Thursday, May 29, 2008

Son of a Preacher Man

Gordon Brown has taken quite a battering of late. Yet I am always impressed by the man. I took the time, this morning, to read his speech to the Church of Scotland Assembly. It is a passionate invocation of the need for a church to be outward looking, to forge and create links throughout the world and (ultimately) create a vision of justice and peace for all. One bit that caught my attention was the following:
Let us go back for a moment to the world of those pioneers of globalisation, the early Church of Scotland missionaries. Once we relied on just a lone missionary finding common ground with a few local people in an isolated community. Today modern means of communication like the internet enable millions of us to link up, debate and organise across frontiers - summoning the moral sense of communities to shape the way we run our world. Until a few years ago we would say to each other - 'if only people could speak to each other, could communicate across borders and boundaries, if only we could connect people would discover how much they had in common'. Now we are in a new world divided - yes - by vast distances of space but united by instant ties of cyberspace. A world without walls, borders, barriers and frontiers where we are neighbours not because we are on the same street but because we are on the same networks; meeting on Facebook if not face to face; sharing in the online world - the one continent that everyone can inhabit. So contrary to received wisdom, the greatest arsenal of power today is not nuclear or biological or chemical but people --- the discovery of our capacity to come together across borders and oceans and to stand together as one. And what I want to argue is that the joining of these two forces - the information revolution and the human urge to co-operate for justice - makes possible for the first time in history something we have only dreamt about: the creation of a truly global society. A global society where people anywhere and everywhere can discover their shared values, communicate with each other and do not need to meet or live next door to each other to join together with people in other countries in a single moral universe to bring about change.
There are some deeply questionable bits in there (e.g single moral universe - dear gracious is this Colonialism 2.0?!!) but there is a deeper yearning that I find quiet appealing. Anyway, take a read of Brown, then read Thatcher's sermon on the mound then finish off with the original sermon on the mount. Take Care Y'All john

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