Everyone says, Don’t make predictions, so I couldn’t resist. Of course, America has missed any real chance to celebrate the coming of the new millennium in a significant way as other people are doing around the world. We’ve been too busy worrying about Y2K, stocking up on cans of Spam, or booking ourselves into expensive Las Vegas parties awash with celebrities.
In England, every community received a grant to improve or create something new in their public common space to mark the millennium. We didn’t do anything like that in America.
We could have done so much more. The nation could have used the historic occasion to candidly acknowledge the deep injustices that attended the founding and formation of our country—Native American displacement and genocide, slavery, racial and gender discrimination, and labor exploitation—then gratefully celebrate progress made in civil rights and women’s enfranchisement and commit ourselves to fulfilling the promise of our democracy. We could have celebrated the richness of American literary, musical, and artistic expression by teaching young people to value books and culture over mindless materialism. Churches could have marked the 2000th birthday of Jesus by asking their members to examine seriously how his teachings might really be applied to our lives and society. Another missed American opportunity. Well, let’s at least make some predictions:
1. Faith in the new millennium will be defined much more by action than by doctrine.
2. At the same time, religious fundamentalism will continue to rise in the face of moral decline.
3. Bible study will continue to grow in popularity among a wide variety of people.
4. Prayer will be even more important than it is now.
5. The Religious Right will pass from the scene.
6. The secular Left will give up its hostility to religion and spirituality or die.
7. The Spice Girls won’t be remembered, and Martin Luther King Jr. will.