Surveillance Capitalism and the Loving Gaze of God


Grve Booklet


This little booklet from Grove Books is an excellent piece of work from Mark Ireland, Archdeacon of Blackburn in the Church of England.


Quote from Cover

The Internet has revolutionised how we interact with the world and one another. Yet the technology  that many of us use on an everyday basis comes at an often unseen cost. Surveillance capitalism is the practice of exploiting information about individual’s preferences habits and behaviour for profit.  This incisive study surveys a handful of large corporations and contrasts their  unhealthy use of surveillance with a loving gaze of God. It argues that we must be aware of the pitfalls of the digital revolution, while finding creative ways to harness it, include the marginalised, build social capital and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ

First Class review and analysis of the ground and is far more accessible than Zuboff’s magisterial Surveillance Capitalism (London: Profile Books 2019).

I would have welcomed a little more theological reflection on the “Loving Gaze of God” although pointers to E Stoddart’s The Common Gaze (London: SCM Press 2021) was most useful.

This booklet is highly recommended:

But it from Grove Books – Here is a link

E 206 Surveillance Capitalism and the Loving Gaze of God

Universal Diaspora – Words from a Yiddish Mystic


I’ve always been intrigued by the motif of diaspora whether it’s the Jewish dispersion in the time of Jeremiah (whose picture I have in my study), or whether it’s today with the dispersion of Christian believers from the culture.

I was therefore intrigued to come across a Jewish publication called “Tablet”, (Not THE Tablet, a UK-based liberal Catholic magazine)

The article is about artist Daniel Kahn who writes and sings from a Yiddish perspective.

Yiddish (ייִדיש, יידיש or אידיש, yidish or idish, pronounced [ˈ(j)ɪdɪʃ], lit. ’Jewish’; ייִדיש-טײַטש, Yidish-Taytsh, lit. ’Judeo-German’)[8] is a West Germanic language historically spoken by Ashkenazi Jews. It originated during the 9th century[9] in Central Europe, providing the nascent Ashkenazi community with a High German-based vernacular fused with many elements taken from Hebrew (notably Mishnaic) and to some extent Aramaic.

In his song, Universal Dispora, Daniel suggests that Jewishness is not to do with blood or land or religion but something else. Maybe something to do with wandering ??



Where Did Covid-19 Actually Come From – Viscount (Matt) Ridley


I was a little hesitant at posting this. Anyone who queries the ‘received wisdom’ is automatically a ‘conspiracy theorist’ and you can get shut down.

But Matt Ridley’s work, along with scientist Alina Chan is important. What’s more it’s lucid. Take time and give some thought to this.

(The first minute or two is a bit rubbish with a knocking sound but keep with it)



How the Left Fell for Capitalism

Kingsnorth Essay

Came across this remarkable essay by Paul Kingsnorth on how the left has become the new capitalists. He starts by reliving his anti globalist left wing glory days


Back then, excitable young anti-capitalist that I was, I believed that I was part of a worldwide “mass movement” which was rising up against the colonisation of the world’s economies and cultures by an unaccountable corporate elite.

Since at least the end of the Cold War, the declared aim of the Western powers has been the spread of a global market economy, combined with a liberal politics and culture, to every benighted corner of the Earth. Since a globalised market can’t function without globalised tastes (you can’t sell your cheap burgers to Asia until you’ve convinced Asians that they’re lovin’ it), and since liberalism also needs an appropriate soil to seed in, the momentum of this ideological crusade is towards the creation of one global culture, whether the world wants it or not.

This threefold rollout — global economy, global culture and global political system, all of them based on the American model — has long been referred to with the bland moniker “globalisation”; or globalism, if you prefer. In reality, it is a form of soft colonialism — the latest iteration of Western empire — and a hugely successful one.

He gives a passing nod to where the left has been proven correct in its analysis.

Though wrong about plenty of things, the Left has traditionally been correct about the negative impacts of global capitalism, while the Right has floundered about denying its impacts on the poor, on democracy and on nature, generally valorising greed and rapine, and then wondering where the “traditional values” they love so much have gone. You wouldn’t have found any conservatives on the barricades at the anti-WTO protests. Most of them were either inside hymning the virtues of “free” trade, or back in Washington or London ginning up the next Middle East war.

He then notes where the true anti globalists are to be found

How times have changed. Here in the 2020s, the Left anti-globalism that I once thought was the movement of the future is barely in evidence anywhere. The most incisive opponents of corporate globalisation today are often to be found on the Right; or at least, not from any identifiable sector of the Left. Conservative, traditionalist and “post-liberal” critiques of the impact of globalisation on local communities, nation states, social cohesion, family formation, working class prospects, culture and even (though not often enough) the natural world are pouring out daily. The post-working class Left, meanwhile, has veered into an identity politics cul-de-sac, dictated largely by its commitment to an elite class war and an obsessive pursuit of cultural inversion.

He then raises perhaps the most important question

But what if both of them were something else? What if the ideology of the corporate world and the ideology of the “progressive” Left had not forged an inexplicable marriage of convenience, but had grown all along from the same rootstock? What if the Left and global capitalism are, at base, the same thing: engines for destroying customary ways of living and replacing them with the globalised, universalist, technological matrix that is currently rising around us?

Now – there’s a thought. And then, for my money, a key passage

This is where we are. The post-modern Left, which has seized the heights of so much of Western culture, is not some radical threat to the establishment: it is the establishment. Progressive leftism is market liberalism by other means. The Left and corporate capitalism now function like a pincer: one attacks the culture, deconstructing everything from history to “heteronormativity” to national identities; the other moves in to monetise the resulting fragments.

Read it all

A Theology for Exiles?


We need to take a leaf out of the book of the Epistle to Diognetus:
For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines. But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life. They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. They are poor, yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonoured, and yet in their very dishonour are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are justified; they are reviled, and bless; they are insulted, and repay the insult with honour; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred.