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Midweek Musing May 24, 2023 - An AI assisted Ecclesiastes 3

As I said last week in my Midweek Musing, I have been playing a lot with AI (artificial intelligence) software. It really is impressive stuff. One particular piece of software is called ChatGPT. This software lets you continue to ask questions and narrow or modify responses. It allows you to get information and create everything from job descriptions to real estate listings to song lyrics to lesson plans. You can get it to write essays and research papers, and more. It will even create computer code for a program to run on your computer.

As I mentioned, the deeper, the more detailed the prompt given to this software, the better the response. What is amazing about ChatGPT is that it allows you to converse back and forth with change or deepening the responses.

So why do I mention this?

Well, recently, in my own devotions, I read Ecclesiastes 3, which is the well-known “to everything, there is a season” passage. In doing so, I read the version created by Eugene Peterson called the message. It is not a translation, but a paraphrased interpretation written for a modern U.S. audience. Then I realized it was published in pieces between 1993 and 2002. When I saw those dates, I realized that the 2002 complete publication date was over two decades ago. So, I started a conversation with ChatGPT, and we wrote the following version together. I know that sounds strange – it sounds strange even to me – but I think the results are worth the read.

To everything there is a season,

and a time for every purpose under the sun:

A time for scrolling through endless feeds,

and a time for disconnecting to find inner peace;

A time for virtual connections and emoji-filled chats,

and a time for face-to-face conversations that go beyond that.

A time for selfies and filters to capture our best,

and a time for embracing imperfections, letting go of the rest;

A time for hashtags and trending viral trends,

and a time for silence, where true connection transcends.

A time for hustle and bustle, chasing worldly gain,

and a time for reflection, to nourish the soul and ease the pain;

A time for working tirelessly, day and night,

and a time for self-care, to make everything feel right.

A time for activism, fighting for what's right,

and a time for contemplation, to seek inner sight;

A time for innovation and technological advances,

and a time for nature's wonders, where true beauty enhances.

A time for celebrations and joyful escapades,

and a time for mourning, when sadness never fades;

A time for laughter and shared moments of glee,

and a time for tears, embracing vulnerability.

A time for growth and learning, expanding our minds,

and a time for stillness, where wisdom we may find;

A time for love and building connections so true,

and a time for letting go, when it's the right thing to do.

For in every season, as life's tapestry unfurls,

we find the balance, embracing the modern world;

With every moment, a purpose we discern,

navigating this era, eager to live and learn.

Clay Gunter (and a bunch of supercomputers connected in the cloud)


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