New Friday Series: Interrupted by the Psalms

After only eight installments I'm bringing the "AI Theology" series to a close. Fun while it lasted!

If you want to know why the change, I got bored asking ChatGPT my questions. I did find it interesting, though, how people reacted to the series. Seems like there's a lot of emotion and angst around these chatbots. My feelings are pretty ho-hum, but I find my lack of existential alarm to be a minority view. Perhaps I'm naive. To be sure, I think the specter of an AI with some agency, an AI that wanted and desired things, either algorithmically or sentiently, would pose a risk. I remember the movie War Games! But these chatbots aren't that. ChatGPT strikes me as a pretty banal tool, a cross between Wikipedia and Google search, a way to access stuff already on the Internet through a conversational interface. But again, I might be missing something here.

Regardless, we're moving on to something different on Fridays. And this new series I expect will go on for a very long time.

For a few years now, I've wanted to devote Fridays to the Psalms. I've spent years with Psalms, praying them daily at morning and night. With the Book of Common Prayer, the Liturgy of the Hours, and now with a 30-day cycle used by the BCP (praying through all 150 psalms in 30 days with selections devoted to morning and evening each day. See here.)

What strikes me most about the Psalms are short, arresting lines. There are so many of these lines in any given psalm that you can miss them, overwhelmed by their profusion. Instead of missing the forest for the trees, it's the reverse: Seeing the forest (the entire psalm) but missing the unique and glorious beauty of an individual tree (an arresting poetic image). Isolated and examined on their own, these lines of verse dazzle like diamonds on black velvet. I'd like to devote Fridays to these jewels of poetry. So, we won't be looking at entire psalms on Fridays, but very short lines of verse found within them. The bits of poetry that strike me with their beauty. 

I don't expect to write a ton of commentary about the line of verse I'll share each week, but I will share why the line interrupts me. Why I'm haunted by it. My prayer for the Friday series is to move readers into the weekend on a contemplative, thoughtful note. Is it possible to make online reading, on a blog or Substack, spiritually formative? Perhaps. We shall see. 

To say good-bye to ChatGPT, let's ask the chatbot one last question: "What is your favorite Psalm?" The answer:

As an AI language model, I don't have personal preferences or emotions, so I don't have a favorite Psalm or any personal opinions. However, the Book of Psalms in the Bible contains a collection of beautiful and poetic prayers and songs that are cherished by many people. Different individuals may have their own favorite Psalms based on their personal experiences, beliefs, or the messages that resonate with them.
I'll see you next week with some poetry from Psalm 1.

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