I am currently doing some MA level work on Mission in Culture and Context. I have been contemplating what area to research and had three ideas. On of them was the way in which The Church engages with social media in a missiological context. @annamdrew posted this video. Needless to say, the two other areas I had contemplated faded into insignificance. I wonder what Bevans and Schroeder would say about this clip if they were writing their book in 200 years time.
Each year all of the churches in town walk through to the town square and have a short act of remembrance on Good Friday. Last year I had no idea what they were expecting. I put on a Death Row shirt and slung a giant wooden crucifix over my shoulders and carried it at the front of the procession. This year they asked me to do some form of bible reading in the Town Square when we get there. It is a public performance really. I suppose I’ll put on the convict outfit and hold a life-size cross whilst I do it this year. I have rewritten John 19 (abridged) based upon The Message. Please bear in mind that many of the phrases are easy to say in a broadish Yorkshire accent as I use the tools I’ve got. Also, the bold parts will be practiced with a baying mob so that they don’t all shout them in unison.
The Trial (based upon John 19)
Pontius Pilate was the man responsible for governing Jerusalem. He’d had Jesus publicly whipped because he was a troublemaker. They were worried because too many people were following him. The soldiers who did it made a crown from thorns for him and rammed in down onto his head. They kept giving him grief. They had thrown a purple robe over him like he was royalty whilst shouting “Hail, King of the Jews!”. Then they kept slapped him in the face.
Pilate went to the baying mob and said to them, “I present him to you, but I want you to know that I don’t find him guilty. He hasn’t committed any crime.”
In a frenzy the crowd shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
But Pilate told them, “You take him. You crucify him. I find nothing wrong with him.”
Pilate did his best to pardon him, but the Jews shouted him down: “If you pardon this man, you’re no friend of Caesar’s. Anyone setting himself up as ‘king’ defies Caesar.”
When Pilate heard those words, he took Jesus outside into the square and sat down at the judgment seat. It was noon on the day everyone was preparing for the Passover festival.
Pilate said to the Jews, “Here is your king.”
They shouted back, “Kill him! Kill him! Crucify him!”
Pilate said, “You want me to crucify your king?”
The religious leaders answered, “We have no king except Caesar.”
At this Pilate caved in and sent him to be crucified.
They took Jesus away. Carrying his cross, they led him out of the city to the place they called Skull Hill. Here they nailed him up, they crucified him with two criminals, one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
Pilate wrote a sign and had it nailed to the cross. It read:
Jesus the Nazarene
the king of the Jews.
On my way to meet with colleagues this morning I heard the still small voice of God in my headphones reminding me of our baptismal calling.Read more
I made the mistake of jokingly saying “I can’t wait for them to just put an implant in my brain that does all of that” in front of my wife yesterday. I am a typical tech geek. I have an iPhone 4 that does everything. People say to me “you’re never off facebook” and my reply is usually, “I’m never on facebook, I am on the bus”. I connect to people all the time and it rarely impacts upon daily life as it happens whilst I commute, walk or eat my lunch. Yesterday my mother in law mentioned that she had lost her phone (old fashioned nokia) and asked me to text it to ask anyone who may have found it to contact her. I said “if I lost my iPhone I could go to your computer and find it on a map. I could send a message to it, lock it down and wipe it’s memory. At this point wife had a small fit and said “Are you mad? You are half way through reading 1984!!”
She has a very good point. Technology is able to set us free, connect us with those we love and enable us to network with others… but it could also be used to perpetuate a regime. I have a mobile device in my pocket that identifies me and my movements. Some people even use it to publish where they are via facebook or foursquare.
There is of course more to this interaction between husband and wife yesterday and the conversation progressed. I recalled that a couple of weeks ago we went to a friend’s house and they have a new Xbox Kinect. I didn’t play but I did watch people jumping around their living room looking foolish (I suspect this is better than playing). Yesterday afternoon I mentioned that it was “cool” and speculated that I would possibly like to have one in the future if I ever had the money. Wife again had a small fit and said she wouldn’t have one in the house. She had noticed something else about the experience. When the three-year old child walked past the screen it said “hello Toby”.
I’m not a particularly paranoid person but when wife said “can you imagine if they put one of those on every street corner?” I was left with an icy chill running down my spine. Will I one day be hiding from the Xbox and iPhone and writing by hand using a contraband journal and pen?
“The thought police would get him just the same. He had committed–would have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper–the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you.”
– George Orwell, 1984