Monday, October 25, 2004

I don't remember mentioning

Have i mentioned that i write?

I write for a magazine called eChurch active (www.echurchactive.net) and have written various bits of poetry and prose for special events and one off magazines. I am still very much clambering up a steep learning curve on this, but it is fun and gets the old creative juices going.

When i get around to setting up my website i will post my articles there, but for now here is my latest submission - before publication no less - for 'McCollum's musings'

I am a blogger!

This is very new and very exciting for me. I have a weblog page which contains my thoughts and grumbles and perhaps even a few profound thoughts.

It was the result of a friend called Steve www.svfoster.blogspot.com/ recommending to me the Holy Joes weblog http://holyjoes.blogspot.com/ and inviting me to become a part of this particular online community. I don’t visit it or update it very much, I haven’t quite decided what I should be doing with it or whether it should have some kind of focus or whether it is the equivalent of an online diary or what. But I am a blogger.

For those of you who are unaware of the blogging phenomenon I am not going to give a brief history of it because I don’t know what the history of it is. I do know, though, that there are thousands of people who now post their own thoughts on the net. A blog is like an ‘online journal’ and lots of people use their blog to express their thoughts in a public forum – I say public, but I reckon I could count the number of people who have visited my site on the fingers of one hand…

There are also some very good and informative blogs around too! Maggi Dawn has a blog which is considering ‘emerging church’ and contains plenty of food for thought. If you have no idea what emerging church is, then you might want to check it out. http://maggidawn.blogspot.com/ Maggi also recently linked to a blog that I had to include just because of the name – though having looked at the blog it merits inclusion due to its content http://bigbulkyanglican.blogspot.com/.

Some of my best thoughts for sermons are from the blog of Sarah Dylan Breuer, a theologian and recently accepted ‘postulant’ (Ordinand) in the Episcopal Church of the USA . It is interesting reading with lots of links to other blogs and can be found at www.sarahlaughed.net/lectionary-blog.html. I often find that ideas Sarah puts forward crop up in my talks and sermons not because I’m short of ideas but because hers are so good.

But this is not meant to just be a blog advert – so you might want to know why I am writing about them. It is not to publicise my own digital waffle – you get quite enough of that already from eChurch Active. It is because so many people moan about the internet as a negative thing – yes we all get spam and Viagra adverts and dodgy weblinks, there are scams galore and a lot more information than there is wisdom. But every now and then we are reminded that this massive network of computers is also a massive network of people on computers.

There is still a lot of thinking that needs doing about the internet and its meaning for Christians. There is still an awful lot of theological reflection to be done just about how we bring meaning to out place on the internet. For many of us the net is just part of everyday life, and we use it for interest, for shopping, for research – but for some it is an essential part of their lives, and offers some kind of community in a fragmented world.

I don’t want to go into a great deal of thought about the good and bad of internet usage, or the difficulties of regulation or censorship. I just want to commend something that seems to me to be potentially a good thing – blogging is often about ‘thinking out loud’, it is a creative act, it is something through which people seek to connect to other people. Like all things ‘net’ it can be good, it can be bad, it can be profound, it can be trivial. It can be fun too, though!


Saturday, October 23, 2004

i could be profound

Should have written last week but found real life intruding on my blogtime - very incosiderate of reality if you ask me.

Last week was a trip to holy joes which was a great way to spend a tuesday evening - now meeting in a little place called 'the greencoat boy' in London which is in Greencoat place. New venue, same old vibe, it was fun to be back in a venue that felt a little bit 'dingy' rather than 'shabby' which was the feeling of the 'bag o' nails'.

Anyway, good crowd, good conversation. For those of you who haven't checked out the website yet www.holyjoes.com is still worth visiting, you can also check out their blog which is just starting up on http://holyjoes.blogspot.com. The hope is that this will be an online version of HJs conversations of the deep and profound type we have on Tuesday nights. Having said that blogger wont let me sign in to make comments at the moment so i will have to try again later.

The conversation a couple of Tuesdays back, when i was leading the session, or facilitating or something like that was about 'Faith'. The original plan was 'Faith, Hope, Love' but we only managed to start with the first bit, so i will save the other parts of the talk for another time or times. As always, leading a session at HJs is as much a learning experience as anything else and i found the evening really thought provoking.

It all comes down to what this faith thing is. The notes for what i said will be posted when i get around to setting up my website!!! I am slow on this tech thingy and blogging is proving to be trying enough without trying to set up a webpage.

So, Faith. It's all about holding close to this amazing, frightening, exciting, awe-inspiring relationship we have with God. That seems to be the result of a few years of study, a couple of seminars i led at greenbelt a few years back and our talk at Holy Joes. There's lots more we can say about what that means, but what I think strikes me again and again is that it is not about doctrine, or theology or church (all of which i consider important) or even Bible (ditto and some) but about relationship.

This is what makes faith alive, vibrant, exciting, special, crucial.

Much more to be said but that's all i can do for now as i have to go somewhere. Comments welcomed...

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

I've been busy

It feels like ages since i've posted anything, and has been a while... It's just been a case of real life getting in the way of my blogging.

things never get any slower or quieter do they? We say to ourselves 'I'll get that done when i have a quiet moment' or 'I'll get round to it when things aren't so busy' but they always are so busy.

So i thought i'd better stop in just to leave a line or too for the sake of appearance. I see that i have a comment (apart from the nice 'welcome to blogging' comment from Steve in my first post) and am most grateful to scog blog http://blogsprogress.blogspot.com/for it. Contact via our shared admiration for Martyn Joseph - singer, songwriter, activist and good bloke (www.martynjoseph.com) . The only time i ever met him he came to speak and share some songs with Holy Joes (www.holyjoes.com) and whilst we had supper together in a group before the meeting he was gracious enough to look at all the baby photos i had in my wallet (well my little girl is beautiful). this inspires me to add another more recent photo for your edification and enlightenment.

Bump, toddler and mum to be all seem to be doing well.