Futureville by Skye Jethani
In his latest book, Futureville, author Skye Jethani argues that the way we envision the future deeply affects how we live in the present. Our lives are guided by our eschatology – the way we view the end of things and the (if there will be one) new beginning. Using the 1939 World’s Fair as the controlling metaphor, Jethani guides the reader through several different ways of viewing the future, and how those visions of the future (eschatologies) direct and shape our lives in the present.
There are, he argues, three general ways we envision the future coming about. He calls them Evolution, Evacuation, and Resurrection. Evolution is the belief in the inevitability of human progress to create an ever-improving world. This view, popular in the 19th and 20th centuries, is girded by the innovation of science and the capacity of human reason. It is championed by “Change the World” propaganda. In many ways, the Church has embraced the Evolution view in its many “crusades” and willingness to influence political power for Christian ends. The trouble with this worldview, however, is that it turns our culture into a battlefield. “With more power, we tell ourselves, we can muscle our agenda into existence and force others to submit to our vision of the future.” (58)
Evacuation is the belief that the whole world is going to be destroyed, and it’s the Christian’s job to get as many people into the escape pods of salvation as possible before the fire reigns down from heaven. Evacuation is about escape. “Central to evacuation is the belief that believers will be entirely spared from the pain and suffering awaiting the rest of humanity.” (64) In this view, Christians evangelize out of safe pockets of purity, where everything they consume carries a “Christian” label. This inevitably leads to a culture of disengagement and self-centeredness, where everything becomes about the safety and purity of the isolated community of faith.
The third worldview, and the right one according to Jethani, is Resurrection. “The resurrection power of Christ will transform us and the broken world we occupy into Futureville.” (86) All things, in this view, will be made new. Nothing will lie outside of the power of God to resurrect and transform his creation. This means that all human work, what Jethani calls vocation, will find its redemption and fullness in God’s transforming power of resurrection. The world of the future will be shaped not by the ingenuity of humanity nor by the fires of heaven, but by the resurrection power of God first displayed in his son, Jesus Christ.
The implications of Resurrection are many, including what it means for us today. But I don’t want to give the whole book away. This is an excellent resource for those who are interested in living faithfully in the here and now, and especially for those who are seeking God’s will for their life. I’m looking at you, college students!
BookLook Bloggers® provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.