One of the things about the way I’ve been reading blogs lately is that I often get summaries after-the-fact and reactions from others on various topics and happenings, which offers me a shortcut to catching the drift of some notable posts. And sometimes in this exchange I feel perhaps I’ve missed something important. Often I let it just slip by, but then there are times when I find my feet just instinctively digging into the sand adjacent to home plate as my eye fixes itself on the ball. This time it’s internal bickering among some who insist that any bickering on these points could not be classified as internal, because It’s fun to exclude others.
I think I mentioned an event coming up here this October featuring Phyllis Tickle speaking on her book The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why. I’m one of several people who have been asked to present a workshop and sit on a discussion panel over the course of the one-day conference. At the moment, October 31st seems such a long way off, but I’ve been asked for a topic and a brief description of the workshop I will present.
This week saw the start of the summer series of Theology by the glass, now meeting at Confusion Corner Bar and Grill, just around the corner (sort of) from our most famous street sign. Our first conversation of the season began with a CBC podcast of The Age of Persuasion where Terry O’Reilly discusses church marketing and related matters.
He gave up all He had
everything at his command
He gave up all He had
– from a song by Mike Koop
Do you ever wonder if Jesus looks down on this mess and asks himself if he really stepped out of Heaven and went through all that trouble down here… for this? Or does he look down fondly and say that this is what he went to all the trouble for?
Oh, I know, we all know the answer… the question is thus somewhat rhetorical. But still, how does it strike you?
On Sunday I posted a hymn that begged a comment about depression based on what seemed a simplistic response to a complex issue. Last night I attended a conversation about depression at my local liturgical hangout where a group of us began to explore the topic of depression and what it means to be a community that is a welcoming place to those who struggle with depression or other mental illness (hit the preceding ‘conversation’ link for a recap).
This morning I’ve got my feet up on my desk, my wireless keyboard in my lap. A cup of fair trade organic decaf Peru Panachi sits nearby, freshly brewed and French-pressed. I am taking time to consider Advent. It isn’t that I have time, or that I make time… I haven’t the surplus time today or this week, and I cannot manufacture time. I cannot even manage time — it marches on relentlessly no matter what I may try to do about it. But I can choose what to do with my time, moment-by-moment. And this morning it seems that a bit of reflective time would be wise stewardship of the time — the gift of time that I’ve been allotted today. Yesterday I began reading God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas, and I anticipate a few pages each day through the rest of the season before me, and up to Epiphany. Epiphany — it seems so far off, yet it isn’t. Time will pass and it will be here before I know it. The last year has passed on as well, thanks be to God.
This weekend, on November 30th, I will mark four years of blogging. And just today, I’ve discovered that I’ve been nominated for “Best Religion/Philosophy Blog” in Canada. Wow. And voting closes tomorrow, so what can I say? Vote now? I’m kinda late getting my “campaign” started, but I only just found out I was even in the race at all. Shows how oblivious I can be — but thanks, whoever nominated me. I even get a fancy badge of honour to display. Now, in the unlikely event that I actually make the cut into the final round of voting, I’ll need y’all to go and vote again next week, okay?
Today is Remembrance Day, and for the occasion, I’ve resurrected the oldest draft post in my arsenal… from back in 2004. I began with an idea jotted down and then thought it would be better left until the whole Iraq thing cooled down… but of course you know how that’s gone. Opening the post up for the first time in (literally) years, I see I hadn’t written as much as I thought I had, but the gist of an idea is there, and it’s percolated for some time now.
I noticed a Scientific American piece, The Certainty Bias: A Potentially Dangerous Mental Flaw, and read it with interest. The article is subtitled “A neurologist explains why you shouldn’t believe in political candidates that sound too sure of themselves,” and takes the form of an interview of Robert Burton, the former chief of neurology at the University of California at San Francisco-Mt. Zion hospital, by Jonah Lehrer, the editor of Mind Matters. Burton has written a book with the intriguing title, On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not, which explores the neuroscience behind the feeling of certainty, or why we are so convinced we’re right even when we’re not. This was the subject matter of the interview. I quote an excerpt:
I got this image via email, so I doctored it and shrank it down to fit in a post… click the image for the full-scale view. View of what, you ask? Well, it turns out that — as you’ll have noticed — a month goes by pretty quickly. And the big news is that you only get about 936 of them. With an average life expectancy of 78, that is. If you pass 83 years and 4 months, you hit the four-digit tally… but not everyone does, and according to James, “Your life is like the morning fog–it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” He says we don’t know what tomorrow brings.
I read Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody not long ago, and I’ve mentioned it here a few times already. The subtitle of the book is, “The Power of Organizing Without Organizations,” and I must say that it provides some excellent food for thought on the future of the institution contrasted with the power of loosely-affiliated mass collaborative efforts. The word “organization” might be used, but in some contexts it creates an expectation of more formality than actually exists.
Like a lot of other bloggers in this general emerging/missional conversation, I’ve mentioned some movies in the past, considering some metaphor or other that I’ve extracted. There are in fact a lot of movies out there with poignant themes, but I thought I would take a stab at listing ten that have themes relevant to the conversation in which we find ourselves. Some of these I’ve mentioned here before, and others I haven’t. I’m listing them in alphabetical order since this isn’t really a “top ten” list, so there isn’t another order that would make any more sense than that. For each one, I will attempt to give a bit of a precis and some reasoning why it fits into this list.