This week two things, very different from each other, particularly caught my attention, and caused me to reflect on how we approach life. The first was a letter from my vegetable supplier. The second a news article about a robot mishap in Washington DC.

The robot in question was a security robot. The manufacturer makes patrolling robots equipped with instruments such as infrared and ultrasonic detectors, face recognition systems and high definition video recording. This particular patrolling robot had tumbled down some shallow steps into a fountain near an office building and ‘drowned’. Photos and comments about its demise, many of them mocking, spread rapidly on social media.

Earlier that day I had been reading the most recent newsletter from the farm that supplies the organic vegboxs that I buy regularly. They have just won the ‘most innovative organic farmer’ award from the Soil Association, and the owner was reflecting on the balance struck over decades between his drive to innovate, and his farm manager’s more cautious approach. And he highlighted much that is good and bad about both approaches.

I found myself reflecting on the uneasy relationship many of us have with new ideas, or new ways of doing things. Most of us routinely enjoy the benefits of technology unheard of by previous generations. Yet many of us are also quick to express support for older ways of doing things when technology goes wrong, or fails to live up to our expectations. As my vegbox owner clearly knows, and as a quick look at history shows, our past is littered with new ideas that didn’t work, or that turned out to be a social disaster, but also with missed opportunities and, no doubt, undiscovered treasures. So how do we strike the right balance between innovation and caution?

One of the strongest messages of the Bible is that our societies thrive best when we work in community with one another. Jesus spoke of his message as being something new, and yet something old, and of a good teacher as someone who was able to bring out treasures both new and old. Yet he also spoke of the uneasy relationship that often exists between old and new, and how the new can often threaten what is good in the old, warning that putting new wine in old wineskins causes the skins to split and the wine to be lost. I believe that we each fall ‘naturally’ somewhere on the scale between being attracted to the new, to innovation, and attracted to the old, to the tried and tested. But I also believe that in order to truly thrive, we need one another, we need our views to be adjusted by someone falling somewhere else on the scale.

  • Where do you fall on the scale between innovation and caution?

  • Has this affected your views of religious groups or ideas you have encountered?

  • Who are the people who help you balance your natural tendency towards either innovation or caution?

 

Prayer for the week - 20th July 2017

 

 

 

Several weeks ago I planted some chilli seeds and placed them on a sunny windowsill. I waited and waited and nothing happened. I had almost given up hope of them growing, when I spotted one tiny bit of green in the soil. At last!

Six weeks on from the terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester that killed 23 people and injured 250, the father of the youngest victim spoke earlier this week for the first time about his daughter’s death, on what would have been her ninth birthday.

 

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