Thursday, 27 October 2011

H@ppy birthday email!

I notice that that (nearly) indispensable tool of modern communication, the e-mail, is forty years old this month.

The first message, sent in October 1971, travelled a distance of one metre between two computers. One small step for a message, one giant leap for mankind.

By the end of the 1990s, e-mail had become an essential part of working life in many offices around the world. By 2008, 170 billion e-mails were being sent each day, at a rate of 2 million per second. It hasn’t stopped accelerating; by 2010, the daily rate was 294 billion. Now, many of us are constantly checking our e-mails: we have access to them wherever we are (or not, in the case of BlackBerry recently). We’ve come a long way in 40 years.

This got me thinking of another anniversary: going back ten times further in history, to 1611, it's 400 years this year since the King James (or Authorised) version of the Bible in English was published. While not the first translation of the Bible into English, what is now familiar to us- an everyday part of our lives, which we now perhaps take for granted- was at the time a revolutionary departure. One of the express intentions of translation project was to make the Bible accessible to the ordinary person.

We may not consult our Bibles as often as we do our e-mails: perhaps we would all benefit from doing so! We need to use all the means at our disposal to communicate the good news of the Gospel. The church still has a message- even if the ways of communicating it has changed.

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