Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the fastest innovations on the earth, comprising of complex algorithms to help us humans make better decisions. AI can be found in many digital platforms such as; mobile phone applications, media entertainment (Netflix) and speech recognition devices which help disabled individuals communicate. But what about AI in a religious context?
Does AI have a place within the church? Could robotic AI innovation be the future to Christian ceremonies to enable communicating Gods Word in multiple languages? A town called Wittenberg in Germany have welcomed BlessU2 to their church. BlessU2 is a robot with artificial intelligence, it has taken the post as a priest to perform ceremonial blessings in 8 different languages. While this is an excellent way to involve international visitors to the church, could this technological approach also distract peoples spiritual perception and experience in the church?
Furthermore, when we go to church we expect to talk to person... human interaction. To engage with another fellow Christian who can experience the Holy Spirit with you. Can we experience the same with BlessU2? Technology is the future and as mentioned before it does benefit humans in more ways than one. But when it sits next to humanity and moral judgement can it participate in respect to its own perception? For God told us not to follow/ worship idols of what man has made for themselves (Leviticus 26:1).
And why should we be trying to replace ourselves with robots when church is all about meeting, sharing and discussing Holy scripture with one another (Mark 16:15). When sharing an emotional experience we humans require another persons’ emotion to communicate. Artificial intelligence cannot provide this emotional content required to preach and discuss the teachings of Jesus Christ.
BlessU2 is a funny and novel idea which could definitely support and benefit other organisations and businesses but on a genuine, intimate and religious level, it does not have a place in preaching the Good News from the Bible.
Peace be with you all.
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Today children have space to express themselves and availability to pursue their hopes and dreams. Parents strive to guide and provide children with the knowledge, abilities and resources to aid their children in achieving their goals. Children are the future and without guidance they are lost. Society has a silent grip on us all teaching us money, status are important to succeed in this world, while turning heads away from family and public unity. Jesus encouraged children to hear the Words of God (Luke 18:16), for Jesus' words are words to live by and to share with others. We can encourage our children to walk in the light with Jesus Christ by filling their hearts with the Holy Spirit everyday by simply praying before school time and finishing the day with a prayer at the dinner table.
Children learn how to behave and act by; watching parents when they drive the car, talking to friends in the street. They watch, listen and learn from how we live our lives. By studying the Bible with our children and meditating on Gods Words we can enjoy the Holy Spirit as a family which is an added bonus. Children are our closest disciples in the family home, they will not know of the great wisdom and knowledge in the Bible of how to live a pure life if we do not teach, share and apply Jesus' teachings everyday, in everything we do. Some might say "I will let my children choose whether they want to be Christian when they are older", this approach comes with risk of the Kingdom of God being washed away by the tides of societies vanities and slavery.
We have a unique opportunity to fill our children's hearts with the Holy Spirit, to live a Christian life which gives our children great qualities to live by, such as; love, joy, patience, humbleness, inner peace and self -control and kindness (Galatians 5:22). All children should at least be told of the almighty Kingdom of God and its infinite power, which is up for grabs to anyone willing to take that first step into faith (Romans 8:14).
Peace be with you all.
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5 resources you need to help you explore the Bible.
The Bible is a beautiful and important guide to life. It's poetry, history, prophecy, inspiration and love all mixed in. The problem is navigating it means we need a guide to. In this article I have collated 5 tools that may help you do just that.
If you are reading this in early 2018 then you could come along and join our Bible course, Thursday evenings at 730 at EMCC.
Ok, let's get started with number 1 !
1 Bible Gateway
Bible Gateway is a fabulous website for reading and studying the Bible. It's quick and easy search feature lets you find Bible passages in a huge range of translations. The parallels button allows you to compare the same passage in two different versions. This means you can easily compare literal and relative translations. Footnotes are made available to you and there is access to cross references, so you can trace the source of material from other Books.
2 The Bible society
No surprise that these guys appear on the list. The Bible society not only offer you the ability to read and explore the Bible they also have themes to help you review the material in different ways. For example searching for Matthew 1 shows cross referenced material and the core themes in this passage. Its all simply presented as the result of one easy search.
3 Bible study tools .com
Just like the resources above you can jump to a bible reference and use compare and parallel features to look at other passages. One nice feature of this site is the daily reading feature right on the homepage. They also offer other study tools such as a daily devotional and content to make you think.
4 Bible Tools
I really like the interface on this last of the on-line resources. When you look at a passage there are nicely compartmentalised boxes giving different content on that passage. Boxes include commentaries, maps and references.
Much of the content in the above items is similar. Which resource you use really depends on your preference for the layout, and ease of use of the service. They are all really good.
5 User's Guide to the Bible by Chris Wright
Personally I am happiest with a nice physical book. Here I would like to suggest to you. This great little primer is a really good introduction to the Bible. It inspired me to read several Old Testament books I would probably have steered clear of. It takes a well ordered trip through the Bible and puts so much of it into context! If you are local the Christian Resources book have it available very cheaply!
There are so many resources out there and so many ways to explore the Bible and consider your faith and life. To help you along the way we have lots of groups meeting throughout the week at EMC. Please checkout the website and come join us to learn and explore together.
Don't be afraid to ask. Please call text email message or write to us and we will find the best group or class for you:-)
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Well that was an energetic weekend for the youth team at EMC. We spent Saturday night setting up ten "crystal maze" style games to challenge and exhaust our young people. Sunday morning began with a Parade service. That's when the youth organisations (Scouts etc) join us in full uniform to parade their colours. Paul Courtney (from Ivybridge) led a lively service. Paul's theme was authority. He told us how he thought he had been well behaved at school, although his mum found that funny, for some reason.
We joined in with some new songs led by Paul on his guitar, and did a little dancing too!! Not something you want to see me do !
After a snack lunch we cracked on with the final setup for the Sportif at 13:45 welcomed the young people. The event began with a warm up in the hall followed by relay races and a "Who can cycle 0.1 of a mile the fastest!". After a briefing from John W we set off in teams to complete the 10 challenges! These included
- Air Hockey, Cross the river, Fix the track, Table Tennis, Hockey Goals, Move the Junk, Pool, Shoot the Duck and Quoits. We changed games as the whistle blew. It was a very fun afternoon and we had entrants from ages 3 to 70!
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If you are looking to try out Church for the first time, or have moved to the area and are looking to give EMCC a go, let me help you with what happens inside. Often the doors of a Church can be a little bit daunting even fi you are used to Church! New place, new people, new ways of doing things. So here's what happens at EMCC on a sunday morning at 10:30 am.
If you are coming by car there is a small car park at the rear or there is the village car park. The village car park is connected by some steep steps to the Church or you can walk around the front for ramped access. Whether you come in the car park entrance or the main entrance you will be met by one of our welcome team. They will probably shake your hand, introduce themselves and give you a notice sheet. You don't have to stop for a life history here but you are welcome to chat with them.
Once you are inside you can slide along the main corridor or from the car park down the steps or lift to the Broad room. When Rev Simon Leigh our minister is preaching you will find him stood here to say hello. From here a set of wooden doors in gothic style take you into the crush hall and then on into the main church. The main church is laid out with comfortable chairs and don't worry its well heated even in winter.
The front two rows are usually sued by out youth team and if you have a young family they may sit here. To begin with they may like to stick with you, and that's fine. If you do have a young family and you arrive before the service starts please come and have a chat with one of the youth team in the main hall. The main hall or Moore hall as it's called, is located at the top of the first flight of stairs, on the middle level. Most of our sunday school work takes place here. Come along and say hi to Julia, Tony, Tracey, Dawn, Tristan Helen or me (Jon).. We will be pleased to meet you and take you through what's next.
The sunday school folks usually play in the hall just before the service and then head down to the church around 10:25. If you have young ones you can stay with them in the hall and go down at 10:25 or you can take them in the church and they can stick with you or come with JaM (The Sunday School). At 10:30 our service usallu begins with a word from one of the Church stewards. The stewards organise the Sunday service and lead our church. They will welcome everyone and give any notices. Then we open with a short song, usually just a few verses lead by the choir.
Next the preacher will say hello and a few words. During the opening 10 minutes someone from the youth team will probably say a few words about what we are doing that day. We will then sing a hymn and head off to the sunday school.
If you are staying in the Church the sunday service is at the discretion of the presiding preacher. That might be our minister Rev Simon Leigh or more likely someone from another Church. Often it's one of our lay preachers. Usually we sing around 5 or 6 hymns have a sermon of around 20 minutes. We get Bible readings from 2 or 3 of our own members. We almost always have a prayer time where we pray for those people and situations that need our prayers.
The collection is taken is some blue bags. These are passed up and down the rows. A steward will pass it in at the end and another collect it at the far end. Once the collection bags get to the front we all stand as they are taken to the front. This is our way of offering our minds bodies spirits to God alongside the money we offer.
Services commonly end with a blessing or the "The Grace" the grace has words which many of us memorise and it goes like this "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy spirit be with you all, evermore, Amen".
Each month we have a service of Holy Communion. We have an open table in the Methodist Church, that means you don't have to be confirmed to take communion. If you accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, you are welcome. A communion steward will direct you to the front when it is time. If you do not want communion you can stay seated or when you get to the front cross your hands over your chest and the Minister presiding will simply say a blessing over you.
If you take part in communion you will be given a piece of break to take and eat and a small glass of wine to drink. Hold your hands out as the minister comes past to indicate you would like to receive the elements. We kneel at the communion rail for the sacrament. At the end, once you have received the bread and wine the minister will say a blessing and the row of people will stand and return to the seats you came from.
We don't use books for our hymns but we do sometimes use them for communion.
If you are nervous or unsure about our services we would be very happy to chat with you or show you around the building at a none service time. Just give us a call. Our morning service is big and lively with over 100 folks. Our evening service is quieter and attracts around 20 to 30 folks.
Hope this has helped.
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