The Apocalypse Will Blossom: The Launch of ERTN

culture europe theology Nov 13, 2019
Last weekend in the medieval city of Utrecht, a centre of Christian thought since the 8th century, a group of Europeans (plus one invited American guest, Maria French, Hatchery Director) to launch a new venture.  Attendees, all of whom are thinkers, theologians and practitioners, from The Netherlands, U.K., Norway, Sweden, Romania and Ireland came together to participate in the European Radical Theology Network (ERTN).
 
ERTN is committed to re-framing radical theology in the European context, to supporting existing work and to fostering new projects across Europe. The state of religion across Europe is vastly different from North America, church attendance and interest in traditional religion, though varying slightly from country to country, is virtually non-existent. But there is renewed interest in alternative spirituality, and with questions concerning meaning coupled with a growing hunger for a different way of life that meaningfully addresses the issues...
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Robo-priests and Techno-rituals

culture Oct 04, 2019

“Artificial intelligence has developed to such an extent we thought it logical for the Buddha to transform into a robot," said the head priest at a 400 year old Buddhist Temple in Kyoto, Japan, that recently installed a humanoid robot to teach younger generations about Buddhism. 

"Mindar" earlier this year. The robot is a 6-foot tall android,  and modeled after Kannon, the Buddhist deity of mercy. 

Robotics have played an increasing role in Japanese life and are seen as friendly, perhaps because their comic book culture has generally presented them that way and Westerners might look at these developments with a more suspicious eye but that has not stopped the exploration of religion and robotics. According to an article on zdnet.com.  (Click here for full article)

Ilia Delio, a professor of Christian Theology at Villanova University, offered some thoughts about this Buddhist robot, and the potential for the use of A.I. and robotics in...

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No Future?

culture Sep 17, 2019

There was an article in the New Yorker magazine a couple of years ago called, Doomsday prep for the super-rich. It was one of a slew of articles that have emerged in various media outlets over the past couple of years that have addressed the ways in which even the incredibly wealthy among us are feeling a certain anxiety about the future. 

It’s difficult to avoid all the crisis talk that fills the airwaves: climate change, debt, food deserts, clean water, masses of discarded plastic filling the oceans, populism nationalism, racism, shootings, stabbings, the list goes on and on. And apparently it is not just the poor and the middle-class who are feeling the pressures and concerns of all this, we all seem to have lost sight of the future. 
 
I am old enough to remember when there was still an enthusiasm for the future, when it heralded a better life, a better world for all. That seems like such a long time ago now. Somewhere along the way we seem to have...
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The Ice Cream Index

culture Aug 12, 2019

Zopa is one of the many online money-lending companies that is championing peer-to-peer loans to help people avoid high interest loans from institutional banks and regain financial stability and move towards debt-free living. It bills itself as the Feel Good Money company, and while its focus has been on online lending, it is moving towards becoming a physical bank offering new approaches to banking. The company does a lot of research to determine what people really need when it comes to financial issues and recently conducted a survey called the Ice Cream Index.

Taking cues from social media, which tend to celebrate aspirational luxury lifestyles and living, the company wanted to discover what people really thought would bring them happiness. They asked Britons to consider 100 summertime spends and give them a happiness rating out of a 1000. The scores were calculated against the cost of the items to reveal the list of summer feel good items.

The results were quite...

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Unavoidable and Unpredictable

culture Apr 09, 2019
“One became great by expecting the possible, 
another by expecting the eternal, 
but he who expected the impossible became greatest of all.”
Søren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling
 
 
Kierkegaard famously said that the great person is the one who expects the impossible. This statement begs the question of how exactly one expects what is essentially beyond the realm of expectation? 
 
In our online Spiritual Entrepreneur class we discussed the relation between the unavoidable and the unpredictable. The unavoidable, is the world we all see coming, usually characterized by what is no longer working and the inevitably of decline. It’s the statistics we all know and read about; the future of faith, the decline of denominations, the loss of church attendees, the rise of the nones and the spiritual but non-aligned and so on. In his book, The Inevitable, Kevin Kelly outlines twelve technological trends that will shape the future in...
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