Ninety years ago on the 2nd October 1925 a Scottish engineer John Logie Baird performed the first test of a working television. He chose to transmit the head of a ventriloquist’s dummy named “Stooky Bill”. This event took place in his attic and was a breakthrough moment, achieving a goal that had been his personal obsession for years. The first public display of a working television was in the Selfridges store, Oxford Street, London, where shoppers saw the slightly blurred, but recognisable, images of letters.
Television is now an everyday part of life: news, drama, comedy, national events, sport, arts and culture, breathtaking pictures of the natural world and bizarre events of “reality TV”. We have more channels than ever before and also ‘on demand’ options so that we can see what we want when we want. Yet, what we watch is a selection, a particular angle or the result of editing. There is a difference between the representation and the reality. What we see may overlap with reality, but is not the whole story. Television screens the truth, so to speak.
Television often shapes how things are presented. Yet, what can’t be avoided is that the world is imperfect and we are ourselves are flawed. In the Holy Bible is a proverb which states this plainly: ‘What is crooked cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted’ (Ecclesiastes 1v15). It is a reminder of our limitations. Another translation puts it: ‘you can’t straighten out what is crooked; you can’t count things that aren’t there’. There are certain things that you simply can’t do anything about to change. So, how can we live wisely?
The writer helps us to recognize the limits of our wisdom so as to persuade us to come to God: ‘Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked?’ (Eccles 7v13). We need God’s wisdom to live by, for our own understanding is severely limited as to what is good for us. We need divine wisdom! Wisdom is found in the person Jesus Christ. He shows how we are to live the way God intended us to live. He shows us God and the wisdom that comes from above.
We start our annual course at the start of this month: ‘One life. What’s it all about? Christianity Explored’ (further details on the church notice board and website). It runs for just seven sessions on Sunday evenings. It is a lifetime investment. Join us.