Posted by: adampcunningham | January 21, 2009

Becoming Extinct

I just received an e-mail attachment that contained an article titled, 24 Things About To Become Extinct in America. I decided to read the article out of curiosity.

The list of things about to become extinct was written in descending order. The Yellow Pages was listed as number twenty-four. Now I can understand why the yellow pages are not as readily referred too these days, because perhaps many people simply go to their computer and search for the needed information there.

Number one on the list was The Family Farm. It was noted that since the 1930s, there has been a steady and rapid decline in the number of family farms. I can understand this phenomenon too because housing is replacing many farms. Farming is difficult work and requires a significant outlay of cash each planting season. Crops are subject to the weather doing the growing season, to say nothing of the market at harvest time.

A few other things in the list are of interest and reflect a changing lifestyle. Ponder these: Movie Rental Stores, Dial-up Internet Access, VCRs, and Phone Landlines. The times are changing, as are our interests, needs and desires. The result is a list of 24 items that are becoming extinct, but that list could be a lot longer.

Now, I confess that I was not prepared emotionally to encounter the sixteenth item on the list – Ham Radio. That is my hobby. I received my novice license on May 26, 1958. I just celebrated my 50th anniversary as a licensed Ham Radio operator; and my beloved hobby shows up on a list of things about to become extinct in America.

The article said: Amateur radio operators enjoy personal (and often worldwide) wireless communications with each other and are able to support their communities with emergency and disaster communications if necessary, while increasing their personal knowledge of electronics and radio theory. However, proliferation of the Internet and its popularity among youth has caused the decline of amateur radio. In the past five years alone, the number of people holding active ham radio licenses has dropped by 50,000, even though Morse Code is no longer a requirement. Yes, I know, times are changing.

I wonder about the things that are becoming extinct in the United Methodist Church. What things would you put on such a list?

In the meantime, I will continue to pursue the hobby of ham radio. I will continue to love and adore the United Methodist Church.


  1. That’s a good topic for church boards/adm. councils to consider. We had what turned into a 3 hour board meeting last month on that very issue, asking the hard question; “Where will this church be in 30 years if we keep doing what we’re doing now?” Many of them had to finally acknowledge the truth that they could very well be “extinct.” That all the effort they gave to build a new facility just 30 years ago could be sold because they lost their sense of mission and call to reach out to those who have never been in church. It began dialogue with high school/college youth who have been leaving the church for a more “youthful” congregation over what needs to change. It was a little contentious at times, but we are stronger for having gotten the issues out on the table for serious prayer, discussion, planning and action.

    I believe the Church of Jesus Christ will always be here. I question whether we choose to hoist the sails and be carried by the winds of the Spirit to where God is moving the Church, or if we will simply strike sail, set anchor and slowly rot by the port.

  2. Bishop,

    Do not give up your ham radio license! As a matter of fact, see if you can recruit someone else; no two people to learn how and become owners of ham radios. Even in today’s world in large scale disasters in the US, the ham radio operator becomes our fall-back when all of the cell phones and land lines go out. The ham radio operators provide a service that few people think about – except during a disaster when they need medical attention and the only people who are able to get a signal out are the ham radio folks.

    I should know, I’m the Arkansas Disaster Coordinator/UMCOR Rep and we have had to rely on ham radio within the last week during our ice storms here. Continue to use your ham radio and when others ask you about it tell them you’ve “got skills”!

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