Fallible, Whew!

Fallible, whew!

OK, you caught it.  I misspelled Nathanael not just one but twice; I guess I was consistent.  It might be worthwhile to proof read my “stream of consciousness” style of writing.  Thanks for understanding.

I’m composing this on February 3rd, reflecting on the morning’s service and the closeness it deepened.  Soon I will be elsewhere, but I will remember you with fondness and appreciation.

A couple weeks ago I wrote about Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century and I want to highlight more of his wisdom as it reflects part of the morning’s conversation about power.

Truth and power can travel together only so far.  Sooner or later they go their separate paths.  If you want power, at some point you will have to spread fiction.  If you want to know the truth about the world, at some point you will have to renounce power [think Jesus in the wilderness]. You will have to admit things—for example, about the sources of your own power—that will anger allies, dishearten followers, or undermine social harmony.  Scholars throughout history have faced this dilemma: Do they serve power or truth?...

As a species, humans prefer power to truth.  We spend far more time and effort on trying to control the world than on trying to understand it—and even when we try to understand it, we usually do so in the hope that understanding the world will make it easier to control it.  (p. 247)

Later, in discussing ways in which we give power away to technology, and those controlling it, I offer these thoughts for your consideration:

Technology can help you a lot [but] you might become a hostage to its agenda.  Thousands of years ago humans invented agriculture, but this technology enriched just a tiny elite while enslaving the majority… Most people found themselves working from sunrise to sunset plucking weeds, carrying water…, and harvesting…under a blazing sun.  It could happen to you too.

Technology isn’t bad. If you know what you want in life, technology can help you get it.  But if you don’t know what you want…, it will be all too easy for technology to shape your aims…and take over your life.  Especially as technology gets better at understanding humans, you might increasingly find yourself serving it, rather than it serving you.  Have you seen those zombies who roam the streets with their faces glued to their smartphones?  (p. 271)

And then there is this reminder about the radical nature of the faith—from Amos/Micah/Isaiah/Jeremiah and others through John and Jesus to us.  The church must always be “political” in that we challenge the way decisions are made (inside and outside of the church) when those decisions are not benefitting the common good.  Ella Baker, quoted in a recent Sojourners daily devotional (sojo.net), says I use the term radical in its original meaning—getting down to and understanding the root cause.  It means facing a system that does not lend itself to your needs and devising means by which you change that system.  While the church is mandated to speak truth to power in the form of policy/program, we cannot promote candidates. Simple

See you in church (or the place of your choosing; let me know).


-        Dennis