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Saturday, November 22, 2008



Hey, Rogier, good topic.

I like Bakas, he's very entertaining to listen to.

Last week I mailed a number of people in my network this question: who from your point of view are the trendwatchers in the (wider) church in the Netherlands who understand the times and can point a way forward? I won't list the names people came up with, but I realized that we don't really have an innovative thinktank in the church, and probably most churches wouldn't be very interested in it either. There's still a huge gap between the petty issues the church is concerned about and the real global and local challenges.

So I don't think there's a market for trendwatching in the church, more chance outside.

The five points you mention, though well worded, are quite obvious. The more interesting question for me would be this: if we see the need for alternative economic systems, what concrete alternatives (or thinking directions) could be offered?


Interesting thoughts! I need to think about these points, expectations / predictions a little longer. Every now and then I visit Faith Popcorn's website -she's a world famous trendwatcher. She has coined the name 'cocooning' and has many interesting insights. Some time ago I've tried to apply some of her thoughts and observations on the Christian sub-culture in the Netherlands - I can try to find that document for you if you are interested, just drop me a line abspoel at gmail dot com and I will send it to you (if I can retrieve it!)
And Faith Popcorn (just google her!) has an interesting name, don't you agree? Combining faith with a sweet kind of consumerism ;-)
BTW I've found your blog because of your comment on Relirel and I am going to add The Journey to my blog lists on (English)and (Dutch). Blessings!


I think your predictions are very hopeful actually. At least I find them hopeful because if these things become reality it will mean alleviation for the poor and oppressed and a radical transformation of faith among many other positive changes. I do not know if you are right but I do hope so.

BTW I like your style of writing, accesible enough but you give enough hints that show that you know a 'little' about 'everything' so maybe there is a career in trendwatching for you :-)

Matt Wilson

Hey Rog, interesting forecasts, if rather optimistic!

I really loved your piece on Downward Mobility - found it the other day on Open Source Theology.



Hi Ro,
I can see you as a trend watcher OK.
In 1 it may well be that you are too optimistic, as you forget the aggressive poverty that may strike the western world, and in 2 the aggressive fight of the few to keep their old standards.
About 3: you may well be right; question: "inspiration from the early church" is that including the persecution of the early church? I am seriuous.
Another question: trends are following out of the recent past; as far as God holds the future and published some of it ahead of time, how do you connect these two?


Gave it some more thought. I think that some of your observations are spot on and they are not predictions but things that are actually happening right now. There is a global power shift going on - West to East - and both the economical and environmental crises will cause us to make some drastic changes. The picture you paint is gloomy, but you are right in seeing new opportunities for the people of faith that need to re-evaluate their own priorities and start living a life that is really challenging and counter cultural. Now many fellow believers seem to have the same goals in life as all other people in our civilization: seeking what is best for their own pleasures.
Is God behind these changes? Well, I believe they come as no surprise to him and he will help us to adapt - if we start listening... Ethical issues may change, but they will not replace the current ones. We will still have (perhaps even more) discussions about medical issues, because the scientists are looking for new frontiers too. New media will help disadvantaged people to raise awareness and speak up the exploitation of the world and its inhabitants. The church will change, because of the growing numerical power of non-Western believers. The gospel will not be stopped, but yes, (@Pieter) persecution is likely to happen.
I see a longing for authenticity and a re-interpretation of the gospel - not just as a message about our personal entry to the Heaven - but as good news for the oppressed, the poor and the needy. Followers of Christ must reach out to the broken people, the lonely ones and the many kids that are growing up without the love and attention that they need.
Just some thoughts. Blessings.

Rob Haster

Hi Roger, for a newborn trendwatcher a lot of words! Takes time to overthink... but I'll try with the first point:
Primarily I rather see the current breakdown as a result of our own (western) greed. If I steal money and face the consequence of going into jail, is that God’s hand in my life? Deeply looking into ethics it will be, but primarily it is a result of my own act. Strangely the crisis started with lending people money which they could not pay back – their credibility was over asked in order to make more production. Was it the system that created this? I more tend to believe it were mere people bound on money. I say strangely because in a certain way we are over asking the poor countries (developmental) several years... but we separated their debt from our financial system. Their debt will not cause our system to fall, they merely fall themselves. We have bound them in a financial slavery, dependent in several ways. But debt within our own richness is indeed a WMD (weapon of mass destruction) as someone stated.

When a nation as a going concern lives and develops the government is responsible to act wisely not to let chaos finds its way. There has to be rest – a time of breathing, followed by a period of over thinking the weaknesses and risks within the current network of society. I say society because one cannot separate the financial system from our society. It is woven all in all. All fields of everything are related to each other. So a government has to act, not to loosen the beast in men. When something affects someone’s wallet, panic is near. In Holland, not the banking system is guaranteed but the deposits the clients have on those banks. When interfering as state into the capitalistic system of free market, of course there are risks. But nót to act is far more risky. Newspapers?? I am convinced that much communication around this item is rather tendentious and up stirring.
What can I say? Not only is the financial system woven into society, it is also worldwide woven in the global tapestry. How things affect on the whole is difficult to predict... even for a newborn trendwatcher! And as Paul stated in his reaction... things arn't only to come, they do happen.

Go on! (I'll consider the other ones)

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