The high anthropology of our age trains us to think of ourselves as unique, while our online activity is relentlessly mined and analysed in order to define how we’re exactly like so many others.
The same online portals who flatter us as unlike anyone else follow all our movements and work out how to market to our desires of the moment by comparing us with others in real time.
They attract us with the high anthropology of our uniqueness and our ability to engineer a perfect life; yet they process the data they receive with the low anthropological view that we’re really all alike, and our desires will never be satisfied.
Today, the “uncanny ad” is commonplace. You read some grill reviews on Amazon one night, and the next time you log into Facebook, postings for wireless cooking thermometers and small-batch BBQ sauce are clogging your feed. Other times it’s more subtle. You haven’t even announced your engagement to be married yet. but your patterns of purchases fit the mod, so the airlines are pitching you honeymoon flights before you’ve told your parents.
Experiences like these are endemic to the age of the algorithm, a time increasingly ruled by those complex codes that order our experience of the internet. Now companies know so much about their customers they have to be careful to avoid public-relations snafus… Algorithms work only because, despite how loudly we may insist on our uniqueness, we are a predictable species.
David Zahl, Low Anthropology, Brazos Press, 2022, pg 44.
Where We’ll Never Grow Old.
The older I get, the more of a comfort that is.
James C. Moore wrote the words and music over 100 years ago.
I have heard of a land
On the faraway strand,
’Tis a beautiful home of the soul;
Built by Jesus on high,
There we never shall die,
’Tis a land where we never grow old.
Never grow old,
Where we’ll never grow old,
In a land where we’ll never grow old;
Never grow old,
Where we’ll never grow old,
In a land where we’ll never grow old.
In that beautiful home
Where we’ll nevermore roam,
We shall be in the sweet by and by;
Happy praise to the King
Through eternity sing,
’Tis a land where we never shall die.
When our work here is done
And the life crown is won,
And our troubles and trials are o’er,
All our sorrows will end,
And our voices will blend
With the loved ones who’ve gone on before.
Chapter 29 – Of the Lord’s Supper Paragraphs 1-4 I. Our Lord Jesus, in the night wherein he was betrayed, instituted the sacrament of his body and blood, called the Lord’s Supper, to be observed in his Church unto the end of the world; for the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of himself in his death, the sealing all benefits thereof unto true believers, their spiritual nourishment and growth in him, their further engagement in and to all duties which they owe unto him; and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other, as members of his mystical body. II. In this sacrament Christ is not offered up to his Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sins of the quick or dead, but commemoration of that one offering up of himself, by himself, upon the cross, once for all, and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same; so that the Popish sacrifice of the mass, as they call it, is most abominably injurious to Christ’s one only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect. III. The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to declare his word of institution to the people, to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to an holy use; and to take and break the bread, to take the cup, and (they communicating also themselves) to give both to the communicants; but to none who are not then present in the congregation. IV. Private masses, or receiving this sacrament by a priest, or any other, alone; as likewise the denial of the cup to the people; worshipping the elements, the lifting them up, or carrying them about for adoration, and the reserving them for any pretended religious use, are all contrary to the nature of this sacrament, and to the institution of Christ.
Place card from the wedding of two young people who have grown up in our church. The occasion also saw a reunion of many others who have grown up in our midst and who have moved away to pursue their adult lives. The wedding, seeing them all gathered, and hearing of how they are going on with Jesus has been a memorable day of thankfulness for the privilege of being part of their lives and for their being part of our church.