IVP - Andy Unedited - Looking Back, Looking Forward

April 27, 2009

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Certainly we are in unprecedented times. Certainly no one has ever faced the dilemmas and problems we face today. Certainly tomorrow is uncharted.

Well, yes. And no.

Do we know precisely what tomorrow holds? No. Should we be imprisoned by the past and kiss innovation goodbye? No. Yet there is much to learn from what has gone before. We can even learn how to fix a broken economy from days gone by.

Given the upheavals of the current economy and its effects on publishing, does the past have much to offer us? What worked five years ago or even a year ago may not work now. We’ve never had digital publishing before. We don’t have anything to compare that to, do we?

Even if that were so, we can’t escape the past. We have no other choice than to publish and see what happens. Then what do we do? We evaluate the results which gives us a “new past” on which to make decisions about the future—whether to publish something similar or not next year. So the past still ends up being one of our best windows into the not yet.

I offer you some of the wisest words on this subject that I know. Winston Churchill with zenlike sagacity says:

“The further backward you can look, the further forward you can see.”

T. S. Eliot offers us a literary perspective:

“Someone said, ‘The dead writers are remote from us because we know so much more than they did.’ Precisely, and they are that which we know.”

Steve Turner sharpens George Santayana with wit:

“History repeats itself.
Has to.
No-one listens.”

Finally, Leszek Kolakowski tells us that the past is about so much more than what we know:

“We must absorb history … to know who we are and how we should act.”

Posted by Andy Le Peau at April 27, 2009 7:30 AM Bookmark and Share


The Bible is inspired by the Spirit of God and written by man. This gives us a look back while we can have spiritual eyes to look ahead. In dwelled by the Holy Spirit enables us to see the mistakes of the past and see God's plan for correcting these mistakes man makes. Forgiveness by God frees us to move on with our focus on where we in Christ are headed. Like Jesus the world is no longer our home we are now children of God destioned to live eternaly in His presence. Jesus is preparing us that place where we will live in peace for ever in unity with all in the family of God. Therefore in faith I put my trust in God not in man or this world. Things pass away but God and His faimly will live on forever. Joe

Comment by: Joe at May 18, 2009 6:33 AM

Ever word of God is trurh, it was wrote for instruction,for knowledge or information

Comment by: Lou at May 26, 2009 11:30 AM

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book cover"Some publishers tell you what to believe. Other publishers tell you what you already believe. But InterVarsity Press helps you believe," says J. I. Packer. Andy Le Peau and Linda Doll describe how this came to be a hallmark of InterVarsity Press in Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength, an anecdotal history spanning the sixty years from the founding of IVP in 1947 to the present day.