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Turtles

October 9, 2006

The turtle face. A Mexican handicraft from Loreto made from a coconut shell. This little image sometimes speaks volumes on our lifestyles. Make sure the shell is secure and then retract. Whatever the pain, I am inside so leave me alone.

I found a book “Prayer and Modern Man” by Jacques Ellul which I had bought 30 years ago and had not read. He speaks of prayer in the following passages.

Commenting on why people do not pray – “We are concerned with ourselves, with the actual situation of contemporary man, in our technical, technicalized society, with the situation of the person who does not want to pray because nothing invites him to do so, for whom everything is a deterrent from it.”

When speaking of Durer’s Praying hands picture – “They express the cessation of activity, the composure of heart which goes with a morning of promise or an evening of work completed.”

Speaking of prayer as some suggest “a telephone to heaven” – “Thus the device itself gives me assurance because a means is at hand and I can do something.”

These are very powerful statements that speak to the culture we live in today. These were written before the advent of the personal computer. It is apparent that Ellul saw what technology, now maybe viewed in it’s infancy, was and would become to the human condition. He says that everything is a deterrent from prayer. That our lives speak bluntly to that which we lack. That cessation of activity…when is that experienced these days? And doesn’t a personal computer need an inscription stating that “it gives me assurance because a means is at hand and I can do something”. Prophetic words to a silent and unlistening world.

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