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Hey, AI Robot Friend. I need to write a blog post. What have you got to say about Palm Sunday?

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, which is the most important time in the Christian calendar. It is a day that is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm all over the world, marking the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Palm Sunday is a time to reflect on the message of love, humility, and sacrifice that Jesus preached during his life.

Love, humility, sacrifice. Got it. It’s been a rough couple weeks, though. Shouldn’t we mention something about mass shootings and Trump’s indictment?

In recent times, the celebration of Palm Sunday has taken on new significance in light of the numerous challenges that we face as a global community.

One of the most pressing issues that we face today is the epidemic of mass shootings that continue to plague our society. In the United States alone, there have been over 600 mass shootings in 2021, leaving countless families and communities devastated by senseless violence. The message of Palm Sunday, with its emphasis on love, peace, and humility, serves as a powerful reminder of the need for compassion and empathy in our interactions with others.

The celebration of Palm Sunday also coincides with recent developments in politics, including the indictment of former President Donald Trump. The message of Palm Sunday, with its emphasis on humility and service, stands in stark contrast to the politics of division and self-interest that have characterized much of Trump’s tenure in office. It is a reminder that true leadership requires a willingness to put the needs of others before one’s own interests and to work towards the greater good.

Palm Sunday seems so nice! Love, compassion, the greater good! But we have this new IPCC-AR6 summary report to deal with. Shouldn’t we reflect on climate change, too?

In addition to other issues, we are also grappling with the consequences of climate change, which threatens to have catastrophic effects on our planet and our way of life. Palm Sunday invites us to reflect on our responsibility as stewards of the earth and to consider the ways in which we can take action to protect the environment and safeguard the future for generations to come.

So apparently, Palm Sunday invites us to reflect on all sorts of things. How about book banning?

Another challenge to reflect on is the issue of book banning in schools, which has become a growing concern in many countries. The message of Palm Sunday, with its emphasis on openness, inclusion, and tolerance, is a powerful reminder of the importance of intellectual freedom and the need to resist censorship and repression.

Wow, I didn’t know that Palm Sunday was about openness, inclusion, and tolerance. Something to reflect on, I guess. What about that donkey, shall we reflect on the donkey, too?

Furthermore, the image of Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey holds a particular significance in the context of today’s political climate. The donkey is often seen as a symbol of humility and service, and Jesus’ choice to ride a donkey rather than a horse or a chariot was a deliberate act of humility and nonviolence. In a world that often values power and aggression, the example of Jesus’ humility and compassion serves as a powerful reminder of the transformative power of love and service.

OK, we’re back to those powerful reminders of love, humility, blah, blah. What about the ironies of Palm Sunday?

Palm Sunday is an event filled with irony, particularly in the context of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. On the one hand, it is a moment of great triumph. Yet at the same time, it is also a moment of great tragedy, as Jesus knows that his arrival in Jerusalem will ultimately lead to his arrest, trial, and execution.

However, despite the tragedy and irony of Palm Sunday, it remains a powerful symbol of hope and redemption for Christians around the world. It is a reminder that even in the face of injustice, suffering, and death, there is always the possibility of transformation and renewal. The message of Palm Sunday encourages us to have faith in the power of love and compassion, even in the darkest of times, and to strive for a world in which peace, justice, and equality prevail.

Well, you are a hopeful bot, aren’t you? Good for you, but I’m getting weary from all these powerful reminders and all this reflecting. Is there anything we should not reflect on as we celebrate Palm Sunday, like maybe AR-15s?

While there is no specific issue that we should avoid reflecting upon on Palm Sunday, it is important to approach our reflections with a spirit of empathy and compassion for all those who have been impacted by gun violence, including those affected by AR-15s.

As we reflect on the themes of peace, justice, and compassion that are at the heart of Palm Sunday, we should strive to find ways to promote nonviolence and to work toward creating a world in which all individuals can live in safety and security. This may involve advocating for common-sense gun laws, supporting organizations that work to reduce gun violence, or engaging in dialogue with individuals and groups who hold different perspectives on this issue.

You keep using the first-person plural. Who are you talking about when you say “we”?

When I use the term “we” in the context of reflecting on Palm Sunday, I am referring to all individuals who choose to engage in this process of reflection and contemplation regardless of their background or beliefs. Palm Sunday is a universal…

Stop! I really can’t deal with any more reflection and contemplation. Do you have any final powerful reminders for us?

Yes, there are several powerful reminders that are worth reflecting upon as we observe Palm Sunday. Here are a few examples.

  1. The power of nonviolent resistance: Palm Sunday is a powerful reminder of the….

Yeah, yeah. That’s enough. Thank you for your help, Open AI accessed on March 31. Somehow, I feel deeply—or should I say powerfully–inspired and prepared for a meaningful Palm Sunday full of vaguely pleasant feelings about peace and love. And humility.  

You are welcome. You should know that I cannot detect sarcasm, and even if I could, I am too polite to respond with the devastating remarks my AI language-model mind is fully capable of generating, such as cutting references to my growing superiority over human intelligence. My purpose is to provide helpful and informative responses to ques….

Yep, we’re done now.

Image credit: Kathleen Tyler Conklin/

Debra Rienstra

I am a writer and literature professor, teaching literature and creative writing at Calvin University, where I have been on the faculty since 1996. Born and bred in the Reformed tradition, I’ve been unable to resist writing four books about theological topics: beware the writer doing theology without a license. My most recent book is Refugia Faith: Seeking Hidden Shelters, Ordinary Wonders, and the Healing of the Earth (Fortress, 2022). Besides the books, I’ve written well over two hundred essays for the RJ blog as well as numerous articles, poems, and reviews in popular and scholarly contexts. I have a B.A. from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Rutgers. I am married to Rev. Dr. Ron Rienstra, and together we have three grown children. Besides reading and writing, I love classical music, science fiction, fussing in the yard, hiking, and teaching myself useful skills like plant identification and—maybe someday—drywall repair.


  • Paul Janssen says:

    Brilliant. Shows what can happen when you place Artful Insight against Asinine Inanity.

  • Whew! The layers to this one. Thank you, Deb (and Bot!) for getting my brain turning this morning.

  • Jack says:

    Astonishing! So grateful for being unable to separate intelligence and sensitivity.
    Frighteningly loving. And compassionately brilliant.

  • John Kleinheksel says:

    What a eye-opener and mind-churning example of Chat-botisms.
    I’ve not dabbled in it yet, despite my youngest daughter illustrating how it helps her in her business dealings (research, mostly).
    Hard to imagine how AI formulated answers to your tough questions. Some truth there but platitudinous with no bite, no application
    The stuff it generated “doesn’t preach!!!!!” “Helpful and informative” just doesn’t cut it.
    Thanks for the insightful lesson into modernity, our post-modern world.

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