Archive for the ‘Ecclesiastes’ Category

Too much for Facebook: Hard work is bad for the soul

I feel inordinately virtuous. Before a lesurely breakfast of porridge with blueberries and brazil nuts at 9, I had not only fed my animals before I fed myself (as my grandad taught me) and read the blogs and “done” my email, as usual, but I’d marked the last of the late assignments, cut a couple of fence posts and most of the panneling for the new vege garden, mulched two tea bushes and pulled up a wheelbarrowful of weeds from under the trellis.

No wonder I feel ordinately, if not inordinately virtuous!

Which introduces neatly my theological point. As I always say, but never hear, hard work is bad for the soul. Feeling virtuous is a form of pride, and pride is one of the (“seven deadly” even) sins.

Before anyone accuses me of preaching laziness I should turn to point out the proper response to such a start to the day… it’s the theological virtue (a true one this time) that Jack in the movie Titanic and Qoheleth (and/or his ambivalent narrator) preach. Thankfulness, such a morning should prompt me to give thanks to the creator for all these opportunities I enjoy. Life is (indeed, and overwhelmingly obviously on such a morning) a gift.

Biblical sense and sensibility

Open Bible has a fascinating on post Applying Sentiment Analysis to the Bible.

Sentiment analysis involves algorithmically determining if a piece of text is positive (“I like cheese”) or negative (“I hate cheese”). Think of it as Kurt Vonnegut’s story shapes backed by quantitative data.

The post started with a plot of the data for the whole Bible, which for anyone interested in the “big picture” of the Bible’s story is fascinating. But the data, calculated using available software on an English translation based on the calculated probability of a verse being positive or negative in sentiment, allows a closer look, and running a five verse running average gives really striking and thought provoking “pictures” of each Bible book.

While Jonah goes from bad to worse ;)

Ruth moves from negative to positive


Which both seem intuitively “right”. However, Esther needs some thought:

Esther: is the beginning really the happiest part?

I’m currently teaching the Song of Songs, and last week was Ecclesiastes, so these are interesting:

They both fit common preconceptions pretty well...


…but is it as simple as that? ;)