Ethiopia journal: Addresses

The formal printed address for the guest house we stayed at was “Yeka Sub city around Dinbroa general hospital”. That would fit the description of about 1000 other houses, shops, hovels, and apartments. The only access was up an alley with no signs and a latrine ditch on one edge. By the end of the week though, I could have found my way back from quite far away.

In Addis- no addresses, just landmarks and memory. An urban organization for people who live where they work and know their neighbors. What is a detailed address for anyway? The foreigner. Who needs Cartesian coordinates on their GPS? The alien. If you need Google Maps to find out where you are going, it must only mean that you don’t know anyone there to take you or show you where to go. Even the person you are visiting perhaps cannot be bothered to bring you.

We need a careful notation system to foster independence, learning, and information transmission. But it also brings division. The word must be divided to move. But it’s purpose is to be reunited with it’s whole. The incarnation comes to show us God. The Holy Spirit come to be God with us. Who can give the address to where God lives? The streets of heaven are golden, but they have no names (or so says U2).

Who can plot a path with Euclidean dots and lines that lead to His throne room? The seraphim find their way because they know the joint, they know their maker – not because they read the directions on the “you are here” map at the pearly gate of the new Jerusalem.

How do we know each other? By faces, voice, touch and smell? Or by IP address, text message feed and cell number? These things are not necessarily augmentation. We are deceived if we think we are enhancing our existence, amplifying our meaning and footprint, sphere of influence, etc. Becoming a number, even a loud number, does not make us more human but rather less, something else entirely.

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