Monday, December 07, 2015

Thought for the Day

As delivered at BBC Radio Bristol this morning:

I was thinking the other day about the arbitrary nature of our concept of speed. Can I pack it into my 285 words and 1 minute 45 seconds?

1 mile was originally the distance covered in 1,000 paces.

An hour is one twenty fourth of the time it takes for the moon to orbit the Earth.

So exceeding 30mph means you travel more than 30,000 paces in the time it takes the moon to go 1/24th of the way round the earth.

Of course this is not covered in a speed awareness course. That would be silly.

But my own speed awareness advice stems from when I read some of the great stories of the Hebrew Bible; what Christians call the Old Testament. There I find a different concept of time.

When strangers are invited to 'Stay and eat with us' instructions are often issued to the servants to make bread and prepare the fatted animal. This is not, by any definition, fast food. Rest, care of the animals and conversation would all take place whilst waiting for the food to be ready. Nobody phoned for pizza or popped down the chippy.

A thousand new labour-saving devices since the Bible and we fill the time saved with (beat) extra labour. What changed? Why are we so anxious to be at our destination a little faster?

I can't give a detailed answer except to recite a list of qualities of Christian behaviour St Paul lists. He says the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Did you spot the ones that would make us all more speed aware? Perhaps peace, patience and self-control. It would be a start.

This was followed by a brief discussion on whether this vicar had a clean licence (I do but it hasn't always been so) followed by the revelation that I am much older than I look.

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