Favorable Types

Someone has collected links to 300 downloadable TrueType fonts* that the site-owner describes as essential. I wouldn’t go that far, and I have qualms about the inclusion of some Bitstream fonts (identifiable by the “BT” marker at the end of the font name), but I thought some readers would like a pointer to the site anyway.

The 300 includes a number of Nick Curtis’s designs (Mac users note that despite the restrictive warning, PC TrueType fonts should work under OS X); I’d just as soon go collect his all at once. Typefaces from the Apostrophic Type Lab appear here. I download most of Manfred Klein’s typefaces on his Sunday site updates — though by now he’s produced so many fonts that I can’t imagine being able to browse among them to choose one to use. Dieter Steffmann no longer makes fonts, but he has left a sumptuous treasure of type for other users. Paul Lloyd has resumed type design, and he’s contributing to the Blackletter collection and the Piratical collection. Harold Lohner offers some of his monthly updates for free download, too.

Not every one of these fonts attains the very highest standards (especially for kerning), but if one’s concern is for free typefaces, these are my favorite sources.

*I’m giving up the struggle to use words strictly by reserving “typeface” for the design of a particular character set and “font” for a complete set of a given size of a typeface. That just seems irrelevant at this point — so “font” and “typeface” have become functionally synonymous.

Congratulations, And, Well, We’ll See

Micah scolded me for not blogging about SixApart’s purchase of LiveJournal: “I shouldn’t have to hear stuff like this on the street.” I have to admit that I saw so many different people commenting on the takeover, and with such intriguing visions of the possible benefits and pitfalls of the move, that I didn’t reckon I had anything to add — but now I know Micah was counting on me for news, and the whole topic reminds me that Moveable Type has been very, very good to us (the company has been extraordinarily good to us, the software generally good) and minimal courtesy obliges me to send my congratulations.

So, Ben and Mena, three cheers on this development, and kudos for your status as “People of the Year” (to think I knew them way back when). Bravo Joi and Anil and Loïc and Jay and, ummm, anyone else whom I know who works at SixApart (it seems as though they’re gradually adding everyone I know — if you see rumors from Om Malik about SixApart showing an interest in theological blogging, I may be packing my bags for San Francisco). It’ll be exciting to see what happens with both MT and LiveJournal — mazel tov!

Further Miscellaneous Linkage

I’ve had a couple of items rattling around my newsreader for a while, so instead of waiting till I have a short essay to write about them, I’ll drop them off here. For instance, I enjoyed reading Malcolm Gladwell’s article on personality testing (though he left out the online personality quizzes that identify you as a breakfast cereal, a character from Gone With the Wind, a wavelength from the spectrum of light not visible to the naked eye, or a species of cat indigenous to Oceania and Australia).

Martin Ryder offers an helpful guide to different approaches to instructional design, and what to make of them. I get edgy when people present me with the One True Way to teach; I’m unmethodical enough that I tend to resist any claim that a single particular set of pedagogical premises and tactics will make me the best teacher I can be, wax my floors, and give my breath that minty, fresh aroma. That’s partly because it always hurts to become self-conscious and self-critical about one’s praxis (especially when one is slightly vain about that practice, as so many teachers tend to be, myself emphatically included), but also partly because I have seen too many circumstances in which the One True Pedagogy fails a student or two (or three or four), or where a middlin’ teacher adopts the One True Pedagogy in a mediocre way, or where teachers who’ve attained moderate comfort and competency and comfort teaching one way feel obliged to start over and work through years of discomfort and impaired competence in order to fulfill someone else’s sense of How Teaching Must Be Done. Add to that Seabury’s mixed environment of adult learners and young learners, of academically-ambitious and academically-modest, of graduates from classic liberal-arts programs and of community colleges, and the whole matter of pedagogy becomes (my students join in the chorus) more complicated than that. Working from Ryder’s page, one can see a tremendous variety of schools of pedagogy, their arguments against other such schools, and the contexts within which they make the most sense. I won’t be done reading this one for ages, if ever. In connection to this, George Siemens proposes the pedagogy beyond Constructivism, which he calls “connectivism,” so if you want to push avant the avant garde in the theological education, this may be the path. (I must have gotten both of those from Stephen Downes’s blog, but I don’t remember when.)

Most important — and I say this with some discomfort — I met Evelyn Rodriguez at Digital ID World (I had thought we met at BloggerCon I, on the evening that I introduced Wendy to Joey); we had a short conversation about my vocation and hers. She was vacationing in Thailand two weeks ago, where she was caught up in the tsunami. As subsequent posts reveal, she’s doing all right. I’ve kept quiet about the cataclysm; I doubt that I can add anything to what wiser people have said, and I know that enough people have said foolish things. But it has felt odd, all along, trying to figure out what not-saying meant, as I knew somebody who was so directly affected, and that my thoughts about a disaster focused so narrowly on one person.

De Rigeur Mortis

Frank suggested to this morning’s Gospel Mission class that I was a Big-Time Blogger (don’t disabuse anyone of this illusion, you who know better) — so I probably ought to write something today. Ordinarily that’s no trick; you know that I can get up a good head of steam talking about almost anything. Still, today I feel less garrulous than usual. I’m a little short on sleep, it’s been a stressful week or so, and I haven’t been as productive as (for example) Liz.

Yesterday Nate and Jennifer left for the east coast. Tonight Juliet arrives for a couple of days. Monday Margaret leaves for Durham. Today weighed on me a little.

Add to that a spasm of nostalgia from reading Jeneane’s reminiscence about the good ol’ days in Blogaria, when we played idea football (world football, not U.S. football) and everybody scored, and my fingers felt heavy, my heart weary, and my mind dull.

So instead of waxing philosophical, I’ll throw out some links:

  • Dan Gillmor’s new blog, this time naming Bill Gates’s recent spate of lying for what it is
  • Jeff Ward is as smart as can be — he makes me edgy about presuming to talk about representation in public
  • David Weinberger and Shelley point to the LID distributed digital identity system, which sounds promising, but which lies far beyond my capacity to implement it
  • I’ve been meaning to write about blogrolls and bookmarks, but I seem never to get around to it

Maybe I’ll get a good night of rest and say something worth noticing tomorrow.

[Everyone arrived at her and his destinations safely. Juliet’s here, and we’re catching up on the years that we haven’t seen her.]

DRMA: I Found Love by Lone Justice; Shelter by Lone Justice; After The Flood by Lone Justice; Don’t Toss Us Away by Lone Justice

Potpourri and Popery

Last night, as I prepared some official Angelus incense from Christ Church New Haven, Laura asked about the theological status of incense, of how and when it is blessed, and so on. I noted the times in the service at which incense is blessed, and the various prayers appropriate to those occasions (I was taught to bless the incense before the procession with the prayer, “Be thou blessed by Him in whose honor thou art to be burned,” and at the offertory, when the gifts and people are censed, with the prayer, “By the intercession of blessed Michael the Archangel, who stands at the right hand of the altar of incense, together with all the saints, may the Lord bless this incense and accept it as a sweet smelling aroma; through Christ Our Lord” — but I always forget the latter when I’m not standing in front of a loaded thurible).

She pressed me for details about the sacramental status of incense prepared for the liturgy, but not blessed. It turns out that she had in mind somebody in particular who (evidently) has a stash of liturgical incense stashed in his bureau drawer. Laura was probing the difference to which I allude in the title, using her words, between potpourri and popery.

Call Mel Gibson

Pippa’s Last Supper v. 3

Originally uploaded by AKMA.

Micah and Laura came over tonight for chili and a big round of Bible Pictionary — Nate, Pippa, Margaret and Micah against Laura, Jennifer, Si, and me. Dinner was great, and we had a vigorous round of Pictionary, in which Pippa particularly distinguished herself as a gifted Pictionathlete. During one spell, she ran off a series of convincing drawings culminating in a hasty depiction of the Last Supper (this is the version Micah recognized promptly). The topic stuck in her imagination, though, and after we had shared some Christmas-Epiphany cake (which Pip had decorated with swash lettering that read, “Mr. 2000” in honor of Jesus), Pippa returned to the easel to draw a more complete representation of the shared meal in the Upper Room. That’s Judas on the left, of course, thinking about going to McDonald’s instead of partaking of the bread and wine at Jesus’ table.

What He Said

In connection with the thread developing from yesterday’s observations on doctrine and emergence, I wanted to add Augustine’s observation from On Genesis (li. 8. de Genes. ad liter. cap. 5.):

Melius est dubitare de occultis quam litigare de incertis.

It is better to make doubt of those things which are secret, than to strive about those things that are uncertain.
(From the English supplied by the translators of the Authorized Version of the Bible)


You should, of course, never trust a preacher who says, “Finally. . . ,” especially when he’s talking about a subject on which he has no standing from which to claim authority. So, from here on, you’re on your own.

But I really did mean “finally.” When I wrote to Kyle at the end of his course, I adduced four characteristics that look like pertinent signs of “emergence” from this limestone-tower perspective: breadth/depth of participation, decentralization of power, worship that the congregation embraces and understands, and a commitment to a vision of truth that respects both the vitality of staking something on one’s truth-claims with the humility of observing how frequently our most cherished theological forebears have disagreed with one another, or over- or understated the importance of one premise or another. I frequently cite with relief the Church of England’s nineteenth Article of Religion: “As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred, so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith.” The Church errs, and when it finds itself in error needs to reassess its ways, repent of errors, and reform its living and manner of Ceremonies, and also its matters of Faith. The modern church came increasingly to identify right doctrine as a basis for exclusion of err-ers, on the premise that a decreasing number of disciples of Jesus actually understood rightly what the Church should be about; an emergent church should, I think, be more ready to endure uncertainty within the church about which controverted topics needed to be determined right here, right now, and the newly-established Bad Guys expelled (or otherwise punished).

The “emerging” spirit about which I’m talking will find a home where people care enough about theological truth to sustain disagreements about it within the community. That doesn’t make truth “up for grabs” or irrelevant (despite what a common knee-jerk response wants to make it). It means that truth comes clear over time, and that however confident we are that our position bears the impress of God’s very own truth, we have not finished learning. Our certain knowledge of the truth about God stands in the shadow of our sister’s equally certain knowledge, and until some extrinsic criterion resolves the disagreement for us, no one of us can afford to stop our ears at what our ardent sibling in Christ would urge us to consider. That attitude may be more “propositional” than “grammatical”; it’s not Lindbeckian-ness that makes “emergent,” but understanding that truth itself has an emergent dimension that can’t be pinned down and put away.

I’ve started calling this a hypomonic relation to truth, alluding to the high value that the New Testament authors put on the virtue of hypomonê, “endurance,” “long-suffering.” Such an outlook trusts that where brothers and sisters disagree, and their faith on matters other than the disputed topic harmonizes with the faith received from the saints, God will in the long run make resolve conflicts that seem in the short run to be intractable. No one gives up their strong truth-claims; they do, however, decline to use truth as a lever for excluding those with whom one disagrees.

That requires me to make explicit my assumption that ont every congregation should be “emergent” (as I sketch emergence here). If your faith is such that your conscience requires you to banish those who permit women to teach in the church, for instance, by all means go ahead — but such a firm conscience will leave little room for the unexpected, and (to belabor a point) “unexpectedness” constitutes one of the touchstone features by which we recognize emergent phenomena.

And Another Thing

In reflecting on “emerging-church” matters, I’ve earlier suggested that emergence (in church life) should involve breadth and depth (I should perhaps have added “length and height”) of people’s involvement in a shared life, and involves a kind of leadership more than a particular form of leadership.

The third point by which I’d expect to identify emergence in church life involves worship — but I suspect that the specific characteristics of worship matter less than does the extent to which they’re internalized and integrated to the coherent life of the congregation. Thus, a congregation committed to very catholic worship, for whom the rhythms and choreography of catholic worship make sense, and enliven their sense of who they are and how they serve God, may be more “emergent” than a gathering of twenty-somethings in a coffee shop who are there for reasons they don’t quite understand, doing cool stuff with candles and labyrinths. The latter will be “emergent-church” in a social-category sense — but “emergence” (in the sense I think most helpfully relevant) involves a community’s constituting a whole greater than the sum of its parts, and it would be easy enough to find a rave congregation that amounts to a good deal less than its sum. Worship that lends symbolic expression to the inchoate beliefs and the explicit teachings of the congregation matters more than whether PowerPoint or praise bands are involved.

It should go without saying that I’m not knocking coffee shops or PowerPoint (I like coffee shops, and when I want to knock PowerPoint I’ll go for the throat). Congregations in coffee shops can worship in ways that conduce to emergence; indeed, such congregations have the emergent-advantage that the force of routinization doesn’t weigh down their praise with the kind of habituation that issues in heedlessness. So I’m not arguing against coffee-shop congregations, or trying to propose that all Anglo-Catholics are automatically “emergent” (believe me, we’re not, no question).

But as with leadership, so with worship: it’s not the formal characteristics that brand it as “emergent,” but the spirit. If there’s one thing that falsifies claims about emergence, it would be the claim that these preliminaries predictably bring about that result. Whatever else that is, that’s not emergence; “emergence” involves a subsequent complexity that one couldn’t predict on the basis of its constituent parts (whether those ingredients include incense, labyrinths, PowerPoint, or fancy vestments).



Originally uploaded by StGenevieve.

I gather that today was the all-time heaviest load on flickr (which makes sense, once you think of it). I had set our Jennifer up with an account, and she was having a hard time completing uploads; evidently there’s a good reason. This is a picture she took of our local fashion model; she says she’s uploading a picture of me singing into a Dishmatique, but so far that hasn’t appeared in her photostream. The picture of Si and Laura is cute, though.

Congratulations, Stewart, Caterina, Eric, and all.

As I Was Saying

I think I left off here:

[Again, entirely unauthorized pontificating follows. And I’s sure that Soularize is wonderful, I was just grabbing the name, Jordon, since I knew it was a big get-together.]

For the second, I would put little emphasis on the formal status of leadership and more on how leadership is carried. To indulge in a pop-cultural figure, I wouldn’t in the least mind having Aragorn as my king — much less, indeed, than I mind having Bush as my duly-elected President. By the same token, I would pay less attention to whether a pastor be ordained, or elected, or dragged off the street on Saturday evening, than on whether such a leader exercises her or his authority so as to shore up his/her own standing, or (alternatively) to cultivate the maximum strength and leadership among other participants in community life. You can do that as an appointed rector, or as an elected elder. You can grasp for power in indirect ways in an “emergent” setting, and you can disperse power in an apparently hierarchical setting.

So the formal structure of a congregation — whether it be constituted as a top-down magisterium or a bottom-up populist forum — can imply a certain distribution of power, but the formal structure can also mask the way power operates. “Emergence,” as I understand it, has less to do with the way corporate legislation gets passed than with the ways that a community would arrive at a sense of what might be possible, plausible, the right thing to do — before any formal decision gets made. (As my colleague John Dreibelbis often says, “If you have to appeal to the canons, you’re already in trouble.”)

What They Don’t Get

Is my money, evidently. Yesterday I felt the whimsical impulse to listen to the Boomtown Rats’s track “Me and Howard Hughes,” from the Tonic for The Troops album. I looked in the iTunes Music Store — no luck there, just greatest-hits compilations from the Rats. Rhapsody and emusic seemed unwilling even to let me know whether they had what I wanted unless I registered; sorry, I’m not going there. Allofmp3.com and Napster? Only greatest hits (but at least they let me search before I register). Insound would sell me the whole CD for $23.

The punch line is that in the halcyon days of Napster Classic, one can be sure that somebody would have had “Me and Howard Hughes” available for sharing. It’s exactly the kind of selection that online distribution works best for: a relatively obscure track by a marginally popular artist, not worth keeping in stock in a store, not worth manufacturing onto CDs with jewel cases and printed covers, but simple to make available online, for aficionados to buy — unless, of course, no one bothers to make it available commercially.

And I’m still looking for the track of Tom Robinson playing “1967 (Seems So Long Ago)” from the first Secret Policemen’s Ball album. . . .

(wood s lot reminds me that Ani DiFranco seems to get it, which makes me glad I bought her last album the minute it showed up online.)