CEN columm for July due this week so here is June's.
Is this the right room for an argument? So began the famous Monty Python sketch all those years ago. But given that one tactic of the early church was to go to the places where the people were and reason with them (Paul in Athens for instance) then maybe more Christians should hang around the internet joining in discussions. Here’s some places I like to go to reason and discuss. The internet is, by and large, self-policing, so be prepared for language you may not hear in church.
The Pub Philosopher supports free speech, loves a political barney and hates fundamentalism. Mediawatchwatch was set up in January 2005 in reaction to the religious campaign against the BBC's broadcasting of Jerry Springer: the Opera. In its own words, ‘We keep an eye on those groups and individuals who, in order to protect their beliefs from offence, seek to limit freedom of expression. And we make fun of them.’ These two sites will give you links to some places where people make that level of vehemence seem mild. The Rejesus. It is a site with many accolades from mainstream denominations and key movers and shakers in the Christian world but remains independent. Interesting stuff about the culture of spirituality that is developing outside the church can be found at the site of the Group for Evangelisation. For those who have dropped out of church for one reason or another, point them to Vurch where you can, ‘...find a little wisdom, say a short prayer, listen for a still small voice, make the odd connection.’
A short round of applause for the work of the web designer at Harvest Field Church, Cheltenham. Their Virtual Church is a joy to navigate and you can listen to the latest sermon, pop into the chat room to ask a question or just ponder a Bible thought.
David Plotz is an interesting chap. Deputy Editor of an online US magazine site called Slate, he has decided to read the Bible without help from commentaries and blog his thoughts as he goes along. It’s amazing what occurs to him as you follow the Blogging the Bible project.
Listening again is a great treat and the way I catch up on all those excellent, especially BBC Radio 4, shows I miss. Download a Real Player if you don’t have a way of accessing audio files already. There are free versions and free trial versions. I use version 10 and it was free. This feature enabled me to hear the remarkable Hay Festival discussion about blasphemy and freedom of speech with Stephen Fry and Ruth Gledhill’s blog is a good place to go. I dropped in recently to read her take on the whole Richard Coekin, illegal ordination, licence revocation, appeal thing.
Maybe you want to be better armed in the battle of wits that is life. Let Language Guy help you express yourself. You will find, ‘Commentary on how language is used and abused in advertising, politics, the law, and other areas of public life. You can think of this blog as a linguistic self-defense course in which we prepare ourselves to do battle with the forces of linguistic evil.’ Good discussion recently about the difference between US and UK English.
On practical matters, cheers to my friend Matt for finding a site for those of us who, from time to time, have to send large files by email and don’t want them broken up. Go to Mailbigfile and you can transfer files of up to 1 Gigabyte.
Enough work. A game or two to finish with. Try turning lead to gold with Alchemy! Or see how you get on playing TV’s Deal or No Deal on-line. Can you quit at the right time? This version is in dollars.
Last month’s column is archived at Mustard Seed Shavings. Drop by, say hi.