I don’t do everything Bill Gates tells me to do. But when a fascinating person calls a book “fascinating” I pay attention. Yuval Noah Harari’s new book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is quite the idea sparker.
The subtitle of this book could be Algorithms R Us. But don’t let that scare you.
I would love to read this book with a group of people – preferably over coffee and French Pastries* – and connect the spiritual dots with you. Although like Bill Gates, I don’t agree with all the suggestions Yuval Noah Harari makes** in terms of where we are going as a society, his insights are fantastic regarding everything from work and community to religion and God (which get separate chapters.)
This book speaks volumes about where the Church is going – or needs to go- in the coming years and I am seriously craving Future Talk time. With croissants.
Favorite insights so far:
- “In a world deluged by irrelevant information, clarity is power.” This makes me think that we preachers and teachers need to be much clearer. I once heard a whole Easter sermon about “the theory that Jesus really rose on a Wednesday.” (Save us Jesus.)
- “The first step (to overcoming our disillusionment) is to tone down the prophecies of doom and switch from panic mode to bewilderment. Panic is a form of hubris. It comes from the smug feeling that one knows exactly where the world is heading: down. Bewilderment is more humble and therefore more clear-sighted. Actually, I would say that we need to switch from panic to wonder. (As in: I wonder where God is in this.)
- “Personally I like the idea of descending not from brutal world conquerors but from insignificant people who seldom poked their noses into other people’s business.” I love this from the Jewish Harari who notes that “Prior to 1800, the Jewish impact on science was limited.” His point is the same as Rick Warren’s in the first line of The Purpose Driven Life: We are not the center of the universe.
There are quite a few OUCH moments in this read – which sparks excellent conversation. We in the Church must never be afraid of conflict if we hope to thrive in the 21st Century.
*As I shared on FB, I just found out that the Amelie’s on North Davidson Street in Charlotte is open 24/7 – 365 days a year. This is profoundly good news and I’m a little peeved that it took me almost six months in this city to discover this crucial piece of information.
**”Although like Bill Gates, I . . . ” is a hilarious thing to type. Nobody confuses me with Bill Gates.