Can I play with madness? The prophet stared at his crystal ball
Can I play with madness? There’s no vision there at all
- Iron Maiden
You are reading the work of someone who will be a great leader of young people, like the Biblical hero Joshua.
At least that’s what a prophet told me when I was 15 years old.
He was a traveling minister with the gift of prophecy. He was visiting our church, which met in the YWCA in Raleigh, N.C., on Sunday afternoons, the only available time.
When the minister prophesied, God spoke through him with the words of the King James Version of the Bible – he said thou, and shall, and so forth.
I would be a leader of young people, just like the guy who marched around Jericho until the walls came down.
Now I’m 42, and I’m lucky if my children follow me for a few steps.
I’m lucky if my students read a single assignment.
I hate to admit that I secretly clung to that prophecy for years, like it was a good horoscope reading.
I needed what every Harry Potter fan needs -- a sense that my mundane life and daily struggles have greater meaning.
So, I bought into a prediction that lifted me out of the every-day limitations and difficulties.
Human beings – not that we have anything else to compare ourselves to – are lousy prophets, predictors, and prognosticators.
We the people of planet Earth have an annoying need to predict the future. We look for patterns and, based on those patterns, expect certain things to happen.
Presently as well as historically, we look to stars, to lucky jerseys, to tea leaves, to prophets, to animal behavior, to the roll of the dice, to the flip of a coin.
I've known numerous people who have become obsessed with The End Times and the Rapture of the faithful -- who is the Beast of the Biblical book of Revelations? Who is the Anti-Christ?
They never seem to ask, "What if I get gunned down by some nut while I'm standing in line for a cheeseburger?" Because your end might happen before The End.
What’s worse – trying to predict a teenage boy’s future, trying to predict the Rapture, or trying to predict the stock market?
Nothing fails like economic prognostication.
In 1999, James K. Glassman and Kevin A. Hassett published a best-selling book entitled, Dow 36,000: The New Strategy for Profiting from the Coming Rise in the Stock Market.
The Dow Industrial Average never got close. The “dot-com bubble” popped shortly thereafter. As I wrote this, the Dow was hanging around one-third of the 1999 Glassman-Hassett prediction.
Sometimes, we ought to be able to predict certain things, no? The first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 and the attack on the USS Cole in 2000 should have told us something.
"The Former U.S. presidential candidate, John McCain, has predicted no great change in American foreign policy even though the Republican party has lost control of the U.S. Senate,” reported RTE News on May 28, 2001, just months before the terrorists attacked the U.S.
No one knew what was coming. Even if they should have known, no one knew that our foreign policy was about to change radically.
Still, turn on the television any night, and you'll find people forecasting the future of politics, of economic growth, of technological advance, of moral decline.
But now, I feel a movement in my spirit, so I’ll make a prophecy, a prognostication, a prediction.
I predict everything will remain unpredictable.
-Colin Foote Burch