Jim the Visioneer

My friend Jim just died at 92. On Tuesday afternoon his eyes glimmered a little behind the thickening curtain of death. On Wednesday morning he left.

The ultimate geek, when Jim’s teenage daughter was sick in bed, he attempted to cheer her up with the gift of a slide rule…and free lessons. He was proud of his missile innovations that saved the U.S. military millions of dollars per year.

When Jim was a boy, there were hitching posts along Main Street. When I visited him and his unwelcome guest, cancer, he was tinkering on his iPad. Jim was ahead of the game his whole life. A visioneer, he looked at the same facts as everyone else, and he told people what was coming next.

In the early 1940s, he was teaching physics at his alma mater, Midland College, in Nebraska. He smiled as he told me about his prediction to his class. Based on the evidence available, he had shared his expectation that scientists would soon create an unbelievably powerful bomb. By unleashing power at the subatomic level, scientists would change the future of warfare. Students doubted until August 6, 1945, when the United States dropped an atomic bomb to conclude World War II.

Jim fast-forwarded to 1957. While addressing the local Chamber of Commerce, he made an outlandish prediction. Humans would soon break the bonds of Earth and explore outer space. The pragmatic businessmen chuckled and shrugged him off. Beginning on October 4, they began to stop Jim on the sidewalk and ask him more about his earlier talk. The Soviet Union had just launched Sputnik.

Jim always looked at the facts, then looked ahead. He sat in his easy chair and asked me to handle his funeral.

Jim the hard-nosed physicist had looked at the facts of physics and the claims of the Bible. He took the Bible as God’s Word.

He looked forward to unending life in heaven. He eagerly anticipated seeing Jesus and his dearly loved wife. Given Jim’s track record as a visioneer, I’m following Jim’s lead.

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About Ben Unseth

Executive Director at Project Understanding (2014-2017), social service agency in Ventura, CA
This entry was posted in Hypertext: words that point up and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Jim the Visioneer

  1. Susan S. says:

    Pastor Ben,

    I am sorry for your loss of such an interesting and wonderful Christian. It appears he was practical about the hard sciences and his faith simultaneously. I appreciate how clear he was about both. One does not need to undermine the other if we keep God at the center.

    Prayers to all who knew this man,
    Susan Sumner

  2. Pingback: Gleanings from the Lutheran blogosphere « Dim Lamp/קנה רצוץ לא ישבור

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