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Category: TED

“Religion can and must be a force for good in the world”

Rabbi Sharon Brous makes a call for hope.  She has to set up a caricature of “all religious people in the USA” in order to deconstruct it but it is interesting to see a Rabbi exploring the same kinds of things we have been saying about Emergence in Christianity.

“It is the job of our religious leaders to make people uncomfortable”.

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Let’s Fly The Jolly Roger!

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Of course Christianity is not political so we’re not allowed to make a stand against oppression.

Personalisation – The Internet Filter Bubble and Facebook

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This Ted Talk came from Carole reminding me of a blog I wrote for the Big Bible site about Theological Ghettos.  The way the internet works at the moment disturbs me as it edits out the things it believes I don’t want to see.  Google shows me what I want to see.  An algorithm decides what my world should look like.  Google essentially feeds me pictures of Mother Theresa, Desmond Tutu and Eddie Van Halen.  That kind of thing.  Give the people what they want!  And why not?

Facebook recently introduced a change to the way it works.  It has started to push content to your friends when you click “like” or comment upon a post.  I assume this means that every time I click like on a Star Wars meme is is pushed through to some of my friends.  As they are friends with me they must clearly be interested in the same things as I am – this is the logic that Facebook is employing.

This has shattered my internet filter bubble.  The world now looks a little different than before.  In the past week I have discovered that a “friend” of a “friend” likes the EDL.  I’ve seen numerous racist memes.  I’ve discovered that there is a more unpleasant underbelly to the society I am part of.  A less pleasant world that I was happily living without.  No doubt my friends have discovered that I talk about ‘vicar things’ a lot more than they thought previously.

It won’t come as a surprise to you to discover that I am “politically liberal” and so are a large proportion of my friends.  However, Facebook has just let everyone’s guard down.  Everyone is now less able to hide “the real you” from the world of Facebook unless they choose not to engage with it.  Every click potentially outs you as the person who “likes” pictures of fluffy kittens.  Alternatively you may find your more sinister side on display for the world to see as you are “outed” as a secret Belieber.

#OccupyInequality

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZ7LzE3u7Bw]

The situation at St Paul’s cathedral in the UK has brought the issue of financial ethics to the forefront of The Church’s thinking.  If I’m honest, I didn’t know anyone in the church for whom it wasn’t already.  Global finance is a topic that is too big for one person to fix by themselves and I am a bear of little brain but I will continue to engage with the issues as they arise.  One of my friends posted some of their difficulties with the protest on Facebook.

I think my issue with the protests is that, in the UK, we have free healthcare, education, social security and endless affordable distractions and comforts.

If a banker can make a million by skimming off a thousandth of a percent off the business – is that really a bigger sin than one of us choosing to buy cheap imported goods without asking about worker welfare?

A dozen men cream off a tiny proportion off the bottom of a balance sheet vs a million britons promoting child labour in the third world and putting a thousand local breadwinners on the dole by shutting the mills and factories?

Apologies to him for posting it here but he has made me think!  All afternoon!  My gut reaction was to say – well… yes.

Then I started to think about all of these issues and the global situation.  I believe resolutely that my lifestyle should not be at the expense of someone living in another country.  I do not want goods available on the high street at the expense of the poorest in society!  However, I think that reading the protester’s cause as about the “bankers” misrepresents them.  Their website sums up their position with no mention of bankers at all. 

Our global system is unsustainable. It is undemocratic and unjust, driven by profit in the interest of the few.

The protesters are bringing attention to the global financial system and the way in which it operates.  This is the system that allows a big corporation to produce goods using child labour and sell them on the high street to an unsuspecting public.  This is where the bottom of the balance sheet it.  This is the place where the cream is found.

Please watch the TED talk above about inequality.  The economy in the UK works relatively to other economies.  However, it also works relatively between the people within it.  #OccupyInequality