Monthly Archives: June 2007

I Don’t Think So

I’d have thought it went without saying, but since “speaking out about the alleged Episcopal priest-Muslim combo” has become a litmus test in some quarters, I will say that I dissent emphatically from the Rev. Ms. Redding’s understanding of Christian faith and priesthood, and from her bishop’s sense that her situation entails an “exciting opportunity.” Indeed, I take it that only by falsifying that which has historically constituted both of these ways of life can one arrive at both/and approach.

I respect certain Islamic specific traditions tremendously, and I recognize and learn freely from general tenets of Islam. If the Rev. Ms. Redding were to convert to Islam, I’d be able to see reasons for that change of path (though I cannot but regard it as a sad detour from the truth, for someone who has tasted the heavenly gift, and has shared in the Holy Spirit). Claiming that God’s triune identity is dispensable (contrary to the Christian side), though, and that Jesus really did die on the cross and rise from death (contrary to the Muslim side), seems to amount to a callow Sheilaism.

So, were I in a position to counsel the Rev. Ms. Redding — assuming that the facts reported reflect the situation reliably — I’d suggest that she take some time, examine her heart, learn more about what it means actually to live as a member of the Body of Christ and about what it means to submit to Allah, and in the meantime to avoid making public professions of matters about which she’s still in discernment. I’d strongly advise her to avoid exercising any sacerdotal responsibility. I’d pray that Bishop Warner return to the promises he made at his accepting the weighty office of the episcopate.

And if Prof. Webb actually said, “It’s a matter of interpretation. But a lot of people on both sides do not believe in interpretation,” he should be ashamed of himself. Nobody “doesn’t believe in interpretation”; it’s impossible to do without interpretation. What people discountenance is “using ‘interpretation’ as a fig leaf for disregarding clear and explicit, contradictory doctrinal claims without advancing an explanation as coherent and profound as the claims themselves.”
Continue reading I Don’t Think So

Strategic Plan?

As Seabury considers alternatives in realizing its long-range plan, perhaps we too should consider recruiting a Formationator. . . .

(My favorite part is the opening sequence, where two seminarians are agreeing that a whole litany of classical heresies are more pastoral, more affirming, more inviting than true doctrine.)

[I should add that my attention was called to this clip and to the Arian Catholic Church by Rick Harris, to whom I herewith tip my hat, twice.]
Continue reading Strategic Plan?

On Vapors

Many aspects of online life commend themselves to thoughtful attention right now, and I might even be motivated to put my oar in if we actually had more engaged blog discussions such as we used to have on olden times. (What’s different? Well, for just one factor, all of us have so many more, divergent online friends to keep in touch with, our energies have been splintered more than when the “us” about whom we seem to be speaking was a lot smaller.)

But I’m exhausted. The stress of the school year, which had settled cozily into by neck and shoulders, has begun a lazy unwinding act. My tenuous attention span permits me to accomplish fifteen-second tasks, or longer tasks that require only tangential attention. I’m subject to sudden weariness, aches and kinks and clumsiness (more so than usual, he rejoined with anticipatory asperity). Simple errands feel as though they require an all-encompassing effort.

On the other hand, relief is coming. Margaret says I look better every day, and my reading list promises stimulating, engrossing food for thought. I may declare email bankruptcy, or in a fit of resurggent energy, actually do something about my backlogged communications. For now, though, if I seem listless or sluggish, please consider me burned out and exhausted, and know that I’m trying to do the things necessary for pulling back together.


{If you came due to a link from a Boing Boing, the link you’re looking for is here. My own “ten years later” link is here.}

It’s been months, now, and the furore has died down. Kathy Sierra has issued a joint statement with Chris Locke; she no longer lumps him and Jeneane and Frank in with whoever was allegedly sending her anonymous emailed death threats. Life goes on.

In the interim, Shelley points out that Tara Hunt (proximate target of “the mean kids”) has raised the question of reality-testing the actual dangers involved in last winter’s dust-up. Is anyone actually at any greater danger if they participate in public life online? To be fair to Kathy and to what Tara herself said earlier, there’s an extent to which “actuality” can be deployed to excuse abusive threats; if vulnerable people hear a threat, they need to take it more seriously than do people who are insulated from danger. Still, even vulnerable people can overreact. Part of their friends’ role is to help them tell the difference. Tara now wonders whether Kathy might have been better served to hear that she didn’t need to be afraid.

In a related retrospective deliberation, have you noticed Blogarians en masse adopting Good Housekeeping speech codes, as Tim O’Reilly suggested they do? Clue: I don’t see a badge, a credo, a promissory note, or some other public asseveration of good behavior on the home page of Tim’s own blog (maybe I missed it). At the time, some observers suggested that badges of good citizenship wouldn’t solve the problem, wouldn’t provide a workable framework for inculcating respect and civility.

In the interest of not repeating an incident that has cost several people a lot, it would constitute a great favor for us all if reporters, online writers, opinion-makers, and fanboys and -girls gave this event more than casual consideration. If anything would strengthen the sense of shared civil norms, it wasn’t pledges and badges. It’s the kind of relationships of mutuality that Tim himself drew on to help defuse the fireworks, and that subsequent conversations between the principals strengthened and extended, that engender more civil discourse.

From IP To Corruption

Lawrence Lessig is changing the trajectory of his leadership efforts from “copyright reform” to the corruption that makes reform necessary. By “corruption,” he doesn’t exactly mean “bribery of public officials,” but more the corrosion of the political system that presses so consistently toward extending copyright, when (to quote from Lessig’s paraphrase from Britain’s Gowers Commission) “a government should never extend an existing copyright term. No public regarding justification could justify the extraordinary deadweight loss that such extensions impose.”

Cheers from this quarter; Prof. Lessig embodies the best qualities of the activist academic, and his cause is sound, his heart is set on an ideal. “Corruption” won’t go away from Lessig’s opposition, but even if he only shines sunlight on infected political tissue he will have done plenty.

What a Night!

A bunch of our friends came over tonight to celebrate with us, and more would have if they could have. The family — Nate, Si, and Pippa, Jennifer, Juliet with John — gathered, and Laura came to be with Si, and her parents Doug and Carol; Michelle and Frank, with a dessert cameo from Stephen; Trevor and Susan; Trish and Tripp; Kristin, John, and Grace; Sarah, Clay, and Luke, all joined us for lasagna, cake, brownies (all with gluten-free options), and gelato. What a joy it was for friends from different eras and different locales and different generations and different theological outlooks all gather and spend a voluble evening bouncing ideas and memories around! Friends — what a great invention!

Now we’re lounging around while Margaret makes a late grocery run, David pulls into town, and we drift off to our various bedrooms. Tomorrow’s the service at St Luke’s; Nate will play the prelude, PIp and Si will sing in the choir, Sarah will preach, friends will gather again (those who are not themselves preaching), and we’ll reaffirm our vows before God and the people, all over again.

Honest, Those Ears Look Like A Mane

The Disney Corporation has filed suit against Iron Age “pirates” for what it termed “anticipatory copyright violation” in the case of the recently-discovered Mickey Mouse brooch ornament, as reported on the Discovery News website.

“The claim that the perpetrator cannot be held liable because Disney had not yet copyrighted Mickey Mouse misunderstands the nature of intellectual property. If Disney had not refined and rendered more humorous the two-round-ears visage, then Iron Age forger wouldn’t have had Mickey Mouse to serve as the evolutionary goal of his craft.”

When confronted with archaeologists’ claim that the brooch does not represent a cartoon mouse, but a lion, Disney executives responded, “If it’s supposed to be a lion, why does it look so much more like Mickey? The comparison to a lion only strengthens our case, because proves that the unidentified copyright violator had no natural-life model for his work. Instead, he carved a crude facsimile of the universally beloved fantasy figure whose image Disney owns in perpetuity.”

The lawsuit asks damages based on fines in contemporary currency, deflated to Iron Ages rates, then subject to compound interest for 1100 years. If the government of Sweden does not turn over the perpetrator — or his legal heirs — Disney will hold the entire nation liable.

When asked what Disney would do if the lawsuit fails, counsel indicated that Disney would appeal to the United Nations to pass the quickly-drafted “Cher Copyright Pre-extension Act,” which stretches copyright backward in time for 1100 years or the lifetime of Cher (whichever is longer).

[Hat tip to Boing Boing for the background story]

Um, Hi!

Nate and Jennifer are here, we’re rearranging the household for tomorrow’s pre-service dinner, and of course we’re gearing up for the reaffirmation service Sunday morning.So I’m busy and distracted, and enjoying the unscheduled-ness of my second day of leave time.

What Grants Do We Need?

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be in Pittsburgh participating in a meeting whose point is to support and, ideally, enliven technological practices in theological education. As I’ve thought about the meeting, I it occurred to me that I would bring more valuable information to the meeting if I weren’t relying only on my own ideas. So: How might an education-support organization best enhance the engagement between theological education and technology? If it sounds like The Disseminary, I’ll be lobbying for it anyway — but what other priorities should be brought to the table? What benefits theological education most, and what dead ends can you help us avoid?