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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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April 1, 2008

40 years from now

From Chicago Tribune writer Mary Schmich’s Sunday column: The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning invited students to come up with projects envisioning Chicago in 2040. The project was designed to get young people to imagine the city they’d like to live in because “imagining is the first step of creation.”

Moriah Martinez, 17, and Vinca Merriman, 18, from Whitney Young High School in Chicago, thought about the “L” and how it binds the city’s far-flung parts. They took a camera into the tunnels to collect train riders’ views. One rider told them gay marriage will be legal. Another predicted the disabled would be more accepted. Technology, warned one, would keep making life faster but not necessarily better. Several people “declined to be interviewed on the grounds that by 2040 they’d be dead.”

Martinez’s predictions? "Sewage will be used as household fuel. Tourists will explore space. There will be more mixed-race couples. China will be the planet’s superpower, and that will be OK." Merriman is sad because she thinks bookstores will be gone: “Everybody will shop online.” Both like changes but worry about the implications of gentrification, the displacement of the poor. Chicago’s challenge in 2040, they said, will be “bringing its disparate peoples together.”

This column made me wonder—how do people envision the Lutheran church, the ELCA, in 40 years? After all, “imagining is the first step of creation.”

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