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Through a glass darkly - Pastor's Pen for 2nd July 2023

Harbour Bridge with reflection, early morning

As time goes on and age increases, I become more aware that knowledge is uncertain. I might think something, but another person has a different view. The news environment and the social media infrastructure available today is completely different than it was at the beginning of my adult working life. Anyone is free to share what they think online, without editorial moderation, and share they do. Although why some people think others would want to read their ill-formed thoughts and prejudices liberally seasoned with flagrant abuses of English grammar is beyond me. Don't get me started on apostrophes.

Everyone prominent, from former Prime Minister Ardern to the recent referee of the Super Rugby final, Ben O'Keefe, is subject to abuse; rape threats, death threats and various other disparagements online. Is this now the level of public discourse in the land? Shame, shame, shame. O'Keefe told One News; “Unfortunately, as a union referee at the highest level, I have had to accept and grow accustomed to the post-match vitriol that fans normalise post game,” Online abuse is becoming a form of self-therapy for the abuser.

My habit is to avoid online comment in any forum likely to be controversial. Increasingly, if I'm not sure what to say, I refrain from speech. Well thought out, infrequent public utterances have more impact anyway.

Increasingly, my soul turns inward to prayer, often in silence. My communications are more likely to be spoken than written, lest they be taken in evidence and I get cancelled. Apostle Paul in 1 Cor 13: 11-12 notes;

"When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known."

Some ancient texts would substitute 'dimly' for 'as in a riddle' which should give us pause for thought before we attempt to offer our knowledge or opinion on any matter. If we seek to operate in the context of God's love, as we should, we should do so from the humble perspective that our knowledge is limited, until such time as body and mind are renewed in God's new heavens and new earth. As Christians our speech should be tempered this way.

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