The bucket list is a relatively recent concept, being invented by screenwriter Justin Zackham – first with “Justin’s List of Things to Do Before I Kick the Bucket” (1999), and subsequently with the film The Bucket List (2007). But the idea of having goals you want to achieve before you die – well, that has a longer history.
Consider William Wilberforce, for example. In 1787, at the age of about 28, he wrote in his journal that, “God Almighty has set before me two great objects: the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners.” (By “manners” he didn’t mean etiquette, but rather the manner of living practiced by society at large – what we might call lifestyle or culture.)
None of this “I want to do a bungee jump, and skydive, and go snorkelling in a tropical resort” stuff for Wilberforce. No, he cut straight to the big stuff: destroy the unethical underpinnings of the global economy, and reform the whole culture he lived in. And having fixed his sights on those goals, he threw everything he had at them.
God: You can never have too many beetles! There’s just no end to the things you can do with them. Well, no end to the things I can do with them, anyway. Iridescent beetles, golden beetles, beetles with glow-in-the-dark bums….
It always strikes me as strange when people interpret the Bible to say that women shouldn’t hold positions of authority (except possibly over children and other women). Have they not heard about Deborah?
Not me – the much much earlier Deborah. She lived in a very low-government era, when the people of Israel were governed by a) the Law of Moses (which was short and straightforward enough that ordinary people could actually know the whole thing) and b) a judge.
This simple system had the frequent addition of an oppressive foreign overlord who made the conquered people pay tribute and generally ground them beneath his heel. Because there’s nothing like getting ground under the heel of the oppressor to make you realize (and regret) you’ve been oppressing others yourself: failing to protect the rights of widows and orphans, taking advantage of the poor, or failing to give the land its statutory holidays. (Yes, the actual land.)