Not Drowning

Contrary to what one might think, I have not been run over by a truck, overtaken by a squad of highly-trained CIA operatives who have been misled into blaming me for the financial crisis, bed-ridden with a rare tropical disease, stricken with amnesia after a cartoon safe fell on my head as I walked down Byres Road, or any of another dozen explanations for my silence here.
Nay, I’ve just negotiated a wild and wooly week of extra obligations, from preaching and devising the plan of worship for Trinity college last Tuesday to leading the Theological Institute of the Scottish Episcopal Church (TISEC) session about the prophetic critique of worship last Wednesday, to preparing and delivering a (not mentioned in any of the publicity — it’s the “Homo Connectivus” session) talk at the Christian New Media Awards & Conference in London, then back to Glasgow, then to Durham to give a different version of the same talk at REFRACT. It’s 10:30 Tuesday, I think, and I’m ready to go back to bed.
Trinity College worship went OK (sermon over at their site); I used a version of the US Episcopal Church’s Order for Noonday Prayer as a frame for the service. TISEC was odd, since I was teaching outside my field to students I didn’t know who were in the middle of a curriculum I didn’t plan; but I don’t think it went too badly.
Travel to and from London involved waking up at 4:45 AM and negotiating some surprisingly close connections, but I got to the conference on time and gave my presentation to a gratifyingly crowded room. The Twitterstream was generally positive, and Johnny Laird proved himself a critic of exquisite discernment by tweeting that “@AKMA hit it out of the park at #cnmac10 this morning! Awesome stuff…” (I hope that “hit it out of the park” is a positive assessment; I don’t know of a circumstance in which one wants to hit things out of a park in UK sport.) Jonathan Rose posted a video of participants’ reactions to CNMAC here, in which I figure as the gent in the still image that says “having great teaching,” which I choose to construe as a commendation.
Sunday, Margaret and I took as a total sabbath to rest from our labours. I was beginning to feel refeshed and restored when. . . Monday morning came, and at 5 AM I woke up to catch the train out of Partick that would take me to Monday’s Refract conference in Durham. For reasons I haven’t had time to discover, a number of trains were cancelled out of Partick, so once again I was cutting things close — but managed to get to St John’s College on time. I gave a different version of my talk, putting a greater emphasis on the deliberative-theological dimensions of human identity, whereas Saturday I put a greater stress on the practical-theological importance of churches’ participation in the process of discovering and learning about digital humanity. I’ll post the combined, extended version of both papers at some future date.
Meanwhile, the UK educational system is quivering and convulsing at the implications of the Browne Report and the upcoming announcements of swingeing cuts in every aspect of public spending (that includes us). I’d like saying “swingeing cuts” more if it referred to, say, bonuses for the financial wizards who sold the world economy down the river for their private gain; but it’s still a savoury phrase. Swinge, swinge, swinge.
Time, now for me to focus on this afternoon’s class on early Christina Christian liturgy. I’ll try to be a more reliable correspondent, if only until the next avalanche slides through.

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