Is there a better way?
We must never stop asking, ‘Is there a better way?’ You can’t pray for progress and at the same time fight change. In 1829, Martin Van Buren, Governor of New York, wrote the following letter to the President: ‘President Jackson, the canal system of this country is being threatened by the spread of railroads. We must preserve the canals for the following reasons: (1) If canal boats are supplanted by railroads, serious unemployment will result. Captains, cooks, repairmen and lock tenders will be left without jobs, not to mention farmers now employed in growing hay for horses (2) Boat builders would suffer, whip and harness makers would be left destitute (3) Canal boats are absolutely essential to the defence of the United States. In the event of the expected trouble with England, the Erie Canal would be the only means by which we could ever move the supplies so vital to waging modern war. As you may well know, Mr. President, railroad carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of 15 mph (24 km/hr) by engines, which, in addition to endangering life and limb, snort their way through the countryside belching out smoke, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children. Surely the Almighty never intended people should travel at such breakneck speed.’ Poor Martin—what would he think if he knew that today we are flying 10,000 metres up in the air at 800 km/hr sipping coffee and typing on a laptop? God is the author of all true progress, so we must never stop asking, ‘Is there a better way?’