Everything is broken – BUT
On Saturday 14th November, Steph Cottam and Jacki Turnbull attended the Premier Digital Conference at The Brewery, in London. Here is Jacki’s overview of the day.
Setting an alarm for 5.45am on a Saturday is never an enjoyable concept. However, as this was our third visit to the Premier Digital Conference I knew from past experience that it would be well worth the sacrifice!
I was not disappointed!
The introduction to the conference was given by Andy Walton (writer, broadcaster and Communications Officer for the Centre for Theology and Community) and he gave us a welcome opportunity to pray for Paris, following the devastating attack the evening before. The day consisted of seven sessions for the whole conference and four ‘break-out’ sessions, where each attendee could select a particular seminar suited to their interest/need, from the six available during each slot.
In the first session, Kris Kandiah (President of London School of Theology) encouraged us to be digital Kingdom seekers rather than empire builders, to be digital peacemakers and to be digital luminaries. The encouragement to use Social Media to further the Kingdom and to be true disciples of Jesus in our electronic interaction continued with Miriam Swaffield, Student Mission Team Leader at Fusion. Miriam encouraged us to be authentic, not to present something in our on line profile that isn’t true to us, but also to be creative; we were created to create.
The breakout sessions were useful and it was good to network, along with my colleague Steph, with other people during the breaks (around EXCELLENT free coffee; always good news!), but for me the highlight of the day was the final session by Sheridan Voysey, an Australian-born writer and broadcaster. The last session is often the time when your mind turns to the return home and the next item on your agenda, but there was no possibility of this with Sheridan at the helm. His topic was Create Hope and he began by displaying a number of paintings: the first batch gave images of the perfect English countryside, rolling hills with beautiful cottages nestled in amongst majestic trees and colourful flowers. Not a cowpat in sight. The perspective, he explained, was ‘EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL’. A mind-set that denies any ‘ugliness’ and focuses purely on the beauty of creation and God’s world. By contrast, the second featured artist was as cynical as the first was sentimental, as the images included people represented by rats crowded onto an underground station. The message was ‘EVERYTHING IS BROKEN’. Sheridan’s third set of images were striking – art ‘in the community’ with Arabic writing artistically placed in the midst of broken and ramshackle buildings, declaring messages of hope to the surrounding occupants. Messages like ‘When you see the water remember the source’ or ‘Someone who hasn’t left his mark hasn’t really lived’ and Nelsons Mandela’s exhortation ‘It always seems impossible till it’s done!’ Sheridan encouraged us all not to see that everything is beautiful (being sentimental) or that everything is broken (developing cynicism) but to live from a perspective of ‘EVERYTHING IS BROKEN BUT …’. To bring hope into the lives of those with whom we interact, both on social media and face-to-face with those we live amongst.
Sheridan pointed out that, despite His pain and agony of soul, Jesus brought hope to people even when He was on the cross. The soldiers who crucified Him (Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing), John and Mary (John took Mary into his home from that day), the thief on the cross next to Him (today you will be with Me in glory) and ultimately to the whole human race as He died for our sins. Don’t wait another day to bring hope to the lives of others, don’t wait till you’ve got it sorted yourself, or for ideal circumstances. Jesus died that we might have life and have it abundantly, that abundance starts NOW!