Saturday, 28 February 2009

Thinking again, growing up, and being ambivalent

No posts here recently, as my blogging time has been saturated by a couple of discussions over at The Blogging Parson:
  • "Missiological assumptions?", on what was actually going on when (many) churches shifted to informal services, and informality more generally; and

  • "In praise of difficult children", a response to an Adam Phillips piece in the London Review of Books on "truancy", self-betrayal, and self-understanding. (The link to Phillips' essay is here, but you'll need a subscription to read all of it.) If you think this sounds like something that earnest Christian types might have trouble assimilating, then of course you'd be right. The discussion has turned into a dialogue between myself and some others, in which I am I hope with some subtlety, but no doubt at far too great length, arguing that we should get with the program.
Anyone interested in these issues, or in my own related concerns, will find a great deal on them ad loc: the first discussion, on liturgy and more general church practice in this town, has generated a lot of heat; but also some light. A couple of excellent posts by Laurence (known to some readers of this blog) are a case in point.

I read The Blogging Parson very regularly, and participate in discussions there quite often, but remain (as previously mentioned) ambivalent about it. Michael has the gift of making initial posts that are both informed and provocative, and that generate real discussion; but some of that discussion is frankly dismaying. It's a partial answer to point to the grim nature of much online discussion generally, but only a partial answer.

Along related lines Michael is kind enough to hat-tip me for some rather slight help I gave him in thinking through an issue for an article in Southern Cross. I am in two minds about this. On the one hand, people read SC, and Michael is a reasonable man whose opinion I respect, so I'm happy that he is writing for it; on the other, I thoroughly disapprove of the magazine and think my friend is wasting his time or worse. But did I mention the part about me respecting his opinion?

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