Minister’s Message for April, 2024

I have just returned from a two-week trip to South Korea with my husband. We had a wonderful time learning about the country’s history and culture, and touring to see culturally significant places.

We don’t speak Korean; fortunately most of the transportation signage is in English in addition to Hangul, the Korean alphabet, so we could get around. Everywhere we went and everything we did required our full attention, as we navigated language and cultural differences.

It occurred to me during our time there that the experience of travelling can feel similar to what’s it like living through our rapidly changing times. As artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are being developed and starting to be used, we are presented with increasing challenges in determining what is “real” (defining reality is its own challenge) and what has been created by AI. The spread of misinformation and disinformation were already problems before AI, and these problems are simply escalating.

Engaging with news, the internet, and the world requires our full attention. People around us, particularly people from different generations than our own, may be speaking a language that feels unfamiliar, with references and shorthand that we don’t understand. Keeping up with the language of popular culture is time consuming, but not doing so means being less conversant and in touch with the ideas of the moment.

The result is that we can feel disoriented like tourists even as we stay at home and travel nowhere.

With this parallel in mind, I want to offer some “travel tips” that might help us in our daily lives.

  1. Don’t assume that someone who does things differently than you do is bad or wrong. Different is just different.
  2. If you don’t understand why someone likes doing something (looking at their phone, for example), consider that you might want to learn more about their behavior in order to understand it. Find your curiosity and let go your judgment.
  3. Suspicion might be a helpful warning system. A photo that seems too beautiful to be real? It may not be. An offer that seems too good to be true? It may not be.
  4. And lastly, don’t be afraid to engage with the world! It can be daunting to travel in a world that is confusing and challenging, but the rewards and delights are out there as well.



To schedule an appointment with Rev. Sharon:

Text or call: 619.871.9959