Thursday, August 21, 2014

Editorial: Let’s be a “good” church

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. There are talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) — plus science, business, global issues, the arts, and much more.

Policy advisor Simon Anholt has dreamed up an index to get governments thinking outwardly: In a recent riveting and funny TED Talk that had 800,000 views in two weeks, Anholt presents his Good Country Index to answer the question, “Which country does the most good?”

To arrive at a conclusion, Anholt measures how much each country on earth contributes, not to its own population, but to the rest of humanity. Those contributions are then compared per capita and per dollar of GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

Anholt’s research seems viable; you can make your own decision after viewing his list at His conclusions may surprise you: Ireland is Number One; the U.S. is Number 21.

If you’re up to a thought-provoking exercise, turn Anholt’s research into a deliberate provocation by viewing Anholt’s 18-minute talk at

After you’ve viewed the video ask yourself questions that come to mind as you think about world issues and how they might relate to issues that face the Christian church.

Be careful! Provocations can reveal new and helpful insight. They can also lead you down the wrong roads. So, pull your discernment hat down tight.

Might some of these points made by Anholt provoke us to any new insight?:

  1. “Globalization has taken us by surprise and we have been slow to respond to it.”
  2. “The seven billion of us who caused world problems are the same seven billion who will resolve them all.”
  3. “Every country believes them-selves to be an island that exists quite happily and independently of all the others on its own little planet in its own little solar system.”
  4. A psychopath is a person who lacks the ability to empathize. They don’t see other human beings with deep, rich, three-dimensional personal lives with aims and ambitions. What they see is cardboard cutouts.”
  5. “Many thousands of years ago we discovered that if we do the same things, we wouldn’t die. So as long as we carry on doing the same things we’d be OK. It’s very sensible not to do anything new, because it might kill you.”
  6. “I used to think that I wanted to live in a rich country, a happy country, a fast-growing, competitive country. I want to live in a good country.”

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