Must Read Monday: Power, chatbots and college footballDecember 4, 2017
Facebook CEO, Cheryl Sandberg, posts that “Ultimately, the thing that will bring the most change to our culture is the one I’ve been writing and talking about for a long time: having more women with more power.” Taking her word for word, let’s start with the meaning of the word ultimately. Ultimately means “finally, in the end,” and “at the most basic level.” So, finally, in the end, and at the most basic level, is having more women with more power really what will bring the most change to our culture? From a Biblical Christian worldview the answer to that question is no. The thing that will bring the most change to our culture – and every other culture – at the most basic level and in the end is a reorientation of the culture to Christ; a culture-wide reformation ignited by genuine spiritual revival. Finally, power belongs to God and power wielded by women disconnected from God will be just as ruthless, self-promoting and others demeaning as power wielded by men disconnected from God.
Amidst ongoing revelations about sexual harassment, holiday office party planners seek to reconstruct moral safeguards, like less free-flowing alcohol, no mistletoe and party monitors (yes, like middle school). The AP reports that according to a Challenger, Gray & Christmas survey, whereas 62% of companies served alcohol at last year’s holiday office parties, only 49% will do so this year. The question should be asked why do ANY businesses serve alcohol at ANY business related events. And if the answer is “we need a social lubricant,” then the follow-up question should be about the nature of forming genuine relationships in the workplace. This is an opportunity for Christians to witness through both deed (not drinking and treating others as equal image-bearers of God) and word (speaking the truth on these matters in love).
People are now turning to judgement-free chatbots that check in with them daily. Here is a reminder for Christians to bear witness to the incarnational reality of Christ in everyday conversation. Do we see the people around us? Do we have margin in our lives to engage in conversation with, really listen to and affirm our fellow image-bearers? Can we listen and respond without judgement? This advent season as we reflect on Jesus’ coming to dwell among us and walk with us from the streets of Galilee all the way to the road to Emmaus, are we committed to making emotional connections with those around us and walking with them from wherever they are to a place of reconciliation? People don’t need a piece of our minds, they need the peace of the mind of Christ – which can’t be found in a non-emotive robot.
Can the season of Advent and the coming of Christ compete with college football rankings and bowl game season? That, today, is a very real question. Many will have an opinion today about the college football rankings and families will be adjusting their holiday travel plans around where their favorite team is playing over what are supposed to be the Christmas holidays. Christians know that Christmas has been largely co-opted by the culture and transformed into a contest of competitive holiday light displays, but Christmas has also been converted into a season of 40 football games from December 16-January 8. All in good fun? From a Christian worldview how should we think about the student athletes, band members, cheerleaders and fans who will be foregoing the focus on Christ this Christmas for Cotton, Peaches, Roses or Sugar? Are you more committed to being there for your college bowl than for the celebration of the in-breaking of the eternal God into our human experience?
One more thing: I predict there will be lots of talk this week about whether or not charges can be brought against a sitting President that include obstruction of justice. I predict the President’s lawyers will argue that the President is above the law in such matters which will lead to all kinds of conversations about impeachment, Mike Pence’s possible ascendency, and the rest of the President’s men (and women).
As Christians, we understand that justice flows from God’s character – His righteousness and holiness, and no one is above it. In the New Testament, we see examples and commands that demonstrate how Christians are to pursue justice even when it runs contrary to the culture. We are concerned with justice because our goal is not only an earthly social good, but an eternal promise. We are to live as outposts among a broken, unjust world pointing to the better King and the perfect justice of the coming Kingdom of Heaven. Talking about the reality of standing under ultimate judgement is an opportunity to bear authentic and reliable witness even in a culture where truth has become seemingly fluid.