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Y2K - Was it worth it? Part 1

  • Mary Naber
  • 2000 1 Jan
  • COMMENTS
Y2K - Was it worth it? Part 1
Most of my Christian friends sailed through the holidays with no interference by the infamous "bug", unless the word "flu" prefaced the warning.

They took to the December 31, 1999 evening festivities with great enthusiasm: some tootled about San Francisco in a rented cable car, while others enjoyed praise and worship parties in Los Angeles and Portland. Only a few girlfriends were concerned enough to wear sneakers with their evening gowns-in case they had to run.

Within a few hours, we had all arrived. 010100. That new morning, you surely read or heard a great deal of coverage from the night before. The lead story was the fact that there was no story -- at least relating to Y2K Computer Bug Apocalypse, nuclear missile meltdown, or loss of Internet access.

Sure, a few tiny glitches did occur, affirming many opinions that the $300-600 billion spent worldwide to alleviate the problem was worthwhile. Another camp argued that the US might have bypassed such extensive measures (and costs of between $100-150 billion), since those countries most unprepared for Y2K -- China, India, and Russia -- sailed through the moment of mystery with minimal problems.

The end conclusion is that there is no conclusion. Besides, we are all tired of hearing about Y2K. We would rather move on with our lives.

Yet as people seeking after Truth, we must not miss this magnificent opportunity to reflect and learn from our past -- to avoid repeating mistakes and to identify successful strategies for the future.

The Bad News
Many Christians might argue that nothing negative came as a result of Y2K. However in late 1998, the Y2K Crisis had been presented to the evangelical world as a major world crisis. Instead of merely preaching preparation (for any type of unexpected event), authors under Christian publishers provoked paranoia-twisting facts and stories, while using such inciting words and phrases as, "catastrophic," "the rapture of the church," and "a time bomb that will explode like a nuclear holocaust."

Worse, these authors began appearing on well-respected evangelical radio and television shows, giving credence to their books and spreading the paranoia in the Christian community further. Mainstream publications described our spiritual witness to the world:
  • Time Magazine's January 18 cover highlighted a caricature of Jesus holding a cross while wearing a sandwich board sign reading, "The End of the World!!?! Y2K Insanity!" The article went on to note: "In pulpits and on videotapes, on Christian radio stations and Internet sites, there are dedicated prophets of doom."

  • A front-page article for The Wall Street Journal in January 21, 1999 pointed out that many Christians were "prophesying blackouts, martial law, even apocalypse." One individual noted that, "Christian Y2K experts rely too heavily on unidentified sources, old data and hyped anecdotes."
The negative effects of the Y2K scare in the Christian community were twofold. First, many of our brothers and sisters dealt with great anxiety and emotional duress. Some made poor financial decisions, while others went so far as to consider suicide.

Second, we hindered the advancement of the kingdom of God. When we are accused of being weak-minded people, led to follow sloppy, inaccurate journalism, we hurt the credibility of the Bible and our reputation as a people of faith with the capacity to discern fact from fiction.

The Good News
Fortunately, God is faithful to bring light into darkness, and to bring "good" out of any situation.
  1. In the second half of 1999, many Christian evangelical leaders initially involved in the Y2K scare began to rescind their earlier warnings, admitting that the situation did not look quite as bleak.

  2. The stir caused many more resources to be devoted to Y2K. The necessity of such a response, as noted above, will remain debatable. Either way, we made it.

  3. Many Christians were motivated to pray. We have no way of knowing whether some problems were specifically alleviated because God heard the requests of
    His people.

  4. Some of you can now experience the joy of giving food to charity! If you look up your local soup kitchen in the phone book and drive your extra supplies over, make the trip even more worthwhile by asking when you can come help serve.

  5. If you were glued to CNN or ABC television on Friday the 31st, eager to be the first to run for cover in a nuclear meltdown, you likely shared in the collective sense of victory and joy as different civilizations commemorated the advent of 2000.
On January 1, 2000, the world watched such events as 2000 doves released in Bethlehem, 2000 strobe lights at the Ancient Parthenon in Athens, and 2000 children carrying candles at the Egyptian Pyramids at Giza. All over the world, people celebrated a date based on the birth of Christ while acknowledging (whether they realized it or not) His presence in the world. Our calling to share His truth -- most importantly to live His truth -- is even more pertinent today.

Check back next Tuesday, January 18, for Part 2 of our series on Y2K.

Click here to read other articles by Mary, or read Money Channel articles on the 20th Century, Crosswalk.com Millennium Series.