Jonalu’s Journal – Jan 2021

Never, ever has there been a year I was more ready to say good-bye to than 2020!

There’s no need to review all that has been wrong about the last year as we welcome 2021.  Still, we have to recognize that these divisions into years are human created and somewhat arbitrary.  Cultural trends continue across datelines without even hesitating.

After all, even though we have a vaccine, the pandemic is not over.  Though we will have a new US President this month, political divisiveness has not died down.  Racism remains rampant, with increases in hate crimes and even murders.  Authoritarianism remains a growing concern.  And, it’s not just in the US.  The trends are global.  2020 is coming to an end, but the challenges are not.

I recently read an article ( dated January 2, 2020, nearly a year ago, by David Baker, an expert in Big History, a multi-disciplinary approach that examines the largest patterns in history, from the Big Bang to future trends.  Baker contends that the 2020’s will likely be a time of decline, instability and violence.  He foresaw a slow downward trend, unless a trigger event–which he saw only a low or moderate chance of–kicked off a more concentrated period of violence.  Could a pandemic be a trigger event?  Oh, yeah.

Any chance for avoiding these dread prospects?  The only chance Baker saw was through technological breakthrough.  “[I]nnovation,” he writes, “remains our best hope, and the sooner it happens the better.”

So that’s where this month’s theme of imagination comes in.  Already, we have seen wild, almost unimaginable, innovation with the incredibly rapid development of a vaccine.

That’s not enough, though, because the pandemic hasn’t created all our problems.  Many of them it has simply unearthed.  The administration coming in may be equipped, because of its diversity, to yield imaginative solutions.  And who knows what computer science and technology may be able to come up?

The fix isn’t all technological or governmental, though.  What innovations in thinking will it take to help us realize that race and religion have too long divided us?  What new worldviews are required to address climate change?  If we are to do more than simply survive, how will we do it?

I wish I had the answers, but this year, more than any other, I have more questions than answers.

See you on Zoom,   Jonalu

Contact Rev Jonalu Johnstone at

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