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…of tweets and texts

Just like many others, I find myself this morning juggling several jobs at once.  On the one hand, I have a sermon to write about how we relate to each other, based on Ecclesiastes 4. On the other hand, I am considering a request to address an international gathering of aid workers on shaping the future whilst maintaining their Christian distinctiveness.  Meanwhile, in the background my twitter feed occasionally trills with updates from the Google #bigtentuk meeting today. Under discussion there are issues of privacy, ownership and innovation.

So, with Solomon’s ancient words about the nature of human relationships before me, and my mind turning to issues of shaping the future, I find myself confronted with this, from the former CEO of Google at this morning’s gathering:

innovation occurs when people question the dominant zeitgeist

Yes, yes, yes – and thank you Eric Schmidt! It is moments like this which remind me why I prefer to prepare my sermons against a background of digital noise, rather than in an air of monastic silence.

There is a question, though, which I would like to pass on from King Solomon to the gathering in that BigTent in Watford. Isn’t there a point at which the innovators who have shaped the zeitgeist end up defending it, since their investment in it is so high? (Ecclesiastes 4 v.4)

I suspect that even Google’s admirably sunny mission statement “don’t be evil” gets put to the test when competitive sharks are in the water…

A lesson from history

Working through a series of 50 memory verses at the moment, which the church are learning as part of the Biblefresh programme. Today I have come to the text in Hebrews 10 v. 24 which urges us to “consider how we may spur one another on to love and good deeds”.

Unlike yesterday’s shiny futuristic companion, today I turn to Edith Swann-neck’s careful 11th Century needlework for my illustration. In her depiction of the battle of Hastings on the Bayeux Tapestry, she depicts Bishop Odo with a club raised above his head:

Literally the text above the image reads “Hic Odo Eps (Episcopus) Baculu(m) Tenens Confortat Pueros”, – “Here Odo the Bishop holding a club strengthens the boys”.

This is an interesting view of strengthening, or encouraging, don’t you think? Anyone care to suggest others?

A paranoid Android assists with Ecclesiastes

Whenever preaching on the more difficult books of the Bible, I have always found it better to acknowledge their particular challenges. Thus, Romans has its particular heaviness, Revelation its particular weirdness, and with Ecclesiastes there is a distinct air of melancholy. Watch the short clip below, and then try reading Ecclesiastes 1 v. 2 – 11 in the voice of Marvin.

See what I mean?

Having acknowledged one of the fundamental difficulties with a book like Ecclesiastes, it is then possible to say more about its strengths.

If you would like to get more idea of where the sermon went after Marvin’s helpful introduction, feel free to click the link below…although you’ll have to contact me via comments if you want to know more about the Fed-Ex effect!

Ecclesiastes 1

Richard Littledale

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