Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Reflection - What Does "Tower of Babel" Story Mean For Today?

Tower of Babel story. 
Yesterday thousands of people marched in cities across America to demand that President DT release his tax returns. As I followed this on my Twitter feed, I also saw a story about four major famines taking place in the Middle East and Africa. Hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, will die as a result.

At the same time I'm following the war of words being waged by our President, with North Korea, Russia, China and other countries and I read articles like this about the potential devastation of a nuclear war.

Many eyeballs on some of these stories. Too few on others. And these are just a few of the tragedies and pain spread throughout the world as Christians celebrate the Easter weekend.

I created this concept map last year to point to a variety of web sites that were showing places around the world where people are suffering for a variety of reasons. I see maps as a form of bridge. People can go through the maps to the different places where other people need help.


With so many problems in so many places, how can we attract enough people to all of the places where these problems are concentrated. Can any of these be solved?

In 2011 I wrote an article about the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel. I'm not a Biblical scholar, so I did some searching and came up with this web site that provides a number of Tower of Babel articles worth reading.

As I look at all of the problems facing the world, I think of my own efforts to mobilize people and resources to help kids in high poverty areas have the range of supports they need to be more successful moving safely through school and into adult lives with jobs that enable them to live free of poverty.  

I keep trying to attract a few eyeballs every day to focus on this problem.

This concept map illustrates that there are many problems that challenge all families.  People living in poverty areas have fewer resources to overcome these challenges.  Each spoke on this map represents a challenge families face. Making one service available for a short period of time, in a few places, really does not work, since the other problems still persist.


The story of the Tower of Babel was written more than 2000 years ago. It's a story about how people tried to work together to solve a complex problem. And they failed.

This is the text from Genesis 11:1-9

"Now the whole earth had one language and few words. And as men migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, 'Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.' And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, 'Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.' And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the sons of men had built. And the LORD said, 'Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them

Come, let us go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.' So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.' Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth." (Genesis 11:1-9)

I highlighted nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them because this is where I struggle in my thinking.  If just a small percent of the people in the world focus on helping kids in poverty, much can be done.  If a similar small percent of people focus on each of the other issues, much more might be done.

Connecting and coordinating efforts so all of the nodes on the concept map are connected and learning from each other, has the potential to show that no problem is impossible to solve.

However, in the Bible story, GOD said "let us go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech".


Everyone understands the problem differently, and the words we speak have different meaning, based on different life experiences.

Does the story of the Tower of Babel mean that the GOD that many worship really does not want people to find ways to work together to solve the suffering and potential disasters to the human race that we are facing?

I don't want to believe that.

Read the articles I've written over the past 10 years about networks, network building, learning, innovation and collaboration.  Maybe there's a way to connect and put more eyeballs on each of these problems and use our technology to connect with each other.


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