Tuesday, June 07, 2011


I realize that it has been a little while since I last blogged.  My blogging does tend to go in spurts.  On the one hand, I don't want to get into the habit of just saying something for the sake of it; on the other, I realize it gets a bit pointless if I don't post anything for too long.  So my apologies for the erratic character of my blogging!

Here in Hong Kong, the Summer season is now well and truly upon us.  Temperatures are well into the 30 degrees centigrade.  Strangely, there hasn't been too much rain.  No doubt it will come!  We have had some heavy rainfall, though, and as usual we have new leaks in the Church.  They are not too serious at the moment, but it can get depressing, nevertheless.  Those reading this outside of Hong Kong may be interested in the following which has just been published on news website:

'Shelters have been opened across the territory for people to seek refuge from the heat after the Observatory issued the very hot weather warning. It is forecasting more sweltering weather over the next couple of days and is urging people to take precautions and avoid prolonged exposure to the sun.'

June is always busy both with the Schools and with events and meetings before people go away over the Summer.  Yesterday, however, was a public holiday in Hong Kong so I took advantage of the phone not ringing and fewer emails coming in to choose the hymns for the Sunday services until mid-September.  Apart from feeling very pleased with myself, it is good to know that there is now one less thing to worry about!

Being able to work in relative peace made me realize how much of a distraction email can be.  It is now a fact of life, of course, and it can be very useful, but it does mean that people expect instant responses.  I am reading Tim Challies book, The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion, and he makes the point that any new technology brings advantages and disadvantages.  I remember embracing the email when it was still a relatively new method of communication.  It seemed to offer nothing but advantages over the old postal system.

Even in Banchory a significant part of my day would be spent writing or answering letters, and then walking to the Post Office to catch the last post so that they would arrive - hopefully - in a couple of days so that with any luck I would get a reply if required within a week or so.

The change that email has made not just in speed, but in expectation, was brought home to me last week.

I received an email with a question in it at about 10.00am.  As there was information I needed to gather to answer it, I thought I would leave it until lunch-time to reply.  Meanwhile, the sender grew so anxious that I had not replied immediately, and not being able to get me by phone, phoned a third party to contact someone who would be seeing me later that day to ask me to reply!

Now the business people out there would probably tell me that if I think this is bad, I should try having a Blackberry and see the expectation that this raises.  Which is I suppose my point: do we really need this speed of communication?  Aren't we in danger of sacrificing thoughtful communication for instant communication?  And what is this doing when it comes to prayer and meditating on God's word?

I wouldn't want to be without email.  Forgive me, however, for not rushing out to buy an iphone or Blackberry!

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