Algorithm MockupPeter told them, “You know it is against the Jewish laws for me to come into a Gentile home like this. But God has shown me in a vision that I should never think of anyone as inferior.” Acts 10:28 provides an “informal” definition of an “algorithm” as “a set of rules that precisely defines the sequence of operations, which would include all computer programs….Algorithms are essential to the way computers process data.” I recently read an article explaining that social media platforms use algorithms to determine what people like and to bombard them with advertisements for those things. Thus, our computer usage keeps us in somewhat of an “information bubble” where we are only exposed to the same things over and over again—unless and until we express an interest in something else. If you only like cupcakes, your computer screen will continue to show you cupcakes until you demonstrate that you also like fudge, and then you will be bombarded with both fudge and cupcakes.


This pattern would seem to stymie our exposure to diverse life experiences. Indeed, algorithms help companies develop “target markets” where cupcake manufacturers don’t waste their time with fudge lovers. But this type of marketing also keeps us from learning that we might like fudge. How would we know if we are never exposed to fudge?


Peter had a vision of the heavens opening up and a large sheet being lowered containing “all sorts of animals, snakes, and birds forbidden to the Jews for food” (Acts 10:12). A voice said, “Go kill and eat any of them you wish.” Peter’s “algoriths,” as it were, caused him to reply that he would never eat unfamiliar things “forbidden by (the) Jewish law” (v. 13). But the response was, “Don’t contradict God!” The vision was repeated three times. Shortly thereafter, Peter was summoned to Caesarea to meet with Cornelius, a Roman officer, “a good and godly man, well-thought of by the Jews” (v.22). Cornelius, a Gentile but clearly a believer in God, beseeches Peter to enter his home and spend time with him. Peter “algorithms” are radically changed when he realizes that his vision was not about food, but about God’s ability to cleanse the hearts of people other than the Jews. He accepts Cornelius’ invitation.


Lord, free us from the “algorithms” of sameness, and move us to love all of Your precious children! Amen


Meg Blaine Corrigan tells stories of wisdom, strength, fear, joy and risk-taking. Daughter of a raging alcoholic mother, and survivor of sexual assault at gunpoint, Corrigan has shaken a dismal past and flung herself into the arms of Christ, Who sustains her in her daily walk of grace. She shares with her listeners her incredible story of surviving and thriving through many trials during her seven decades walking this fragile earth. She has been described as a Renaissance Woman, integrating her formal training in psychology and counseling, an enlightening experience as a percussionist for a Polynesian show troupe, and most recently as an inspirational author and blogger. Her exposure to many life experiences has enriched her passion for spreading Christ’s word and helping other trauma survivors. She has a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling and thirty-plus years of experience in the field of counseling and social work.  She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, with the love of her life, Patrick, and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger.


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