A community reshaping itself to be fit for God's purpose.
 Thursday, November 21st, 2019
Facing into the future – cyberspace, God, and all that!

Some believe that the current turmoil we are living through is a temporary aberration after which things will all eventually settle down and return to normal again. There was so much wrong with the old normal that I for one do not want to go back to. I believe we are in a major change transition, fueled by a threshold shift that will bring changes we can’t yet delineate.

The staff team with David Brookhart spent two days this week being trained in REALM - the new data management software we have chosen to go live with next year. This is a wonderful cloud-based system that will really take our organizational capacities to the next level. By bringing all our desperate data information systems and reports together in one place, we will be able to more effectively serve and communicate with our membership. I can boldly announce that St Martin’s is venturing further into the future that is increasingly focused in cyberspace.

In a recent conversation at Christchurch Greenwich, CT, the journalist and author Tom Friedman noted that we now live at least 51% of our lives in cyberspace. It’s where we go to buy a house, buy a book, order groceries, do our banking, look for a date, a partner or spouse, and soon – we will manage our parish life here. We may increasingly live in cyberspace, but does God?

In answer to the question is God in cyberspace, Friedman quoted one of his spiritual advisors, his rabbi no less – who teaches that we have both a Biblical and a post-Biblical understanding of God. I find this distinction to be incredibly helpful!

Cyberspace is an amoral if not immoral space full of some very pernicious and completely unregulated projections of humanity’s dark side. Friedman notes it’s a space where we are all connected but no one is in charge. It’s lawless and unregulated – no rules, no laws, no protections afforded by agreed enforcement or policing mechanisms. Cyberspace represents a new world where we’ve never been before and where the Biblical God of justice and judgment seems absent. It’s a world where one person could kill all of us and where all of us- if we put our minds to it - can become God-like in our capacity to address and fix all the problems currently facing us.

The Biblical view of God is of the Almighty who smites evil and rewards good. God is God because of the way God behaves. On the face of things, cyberspace is a place devoid of such divine regulation. The post-Biblical view God is manifested through the way we behave. This means it’s up to us to bring God into the moral emptiness of cyberspace by the way we behave there; through the values systems and enforcement expectations we build and hold one another accountable to.

Being Christian (or Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or Sikh for that matter) compels us to view the world through a particular lens – the lens of compassion, personal responsibility, and mutual accountability. Here the focus is on the quality of the choices we make, on the compassion of the attitudes we hold, on the integrity of the actions we take, and by the courage of the convictions we live by. Cyberspace poses a Biblical challenge and also a post-Biblical opportunity. The seeming absence of a God identified by Biblical behavior compels us to make God present through the integrity and conviction of the lives we build and share there, together.

Don’t forget, a principal expression of being Christian is to be in Church on Sunday.
This coming Sunday is Ingathering when if you have not done so already please return your 2020 estimate of giving (pledge) card during the service.

See you there!

Mark+
2019 DCYF Christmas Project
I n its 9th year, St. Martin’s parishioners are participating in buying Christmas gifts for 50 children and youth involved with the RI Dept. of Children, Youth and Families.  Sign-ups are in the atrium after church . Please return your gift to the church by Sunday, December 15th to ensure delivery to the children in time for Christmas.
Questions? Please contact Rich Turilli at  Richard.turilli@gmail.com  or Karen Ng at  dockng@hotmail.com
Stop Press!
This coming Sunday is Ingathering Sunday.
If you you have not already done so, please return your 2020 estimate of giving (pledge) card during the service.

T hanksgiving bags are also due this Sunday.
They will be distributed to Better Lives RI and Camp Street Ministries.

Interfaith Service at Temple Beth-El
Tuesday, November 26, 7 p.m.
Guest speaker
Dr Annie De Groot from Clinca Esperanza

Advent Festival
Sunday, December 1, during coffee hour after the 9:30 a.m. service.

St. Martin's Community Carol Sing
Sunday, December 15, 3 p.m.
IMPORTANT LINKS

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