Dear Seers-Through-A-Glass-Darkly:

Crystal-ball-gazing is on the increase! Seers of the future like the phenomenal Jeanne Dixon, the unpredictable Criswell, the astrological Carroll Righter, and numerous roadside gypsies are flourishing. But for my money none of these can hold a bell, book, or candle to the Rev. Richard P. Buchman when it comes to foretelling the future. Check some of his “Fearless Forecasts” for 1967, published in The Messenger of Brooklyn’s Cadman Memorial Church (Congregational):

1. Early in the year “a justly unknown theologian from the Marksman School of Theology (‘We Aim to Please’) will discover that God is a red-and-white petunia. The New York Times, titillated, will interview Reinhold Niebuhr, Norman Vincent Peale, and an ecstatic PR man from Burpee’s, who will agree that God does sometimes show himself to men in funny ways. Before the end of the month twenty-nine Ph.D.’s will react in print to the discovery, thereby stoking up the theological discussion groups for another year.”

2. “On Race Relations Sunday, 33,148 ministers will say: ‘Eleven o’clock on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of the week,’ believing as they say it that no one has ever said it before, and further that by saying it they will be effecting major changes in the attitudes of their listeners.”

3. “At the Annual Pow-wow of the Consultation on Church Union, a spokesman will declare at noon on Monday that ‘the obstacles we face are insuperable.’ At two o’clock he will report breathlessly that the Holy Spirit has overcome all the obstacles. At three, he will predict that Church Union is twenty years away—ten at the very least. At four, he will announce that everything is ready for referral to the churches. At five, in lieu ...

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