in the end of next week if not before. I don’t have any idea what it is and it really doesn’t matter what it is. But I’m willing to bet he’ll do it – he’s predictable.
How about economics. There’s going to be some ups and some downs. There will be people who time the market wrong and lose a lot. There are people who know the right people and will do well.
How about religion. There will be a continuing focus from many people about the decline in organized religion while missing the stories from congregations and missions that showcase how God is alive and active in the world.
How about culture. New pop stars will emerge, others will disappear. Stars will be embroiled in bad relationships. Fashion will change each year.
These aren’t wild predictions – they are more like observations on life. They are things that are to be expected based on past experience.
Being predictable isn’t a good or bad thing. It just is. It’s what we do with it that matters. predictability allows us to get a sense of what is coming so we can prepare for it. It allows to respond, not react. That’s a good thing. Reacting is usually not that great.
How do you see things as predictable? Remove yourself from the outcome. Look at the situation as an outsider would – someone who is a disinterested party who doesn’t care what the outcome is. Then look at the situation – what’s happened up to this point, what direction are things going, who’s involved, what’s the leadership like, what’s the culture and environment like, etc. When you look at those things, you start to see patterns and those patterns become predictable.
I challenge you today to try this. Try it with a subject you really don’t care about. Then get dangerous and try it with something you really do care about deeply. I’m willing to predict that you’ll be surprised by this practice. It will open your eyes to this subject in a way you haven’t seen before. And it will allow you to go deeper in that subject, to consider alternatives than what you thought, and to be open to new options and people.