The Pope and TED

The Pope gave a TED talk! It took a while for me to wrap my head around that as the two seemed worlds apart. What’s the spiritual leader of almost a quarter of the world’s population doing speaking to a popular technology and design conference? Would the people at the conference accept a message from a religious figure? A quick online search later, I found that the Dalai Lama spoke at a previous TED conference so Pope Francis was not the first religious leader to speak and neither will he be the last. But his presence, albeit via a recorded video clip, spoke volumes about how he truly seeks to bring the Lord’s light to all the world.

He spoke on three broad themes: the need to recognise that we are relational beings who rely on each other; the need for us to balance technological advancement with care for each other; and the need for tenderness and humility in all that we do. Simple messages spoken in a very simple manner but having a depth that, I hope, would cut many to the heart. His very presence in the TED talk showed his humility. It is consoling to see that he took the time and trouble to speak to this very secular but very popular conference, demonstrating also the wisdom of using such a platform to reach people whom he might otherwise not reach. That he addressed the science and technology community directly and called for more care from them was also a sign of his recognition of their importance and his willingness to be present to them.

I will let the message speak for itself – it was moving in many ways for me. But I was moved not just by the message but by the messenger too. He spoke with a vitality and energy that captivated; his talk was very simple yet very effective in its ability to cut right to the heart. He spoke with the full power of the Christian message, using examples from Scripture and the Christian life, bringing the true light of the Lord to a world badly in need of it. The simplicity of his language (simple enough for me to understand almost all of it without subtitles – yay!) gives a stark contrast with the technological bells and whistles that are usually found at TED. It was truly a message sorely needed, one that brings not just hope but the possibility of admitting that we aren’t as smart or strong as we think we are. Pope Francis ended with the need for tenderness – perhaps it’s also a call for us to be tender with ourselves too. To be gentle with our weaknesses, hoping that others too will be gentle with ours.

A better world has been painted. Dare we step into this new possibility?

Click on the ‘CC’ button on the bottom right to enable subtitles.


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about the brushhead

had a head like a brush (it's more like an egg now). seeks to sweep through thought and faith with that brush. tries to wax philosophical but often forgets to wax off. trying to be good brush to all, while discerning what kind of brush he's meant to be.

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