Twittering towards (im)mediacy

Every extension of mankind, especially technological extensions, has the effect of amputating or modifying some other extension.[Marshall McLuhan, “Understanding Media”]

For the vast majority of years since Gutenberg enabled mass produced written communication, those thoughts which become “published” existed in the mind of an author, forming, percolating, and growing in the synapses of their brain. These thoughts were the fruits of that author’s imagination and experience, and generally speaking, good quality writing was a craft which took a lifetime to perfect.

[FF]->With the advent of the internet, the global digital network has radically redefined the craft of writing and much more than that. This is especially true of the Web, where any digital information can be made available to a potential audience of billions, within seconds. And with the advent of the “read-write” web, and specifically blogging, many a writer (or painter, musician, filmmaker…) who before would have had to find a way through the gatekeepers of what was made public – Recording Labels, Publishing Houses, Galleries, Agents, Censors – can now self publish with ease.

twittersmall-logoThis trend towards a zero-delay publication of our thoughts continues apace. A book might take author decades to write or publish. [FF]->And a well thought out blog post might take hours or even days to compose. [FF]-> Enter Twitter. No 2000 word treatises here. You only have 140 characters, and it now takes about 30 seconds to fill you allotted buffer. Of course, relay chat – typed digital conversations – are not new, and neither is SMS: yes that’s “short” for “Short Message Service”. Short, shorter, shortest.

And now shortesterist. Fans of this accelerated culture (to use James Gleick’s term) will no doubt praise the immediacy of global conversations. Many people now, it would appear, orient themselves around the Facebook model of social interaction. Connected to all, but present to how many? Interaction, but is there any sustained conversation?

True Conversation happens at the deepest level, an art learned over a lifetime, even beyond. It is the lifeblood of the Divine towards and through us. God is after all described as the Logos, or Word. What is this Word? A law to obey? A Script to be learned and regurgitated? A set of correct truth propositions? Or is it something infinitely more subtle, far more dependent upon continual birthing, something composed of our deepest substance: God within us, shared?

With microblogging, are we reaching the lowest granularity of human verbal interaction? (Probably not, there’s still direct cranial USB to come: ouch!). But let’s face it; our media are making our communications increasingly fragmented. How are we going to develop the depth required for true community, especially sacred community, when our tools are causing us to spread our attention so thinly, over so many channels, into smaller and smaller slices of presence?

marshallmcluhanMarshall McLuhan observed: “We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us”. We are responsible for what we become. Do we really aspire towards cyborg status; are we going to continue emulating this alien, lifeless machine model where performance is measured in “Operations per second”? Is the performance of our thinking organism not already at light speed, and beyond? Is life about quantity, time and money?

Let us expand McLuhan’s dictum of amplification and amputation, allowing it to speak to our present situation:

“Every extension of mankind, especially technological extensions, has the effect of amputating or modifying some other extension … The extension of a technology like the automobile ‘amputates’ the need for a highly developed walking culture … The telephone extends the voice, but also amputates the art of penmanship gained through regular correspondence … We have become people who regularly praise all extensions, and minimize all amputations.” [from Marshall McLuhan, “Understanding Media”]

To “praise all extensions, and minimize all amputations” – is this not an apt definition of modernity, where progress has ousted balance? Where we can no longer countenance the downturn, in our insatiable and utterly unrealistic drive for “material growth”. Where the darkness of the via negativa is eclipsed by an eternal daytime, and we become less and less able to countenance death in any form.

What if the immediacy of microblogging was in fact enhancing its opposite, increased mediacy: an experience thoroughly mediated by machines and machine methodology? What if our virtualised social network was becoming a barrier between us and a true incarnate community? What if our increased technical bandwidth was in fact throttling our very humanness? Is the matrix, that ubiquitous, virtualised reality, even visible to us any longer?

The filmmaker Godfrey Reggio warns us of “Technology as the new Terra Firma – (having) replaced the Earth as the comprehensive host of our life”. McLuhan would have concurred: “Technology is that which separates us from our environment.” This is a frightening prospect, for our environment is our Source … unless, of course, you hold to the dualistic belief in the innate fallenness and disposability of “the world”, and the transcendent perfection of its opposite.

While I am grateful many aspects of our civilisation, I ultimately believe that if we do not have a fundamental change of heart, thought and awareness, we will be comprehensively overrun by the tools of this civilisation. There is a war on, and it is a war for the soul of the human, and for the message of Incarnated Truth that is at the heart of God’s Story.

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14 Comments »

  1. Don Rogers said

    Technology, the conundrum of our age. You are correct in that there is no longer a balance. I have proposed many times a vast “downsizing” of the technology in my life. Move to Montana, Wyoming to a log cabin in the hills; only to discover after due consideration that I really do not know where to start. What a sad commentary! Are we trapped in a situation of our own creation? Certainly! Is there a way out? Certainly! What is the answer and how do we achieve it? I have no idea. I truly wish I did.

  2. russ.... said

    Nic.

    you have written an excellent post here. it’s way too long for twitter – now there’s a medium i won’t bother with – but packs a punch. here’s to building real flesh & blood communities, where technologies are extensions rather than pretensions of community.

    R.

  3. Gavin Marshall said

    Nic – i like what you’re saying. I need to lend you that book by David Abram – on language and environment.
    But here’s a question – does technology separate us from environment, or is the real separation in our own understanding of ourselves? Are we separate from the environment because we believe ourselves to be – when, in fact, we are the environment. Perhaps this is part of evolution – just as single cells developed the technology to communicate efficiently in order to work together as an organism, so we as humans are evolving into a global organism.

  4. timvictor said

    I’m completely for an Augmented Reality! Give me a neural jack, plug me in to the matrix; overlay GPS through my visual cortex; complement the holes in my senses with SimSensory input… technomancy is the way of the future and will lead to enlightenment!

    I guess I’ve been reading too much Shadowrun material and sci-fi in general.

  5. Nic Paton said

    Tim – you have stated this desire for virtual transcendance often. Your vision of cyborgia runs deep. ;)

    However asnd I quote your blog “There are definately times in life when real world conversation takes precedence over online conversation and this has been one of those seasons for me.”

    So come clean, dear fellow: where do you REALLY stand regarding technology and mission?

  6. timvictor said

    Well Nic,

    Technology, like mission, is a broad topic. Sticking to technology I would agree about the enable/amputate effects and affects along with immediacy/mediacy arising from technology. I love that technology enables communication and improves latency – technology enables a wide range of low-level interaction and connectedness.

    For me, technology does not replace communication. Rather it facilitates it.

  7. Steve said

    I have taken McLuhan’s analysis of print culture as the analysis of modernity. Print culture grew out of and shaped modernity. Print is the ultimate “one-to-many” medium.

    But generally new media have been disappointing, because people don’t really use them to their best advantage. They either use them for purely trivial purposes (like throwing sheep on Facebook), or else are afraid of them, and say “I get too many e-mails” which is the new version of the “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” exuse.

    Thanks for the interesting thoughts.

  8. nic paton said

    I like the idea that McLuhan’s critique serves as a definition of Modernity – thats helpful. Also, the suggestion that we are either too trivial (uncritically involved) or too fearful (uncritically uninvolved) and that some midle way which might in fact be very helpful, is by and large missed.
    Thanks Steve.

  9. Steve said

    Yes, McLuhan’s view of print culture does help to clarify modernity – linear thinking, reproducability etc. That doesn’t mean that modern thought is always and necessarily bad. It has its uses, but it’s one way of thinking, there are others. I wouldn’t advocate abandonibng printed books, for example. My house is overflowing with them. But we need to realise that reading about something isn’t necessarily the only, or the best way of knowing it.

  10. Andrew said

    I just cycled to Pick n Pay(supermarket). It’s about a mile from my home. On route there and back I greeted about 10 humans. 2 cyclists, some people walking in the street, a few layabouts and a dodgy guy on a street corner. There’s no way to reach them online – what a pity they couldn’t twitter me what they were up to or be my friend on facebook so we can scratch each others surfaces or have blogs that tell the story of the lives. – they where all so interesting and greeted back.

    Maybe I must cycle to the shops for often.

  11. Leonardo de la Paor said

    The Silence That Slays

    THE WORDS OF JESUS recorded in the Gospels never fail to provoke and disturb. But today I am cut to the heart, not by His words, but by one of His silences. In an emergency, have you ever cried out to God, only to hear the pounding of your own heartbeat? A sudden dilemma seems like the perfect moment for God to speak up. But Luke chapter 22 tells us that in a moment of great crisis, in reply to a desperate question from His closest disciples, Jesus remained strangely silent.

    Surprised and surrounded by a mob of armed Temple zealots in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas bestows the infamous kiss of betrayal. Suddenly, the other eleven disciples realize that an unthinkable evil is afoot. They cry out, “Lord, shall we smite with the sword?” And the Lord answers with silence.

    “Lord, a burglar has broken into my house where my family is sleeping. Shall I smite with the sword?”

    “Lord, that drug dealer is coming to kill me because I testified against him in court. Shall I smite with the sword?”

    “Lord, a child molester is abducting that little girl. Shall I smite with the sword?”

    But in the Garden, Luke tells us, there was no reply.

    For this, among other reasons, I do not call Jesus a teacher. The teachers I have known love nothing more than to answer the question of the moment. And the more I study it, the more I see that this was the great question for the disciples in Gethsemane; “Lord, shall we smite with the sword?” “No! Do not smite with the sword!” How difficult would it have been for Jesus to have said this? A straightforward pacifist’s “no”. What a Ghandi-like legacy he might have left the world. But he was silent.

    Or what if he’d said, “Yes, slaughter the lot of them!” Jihad might then have become a Christian virtue. An answer here, any answer, was destined to not only alter the course of events in the Garden, but to alter history itself. Any answer, that is, but silence. And Jesus was deafeningly silent.

    Now, I can hear certain Bible scholars saying to me, “Son, you’re making far too much of a silence that isn’t really there in scripture. It may be implied in the text but it’s certainly not explicit, and woe be to one who reads too much between the lines of Holy Writ.”

    But I would ask you to consider this: If Jesus had answered “no” to the question recorded so explicitly in the text— “Lord, shall we smite with the sword?” —would Peter then have drawn his weapon?

    If there is one thing we know about Peter’s character it is that he would never disobey a direct order from his Lord. No, Luke got it right. There was an urgent question in the Garden that night, but there was no answer. You can read it again in Luke 22:49-50.
    Are we then surprised to learn that Peter took that silence to mean, “yes”? Oh, that impulsive Peter, we like to say, so easily moved from one extreme to another! We are all familiar with the famous caricature of the inept disciple smiting off the ear of the high priest’s servant. But when I read the text honestly and carefully I do not see a cartoon Peter here. I like this Peter. My heart is with him. I would suggest, rather, what a good and decisive man he was! It’s the silence of Jesus that seems nearly impossible to explain. You see, I am haunted by the fact that just a few verses earlier in Luke 22, at the table of the last supper, breaking the bread and pouring the wine, the Lord set Peter up for this bloody blunder in Gethsemane. The fact is, this violent incident that people often use to ridicule Peter’s character was not something he impulsively made-up on the spot.

    Luke 22:36 records that after the Passover meal; … (Jesus) said to (his disciples), “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one …” What?! I can imagine a rustling of activity in the upper room as the disciples scramble for their belongings. Money bags are gathered, and coats. Then, Luke writes; They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords”. And He said to them, “It is enough.” What a stunning moment! At The Last Supper, Jesus, who had taught these men to “turn the other cheek”, recommends they buy weapons. And perhaps even more stunning is the fact that two of these guys are already packing swords. Furthermore, as the action in the Garden soon revealed, one of the armed disciples was none other than Peter. Makes me wonder who carried the second illegal sword. Nathaniel? Philip? Matthew? John? The other Simon, Simon the Zealot? It occurs to me that it was probably Thomas. He had a sword but doubted that he would ever use it.

    Whoever the second carrier was, like Peter, he heard Jesus say that everybody in the room should sell their coats and buy weapons. Along with Peter he had produced a sword in response to the Lord’s suggestion. But unlike Peter, he had decided that unless Jesus went much further and actually ordered him to draw out the blade and start slashing, he would sit on his hands. And that’s why we know so very much about Peter, and so little about the other swordsman in the Garden that night. We don’t even know his name.
    Peter is our teacher. He teaches by bold example. And we need his example if we are to make sense of Jesus.

    At the Last Supper the Lord speaks of his disciples deserting him in the coming hours. Peter swears, “I’ll never desert you. If I have to die with you, I won’t desert you.” I tell you, Peter meant it. And he was good for it. He was a stand-up guy. The bible tells us the other disciples then followed Peter’s lead and declared their commitment to the Lord that night. But Jesus was looking for something else. He provokes, He disturbs, and He dismantles a hero. He tells Peter, and He tells us, that with the highest and best of our intentions we will merely deny Him “before the cock crows.” We do not have what it takes.

    Peter is our leader in this terrible revelation. We’re in his debt. Remember, it was to Peter, on this night, and to Peter alone, that the Lord said, “… when you are converted, strengthen your brethren”. (Luke 22:32) If Jesus addressed the importance of his leadership, even when rebuking him, we should do no less. Jesus promised that Peter would pass through a terrible ordeal of unfaithfulness, and then be converted. “When you are converted,” he said, “strengthen your brethren.” What sort of conversion did Jesus have in mind for Peter? What sort of strength would he be able to impart to us thereafter? Did it have something to do with that terrible silence in the Garden?

    To understand, I try to get inside Peter’s head. What do you suppose he was thinking after Jesus suggested His men buy weapons? Of course, no one can say positively, but indulge me for a moment— I think I know. At Jesus’ words, hot blood surged to Peter’s brain with a triple shot of adrenaline. He didn’t need to sell his coat and buy a sword. He was ahead of the game. He had secretly packed a blade from the start.

    Peter, a man’s man, the Big Fisherman, had been waiting for action-orders from Jesus ever since he had first met him. Even before that famous day when Jesus got into his fishing boat, Peter had been stirred-up by that apocalyptic wild man, John the Baptist.
    The Gospels reveal that Andrew, Peter’s brother and fishing partner, was with John the Baptist when he declared Jesus to be the One who was to come. Andrew immediately found Simon Peter and brought him to Jesus with the tantalizing promise, “We have found the Messiah.” It is most probable that both brothers had joined the throngs following the wilderness prophet until the time of Jesus. Because they were followers of John the Baptist, who had come to prepare the way of the Lord, Simon and Andrew were “sitting on go” for the coming Messiah. The personal style of the brazen Baptist, however, suited a man of Peter’s temperament more than the kinder, gentler style of Jesus. It had not been an easy transition for the Big Fisherman. After following the sun burnt bellower in camel’s hair, Peter had struggled to fit into the entourage of the soft spoken man in the seamless robe; the Messiah who let John lay his head on his chest at dinner.

    Shortly after their very first recorded meeting, Jesus allowed Himself to be prodded by Mary, His mother, of all people, into performing His first miracle. It had been at a wedding feast, of all places. And instead of announcing John the Baptist’s hell fire, Jesus had turned water into wine so everyone could have a good time. Peter must have scratched his head with puzzlement. Where was John’s holy abstinence? Where was the “brood of vipers” talk? Where was Isaiah’s promised “Day of Vengeance”? Where was John’s “wrath to come”? Come on, Jesus, Peter thought, let’s get this last days show on the road.

    Peter was also there when his mentor wavered in his understanding of the Lord. The Baptist had seen the sign of the descending dove, yet after months of seeing Jesus in action, had asked, “are you the one?” … and still being the guy in camel’s hair with grasshopper breath, had added the motivational insult (the hallmark of all true prophets) “…or should we look for another?” Pardon me, but this is tantamount to saying, “are you going to—–, or get out of the kitchen?”
    Peter and the Baptist were two of the same type. Peter, no doubt fought the Baptist’s battle to believe, as Jesus kept healing and teasing and exorcising demons and confusing everyone with parables, seldom giving a straight answer to a straight question, provoking, disturbing. And all this while the Greco-Roman world unambiguously trampled the Chosen people of God further into the dirt.

    Then, suddenly, Jesus changed. At the Last Supper He quietly says, “now is the time to sell your coat and buy a sword”.

    Peter knew Ecclesiastes 3; “To everything there is a season … a time to kill, and a time to heal … a time of war … ” He leaps from the table and ransacks his pack, returning tall before the group, a shining outlaw Roman blade held high in his fist. Thomas, or one of the others, hurries to his pack too, returning with a rusty old Philistine relic, a bronze age beauty, a museum piece at best. He holds it up awkwardly, saying, “L-Lord, h-h-here are two- uh, yeah, we got two swords here, Lord.”

    And the Lord replied, “That’s enough.”

    What was enough? Ever put yourself in these guys shoes? What did Jesus mean, two swords are enough? If you had been there, what would you have made of that remark?

    I think the difference between Peter and the second swordsman, and most of us, is that Peter started doing some good Old Testament math. “Two swords are enough.” He recalled Joshua 23:10 “One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.” Yeah, thought Peter, two swords are enough. Peter had seen Jesus raise the dead, had seen him transfigured on the Mountain, speaking there with Moses and Elijah. Peter had seen him walk on water, and had himself felt the tide grow firm beneath his feet. It was not too much for the bold Fisherman now to believe that, at the Lord’s words, “two swords are enough,” the long anticipated day of God’s wrath had finally begun. The heroic deeds of Sampson smiting a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass would again be seen in Israel. The day of Jonathan and his armor bearer scaling the Philistine fortress and slaying them all before breakfast had returned. David might again defeat Goliath with just a sling. Yeah, Peter thought, with God, two swords are always enough. And with that thought burning in his mind, he strapped on his sword and entered the Garden of Gethsemane.

    Now, in the gloom of night comes Judas and his torch bearing Temple gang.

    “Lord, shall we smite with the sword?”

    And all Peter hears is the pounding of his own heart in that terrible, unbearable silence.

    John’s Gospel perhaps gives the best description of what happened next. “Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear.” (John 18:10)

    Peter, an army of one, sets about to put a thousand men to flight as the Scripture promised he could. He anticipates that at some point the power of God will surge through him as he takes this step of faith. He strikes to kill the nearest enemy and misses, as Jesus knew he would, cutting off the ear of the High Priest’s servant instead. Peter draws back to finish the job and only then does Jesus end his silence; “Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:10,11 KJV)

    Peter is numb. His mind no doubt is screaming, “What’s this about a cup? You didn’t tell us now was the time to sell our coat and buy a cup. You said ‘a sword.’ I heard you clearly say, ‘a sword’.” And he can only watch as Jesus cleans up his bloody mess, performing his very last miracle of healing while on earth.

    How can we not say that at this moment Jesus committed the second betrayal of the night? He set a good and loyal man up for failure and humiliation. Because Jesus is so much more than a teacher, then what I must assume is that this unbelieveable agony was part of the process of converting Peter. I must assume that it was part of the Master’s plan. Peter, at this very moment, is not sure who or what Jesus is, and I must assume that that is exactly the way Jesus wanted it. I repeat, this must have been what Jesus was after.

    You say, “How can that be? Peter is the one who just a few weeks earlier declared that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, and Jesus himself said that flesh and blood had not revealed it to him. How could you then say that Peter had any uncertainty about exactly who Jesus was?” But I would remind you that not long after Peter’s triumphant declaration, Jesus whirled on him and said, “Get behind me, Satan.” Ever have Jesus call you “Satan?” This is the same Jesus who later, on the same road says, “Have I not chosen you twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?” What do you suppose that did for Peter’s confidence? He had reason to wonder if he was the devil in question.

    The words of Jesus provoke and disturb and, if you dare get close enough to touch them in their full power, like the Old Testament Ark of the Covenant, they will kill you. Oh yes— so that you may live again. It’s part of the “conversion” process, but let’s not be spiritual Monday morning fullbacks. If you’ve arrived in the zone of crucifixion, rest assured, it’s going to be a long dragged out affair in which you’ll hear the Lord himself scream out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Everything you thought you knew about God will prove inadequate. No, no, let’s not rush to the resurrection just yet.

    I see a direct connection between this dark betrayal of Peter and Peter’s famous three denials. In fact, I think what he does following the sword incident is the opposite of denial. It’s confession. For the first time, he sees a deeper truth; “I don’t know the man! I thought He was the one. But now, like The Baptist, I think maybe we should look for another. I don’t know Him. He let Judas kiss Him. He’s laid down for a lie. He’s prostrating Himself to injustice. What did He drag us all into? Who is He, really? Is He the Jesus who put the sword in my hand? Or the one who took it away just when it might have counted for something? I don’t (cursing) know the man!”

    If you’ve ever said that Jesus was perhaps the greatest teacher the world has ever seen, rest assured, yours are the lips of a coward and a flatterer, trying desperately to keep the Lord of the Universe at a safe distance. He’s so much more than that. You don’t know the man. If you’ve sung his praises and declared your own great love for Him, and you’ve never felt betrayed by Him, perhaps set up for humiliation by Him, maybe you’re following at too great a distance. If you’ve rightly divided each word of truth and precisely parsed the exact hermeneutic to every phrase of every propositional verse in the Bible, and you’ve subsequently got your Christology worked out so well that you’ve never been in doubt— you don’t know the man.

    If you’ve never sharpened the sword of your own talents to a razor’s edge for Him, and prayed for His signal; if you’ve never heard Him quietly say, “now is the time to sell everything and take up that sword”; if you’ve never subsequently taken aim at one of God’s enemies and with all of your strength and heart and mind struck with the sword He placed in your hand; if you’ve never missed badly and found yourself not only humiliated but rebuked by the same Jesus who set you up for failure, then cleaned up your mess— it’s probably because you are more of a Thomas than a Peter.

    If we haven’t had the guts to get close enough to Jesus to walk in Peter’s humiliated shoes, we must not read his story and judge him. We must not allow ourselves to feel superior just because we’ve got the New Testament and 2000 years of multi-volume commentary on the Passion Week. That’s cheap advantage. Unless we’ve lived the Passion, we don’t know the man.

    Peter, the man. No one else dared so much on so grand a stage with so much at stake. We should recognize the true size of the man God chose to be our example of discipleship. If we fail to do this, then we fail to understand the complete intolerance of Heaven for even the best skills and talents and charisma and character that any of us might bring in service to God. In our flesh, our very best flesh, we can do no more than bring Cain’s offering. God has only one hero, and it is not Peter, and it is not you, and it is not me.
    The Scripture records that the first time Jesus met Peter, even before they were introduced, Jesus looked at him and told him his name. “You shall be called Rocky.” His name until that moment had been Simon, Son of Jonah.
    “You talkin’ to me?” Simon says. “You sayin’ I’m ‘Rocky’?”

    “I say, you shall be called Rocky,” Jesus said.

    Ah, hah! From this we can see that it was not Rocky who struck with the sword that night in the Garden. Rather, it was a good and noble human being, an honorable leader of men named, Simon. It is perhaps instructive to note that in their last conversation on earth together Jesus addressed him by his flesh-and-blood name. “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?”

    The crucifixion is past. The resurrection has come. And Simon is still not Rocky. It broke his heart. Perhaps this is where Peter imparts his strength to the rest of us. From this last heartbreak we should not be surprised to learn that we too, are in a seemingly unending conversion process. When will we ever be that new creature in Christ?

    The key, I think, is found in Simon’s humble reply. He’s not telling the Lord anything anymore. No bold declaration of fealty. “Lord,” he says, “you know all things. You know the answer. You know me.” It’s as if the humiliated David were speaking as he did in Psalms 19:12 “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults.” A sentiment distilled further in the words of Jehovah to Jeremiah, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart …”

    “Simon, not Rocky, I’m talking to you Mr. Standup Simon, lovest thou me?” In searing pain, Simon is crossing the threshold of a mystery. He’s learning what it means to be what Jesus said he was— an entirely new, unshakeable creature, a rock. The process involves the total destruction of Simon, so that a new man, Rocky may emerge.

    “You know all things, Lord,” Simon replies, “you know I like you”.

    His conversion is well under way.

    Isn’t it something? Finally, it’s not about knowing God. It’s about being known by Him.

    There will be a day of God’s wrath, just as Isaiah and John the Baptist promised. (Thank God it’s not here yet.) A Champion has been found worthy to wield the ultimate sword of justice. On that day, Jesus told his befuddled disciples in Matthew chapter 7, many will come and say, “We know you! We know you! Didn’t we prophesy in your name, and cast out demons and do miracles? Didn’t we swing a mean and mighty sword for you?” And he will reply, “Depart from me … I never knew you.”

    Provoking. Disturbing. The ultimate question is not, “Do you know Him?” it must be, “Does He know you?”

    “Rejoice not that the demons are subject to you,” Jesus warned His twelve men in Matthew 7, “rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”

    If Jesus knows us, then, He’s given each of us a new name. We’re in the process of learning what that name is, and what it means. And on the day that we are fully converted, and “we know as we are known”, we will have only that new name and the old will be forgot. Pain, grief, shame, failure, unfulfilled dreams and badly swung swords will vanish with it. And I say, by faith, it will be a very good riddance.

    Maybe we’ll stand there with Rocky, the man Jesus called Peter. Together we’ll hear the Master’s, “Well done”. The pure ecstasy of being known by our new name in heaven.

    Slay the Silence
    Say something, don’t be quiet,
    The sound of silence reverberates,
    Among the walls of our grudges,
    For a moment it strikes an ear,
    the other it pierces the peace of heart,
    Once it breached the dyke of tears,
    Another flipped my castle of cards,
    We would be frozen if the silence stays,
    And broken when it is sadly slayed,
    Its better to be in pieces than suffocate in vain,
    Its better we melt and are shaped again,
    Its better if we meet across this illusioned sand,
    I’ll be glad if you make it to God’s Holy Land,
    One right between us and spread miles ahead,
    For once lets do it, for silences’ sake.
    ******************************************
    CHOICES

    I’ve had choices
    Since the day that I was born
    There were voices
    That told me right from wrong
    If I had listened
    No I wouldn’t be here today
    Living and dying
    With the choices I made

    I was tempted
    By an early age I found
    I liked drinking
    Oh, and I never turned it down
    There were loved ones
    But I turned them all away
    Now I’m living and dying
    With the choices I made

    I guess I’m paying
    For the things that I have done
    If I could go back
    Oh, Lord knows I’d run
    But I’m still losing
    This game of life I play
    Living and dying
    With the choices I made

    Living and dying
    With the choices I made

    ***************************

    Christendom has created a caricature of Jesus much the same way today’s media have made a comedy of the Social Reform Writings of Charles Dickens. In Sunday school classes and Christmas pantomimes Christians make a mockery of Bible teachings.

    In the judgment story of Noah & the Ark children play with cut-out pictures and sing songs of the animals going into the Ark two-by-two. Can you imagine the Sunday school teacher doing a story of the Jews & the Concentration Camps? You could have a song about the children going into the Gas Chambers two-by-two. Or someone dressed as Dr Mengle shouting, “Left! Right! Left! Right! You go there & you go there!”

    People would think you were stark raving mad, that you were insensitive & yet for hundreds of years stupid Sunday school teachers have done this to the greatest judgment of God on earth. Is it any wonder that the majority of Sunday school children become agnostic, if not atheists?

    Is it any wonder the world is not attracted to Jesus of Nazareth, because of the Hollywood version that has been splashed upon thousands of screens, worldwide? The nearest anyone came to attempting a true expression of Jesus was Mel Gibson, but even Mel would be first to say, “It needs more work!”

  12. Russ said

    from my perspective, “twitter” has the look of a technology with limited application, as it currently stands. i hope it either evolves to embed itself in a much deeper engagement model or else dies, though natural de-selection.

    if people want to communicate with me, we have telephone, text, email, instant messenger, skype, blog & face-to-face – this covers the bases. really people, what more do we need? facebook offers a lot more than Twitter, which provides a similar tool to FB’s “what’s on your mind?” and little more.

  13. nic paton said

    I hear that evolutionary naysayer!
    Although I have started using Twitter, I remain sceptical, provisional in approval, and mystfied as to why it is so highly thought of. Maybe Facebook has too much and its stripped down connection orientation is its USP?

  14. […] the tendency of this age to become globalised, we will lose contact with our world; filmmaker Godfrey Reggio warns us against “Technology as the new Terra Firma – (having) replaced the Earth as the comprehensive […]

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