speaking my mind

speechSome of you who have persevered with me for many years will recall that I used to dictate bloggages using voice recognition software. After a while I stopped using it (partly because it could be a little frustrating, partly because I found the microphone headset uncomfortable, partly because background noise kept giving erroneous results, partly because I got out of practice, but mostly because it kept crashing and would not install on my new computer).

Even though I had stopped using the software I was still a registered user as far as the software company was concerned and recently they sent me a special offer to buy the latest version at a considerable discount. I ummed and aahed for a while (which really would have confused the voice recognition software) and eventually decided that I would invest in the latest version. The new version was promising far more accurate voice recognition and that it could use the built-in microphone in my computer rather than me needing to wear a headset. It also promised compatibility with the operating system on my computer. And, to be fair, it is living up to all those promises.

As always I have to be careful that I review what I have ‘written’ because it can still misunderstand me (sometimes with hilarious results, but usually just awkwardly and annoyingly). But reviewing what I have written is not a bad practice: it’s always better to check before sending anything. And while the sound of my dictation can annoy the person in the next room once some changes have taken place at home that will be nobody nearby to annoy.

Even though I did not consider myself a current user of the software it is interesting that the software manufacturer still regarded me as a registered user. It reminds me a little bit of some churches who have not reviewed their membership lists for ages and have people on them who have not darken the doors for decades but still regard them as members and daren’t approach them to suggest a change for fear of upsetting the long-absent member. A long time ago I was in a church that reviewed such an out of date membership list and there were two prevailing attitudes of those involved in the process:

1. If they haven’t been here for so long we should just delete them (and let them know that we have deleted them because they have not been around).
2. We ought to get back in touch with them and apologise for the fact that we have not been in touch recently. Perhaps we could offer to start again or at least meet to talk if there are reasons why a person has not been in attendance recently.

I much prefer the second, conciliatory, approach. It’s not quite a special offer of a reduced rate for the latest edition of the software, but surely we can offer humility, grace, reconciliation, an apology for losing touch and the opportunity to start again, can’t we? After all isn’t that what God offers everyone through Jesus?

Be blessed, be a blessing