Future Shock or Future Shape: Looking ahead by looking back

To meet invention with invention. We need neither blind acceptance or blind resistance, but an array of creative strategies for shaping, deflecting, accelerating, or decelerating change, selectively. All this implies still further change, to be sure, but of a type designed from the outset to harness the acceleration thrust, to steer it, pace it.

For your consideration. I offer some thoughts on our future and where we go from here, knowing, as we do, to some extent, what the future will bring to Stamford.

  1. Churches in transitional communities must be characterized by sensitivity to their own situations, awareness of community problems, and in pursuit of creative coping with new needs, cultural and economic change.
  2. The heterogeneous character of our city offers the greatest challenge to the Pauling affirmation that in Christ there is no east or west, nor Jew nor Greek, nor rich or poor. All are one in Christ.
  3. We cannot expect the church to solve all urban problems, but we can expect that our church and its fellow churches in Stamford can strengthen the life of our community even more in the future.
  4. We should work and plan to insure a significant and continuing Christian presence and witness in Stamford and through its presence contribute to the development and maintenance of a healthy community.
  5. Under the heading “direct coping” we can begin the battle to prevent future shock at a personal level. For example, we can introvert periodically to examine our own bodily and psychological reactions to change, briefly tuning out the external environment to evaluate our inner spiritual environment. Whether it’s on isolated mountainside in Massachusetts where I prepared these remarks last week, or “inner space” research for enhanced spiritual awareness.
  6. As a church we can remember to build in “stability zones” for our members through our programs and associations. People have many stab1l1ty zones in their lives—certain enduring relationships that are carefully maintained despite all kinds of other changes. These stability zones do change, but at a comfortable rate. The challenge here is not to suppress change, but to manage it. Ultimately, to manage change we must anticipate it. Of course, in these days of fantastic changes this can be extremely difficult. As a nation, for example, who could have predicted even as recently as a week ago, that there was a Ford in our future? The real issue in attempting to cope with rapid change is how to maintain a position within the adaptive range, and beyond that, how to find the exact point of existence at peak effectiveness. Some people achieve a certain sense of serenity, even in the midst of turmoil, not because they are immune to emotion, but because they have found ways to get just the right amount of change in their lives. The search for that optimum may be what much of the pursuit of happiness is all about.
  7. The church stands in a unique position to create an environment in which change enlivens and enriches the individual, but does ‘not overwhelm him. It’s time we considered how to fashion future shock absorbers into our church program fabric. In many cases, I believe we have already begun doing so, but perhaps we will be more effective if we have these concepts in mind.

For example, we can provide the catalyst for temporary organizations (“situational groups”), for people passing through similar life situations at the same time. From day care centers to bell ringers, YPF to singles savoir faire — for anyone facing an important life change. Membership in these groups would long enough to help them with transitional difficulties. By bringing together people who are sharing a common adaptive experience, we help equip them to cope with it. There is nothing new about situational groups. But I suggest we take a leadership role in systematically honeycombing our church community and the community.at large with such Christian “coping classrooms.”

  1. Because the rush of change can at any time overtake any one of us and bounce us off a hard wall of frustration, there is a need I feel for counseling help provided to assist our fellow men and women through present day life transitions. These counselors do not necessarily need a professional, but assistance should be prompt. An “expert” here means someone sympathetic and understanding who has gone through a similar transition. We should deputize these non-professionals to assist others through life crises which they themselves have experienced.

Commenting momentarily on thoughts outside the church proper to take in the changes expected within Stamford’s downtown, it would be interesting and perhaps fruitful if a small group of leaders from our church met with leaders of the other downtown churches in Stamford to discuss these massive changes. Perhaps consideration should be given to the advantages of an association of downtown churches to develop joint solutions and programs to the challenges of our downtown church ministry.

As plans progress towards the development of the downtown mall, perhaps consideration should be given to the advantages of a “mall ministry” within it for our young people. Patterned after the hospitals “candy stripers” but updated accordingly, such a program would offer a number of very positive features to both the churches involved, and the owners of stores in the mall. As malls throughout the country become the de facto center of things in a community, this would be another way we make the future work towards our goals of Christian involvement instead of overwhelming us with change unexpected.

I am not qualified to preach at you, I am one of you, a Christian layman and a member. However, I appreciate the opportunity of sharing with you some of my views on the future, what it will bring to us here in Stamford, and most importantly, how we can use it to insure the continued growth and improvement of our Church. The biggest challenge in the history of this church is being brought literally to our doorstep. A world of challenge to enlightened Christian involvement is taking shape within feet of us here.

I have tried to point out the now accepted concept of future shock.  Most importantly, I wanted to challenge your thinking in the hopes that instead of falling victim to massive change, rather use our knowledge to shape our future to our best realizations.  We have a choice–Future Shock or Future Shape.

© Copyright 2018 BelleAire Press

Other works by Dr. Connors…

Baited Trap, the Ambush of Mission 1890

Now Available As E-Pub

Baited Trap, The Ambush of Mission 1890 is the story of helicopter rescue Mission 1890, one of the most heroic—and costly—air rescues of the Korean War. This harrowing Air Force-Navy mission is explained in compelling detail, creating a detailed personal account of what five incredibly brave and determined Air Force and Navy airmen achieved on June 25, 1952 in the infamous “Iron Triangle.”

The Korean War’s Greatest Love Story

Baited Trap is much more than a heroic war story from the “forgotten war.” It is also the Korean War’s greatest love story, following Wayne and Della Lear, Bobby Holloway, Ron Eaton and Dolly Sharp, and Frankie and Archie Connors as they tried to put their lives and families together even as the Korean War was reaching out to engulf them.

Truckbusters From Dogpatch: the Combat Diary of the 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing in the Korean War, 1950-1953

Truckbusters from Dogpatch is the most comprehensive Korean War unit history yet prepared–over 700 pages summarizing squadron histories and first person accounts—and includes over 1,000 never before published photographs and images, highlighted by the 8 ½ x 11-inch format.

Arguably, Truckbusters From Dogpatch is the most authoritative unit history ever prepared on the Korean War. In addition to consulting formerly classified squadron histories filed monthly throughout the conflict, the author was in touch with hundreds of veterans of the 18th—pilots and ground crew—whose personal recollections add vivid detail and emotion to the facts recounted in the official documents.

Recent Log Entries by CAPT Connors…
Carrier Captain’s Night Orders: “Call Me…”

After reading these Night Orders you can better appreciate what training, attention to duty, and vigilance was required by underway watchstanders in those days. What has changed since then that has resulted in the recent tragic collisions between U.S. Navy ships and other vessels?

“We do it all!” (USS Saipan LHA-2 motto)

Saipan CO, CAPT Jack Renard, was not exaggerating when he noted that “without exception, SAIPAN is the most versatile instrument of peace or war on the seas today.” Like its motto pointed out, SAIPAN could do it all.

In Dire Straits of Gibraltar

I had never taken the ship (aircraft carrier F. D. ROOSEVELT) through the Straits before as the OOD. Now I was expected to do so while the rest of the ship—including the Captain—was fast asleep.

U.S. Navy and back to the future Star Power

The reliance today by U.S. Navy afloat units on satellites and highly complex electronics, all of which are vulnerable to compromise or destruction by an enemy, can also leave us highly vulnerable, particularly if our ships and Surface Warfare Officers are not trained in more traditional methods of navigation and seamanship.

Losing satellites could badly compromise or eliminate satellite navigation. Funny, I trusted the star fixes, but the GPS readings that came later, were suspect. As this Log Entry points out, satellites are vulnerable. They can be hacked or “taken out” in a variety of ways.

But with training, a sextant, the right tables and a handful of stars or a noon day sun, the cosmos will tell you where you are on planet Earth.

Soot, as a weapon? Recalling the Mediterranean Cold War in the Sixties

The watch team cheered, we even heard cheering from PriFly aft of our level. The Captain was happy, the bridge watch team was ecstatic. The Russians on our tail? Not so much! Main Control had “gotten into the War,” and I wrote in the ROOSEVELT’s deck log: “Blew tubes at 1430.”

The In-Port Watch on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier in the Sixties

Any questions?”

“Not that I can think of,” I replied, then added the required legal response: “I relieve you Sir.”

The fateful words are spoken. From this point on, anything that happens on this watch will be my responsibility.

“Very well, I stand relieved. Quartermaster, LTJG Connors has the deck,” the now off-watch OOD announced to the Watch Team.

I, in turn, step back out onto the quarterdeck to take a look around to see if there are any boats headed towards the ship.

The air is very cold, but refreshing, in small doses.

The far off boats of Cannes, swing in the breeze.

At this distance, the beautiful city rolls itself like a white wave, far into the hills. On the distant horizon, covers the mountains like a picture post card.

Memories of the Fru Dee Roo

When the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV A-42) was towed toward the oblivion of the scrap yard in 1978, she consisted of some 65,000 tons of obsolete steel and equipment–but she left many more tons of memories with the tens of thousands of Navy men who had served aboard her during her 32 years of commissioned service.

The “Rosy” or “Fru Dee Roo” or “Rusty Bucket” to those of us who alternately cussed her amongst ourselves and who fought for her honor with outsiders, was more than just a ship. She was home for some 4,000 men–a floating “town” some 1,000 feet long with over 500 miles of wiring, 150 television receivers, 111 storerooms where some 81,000 items were kept in readiness, and with 12 oil-fired steam boilers that drove it at speeds up to 32 knots. A bit of a “gas hog,” the ship’s boilers burned some four million gallons of fuel per month on average. This “town” carried over 70 warplanes of many types and could launch them at a rate of two per minute.

We were “the stick” in case the “talk softly” part was not successful.

What The Hell Flag Signal

The day the ROOSEVELT got the What the Hell Flag Signal. As the OOD, you knew you had really screwed things up when an oiler gave you the “What the Hell” Flag Signal.

On this afternoon, as we were making our high speed approach on the oiler, the Captain suddenly announced that he had the conn (was maneuvering the ship himself), then announced that Commander “Neversail” had the conn. I was amazed. I assumed that he wanted the new Navigator to get some experience, but to actually let him maneuver the ship (with the Captain making “recommendations” while standing right beside him), was risky as we were barreling down on the unsuspecting oiler. “Things” didn’t go well, as they say.



About Tracy Connors

Tracy D. Connors graduated from Jacksonville University (AA), University of Florida (BA), the University of Rhode Island (MA), and Capella University (Ph.D. with Distinction, human services management, 2013). Ph.D. (Honorary), Leadership Excellence, Jacksonville University, December, 2013. Designated a "Distinguished Dolphin" by Jacksonville University, Feb. 2, 2010.