Here at the Beaker Folk, we are very keen to embrace people who claim to be “spiritual but not religious”. I find they tend to have very high discretionary spending levels, on things like self-help books, rosaries, tea lights and aromatherapy oils. Importantly, they aren’t often involved in regular standing-orders to religious organisations – which can be so tedious to transfer across – especially without asking them.
A guest post from the Rev’d Dr P.T. (name changed to protect the cynical):
As you will be aware one of the major tasks facing the dioceses of the Church of England is to ensure that they have the correct three word strapline or slogan. If we can only get that right then surely the kingdom will arrive. However some of you may be nervous that you are serving in a Diocese whose strapline is rubbish. That is why I have done extensive research and put the (rather limited selection of) words used to construct these straplines into a wordle. It is attached. If you belong to a Diocese where they say: ‘God transforming communities’, you could not be in a better place. If you are ‘empowering diverse worship’ you need to look for a move. I note that ‘Jesus’ and ‘love’ do not appear, and that ‘transform’ appears once in the NRSV translation of the Bible.
“Indvidual” is a science-made word denoting an object-like, statistical idea. The proper term for a human being is “self” or “person”.
Jacques Barzun Science: the Glorious Entertainment, (Secker & Warburg, 1964), note on p. 197. Barzun died this month at the age of 104, after a distinguished career at Columbia.
Not sure I’d like to limit myself to being an “object-like, statistical idea”, and yet, to be an individual is the highest good in our society. All the better for being poured into the statistical manipulations required by post-modern corporatist capitalism?
One scientist, Professor Robert Heizer, has been heard to declare that “one idea is worth a thousand pictures,” and he accordingly prefers to teach by lecturing rather than by showing slides and films.
Jacques Barzun Science: the Glorious Entertainment, (Secker & Warburg, 1964), note on p. 155. Barzun died this month at the age of 104, after a distinguished career at Columbia.
…I have learned that different disciplines use particular words to describe good work done in that discipline. For example, in physics the best work is described as ‘‘elegant’’ which seems to mean the implications of the work may not be understood or the work itself may not be understood, but the mathematics has an undeniable beauty. Work in mathematics is sometimes described as elegant, but mathematicians usually describe the best work as ‘‘deep.’’ Deep mathematics usually indicates math not well understood in the community of mathematics. Once what was ‘‘deep’’ is generally understood, it becomes applied mathematics. Work in biology is usually described as ‘‘interesting’’ which means the work helps me understand or ‘‘see’’ what I had not understood. The primary words used in the social sciences are ‘‘robust,’’‘‘powerful,’’ ‘‘important,’’ and ‘‘useful.’’ ‘‘Robust’’ usually means work that helps the social scientist explain wider implications other than the ones the work was initially designed to accomplish. In the humanities the work is described as ‘‘influential’’ which seems to indicate that the work has changed the minds of other scholars who know something about that subject. In some fields in the humanities, such as philosophy, the work can be described as representing a powerful argument. I often reflect that the word that should best describe theology is ‘‘faithful’’ which may well make theology closer to mathematics and physics than the social sciences. At least in mathematics and physics it is still assumed that such work is committed to truth.
From Stanley Hauerwas, The State of the University: academic knowledges and the knowledge of God (Oxford?; Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2007), p. 20, note 19].
Carmen Callil has resigned as a judge on the Man Booker International prize panel. She disagreed with its decision to award a special prize to Philip Roth.
Speaking of Roth’s writing, which includes Portnoy’s Complaint and The Human Stain, Callil said he “goes on and on and on about the same subject in almost every single book. It’s as though he’s sitting on your face and you can’t breathe”.
I thought Roth’s obsession was slightly different from that…
According to Harold Camping and his Family Radio flavour of Millenarianism, this and his assertion that this Saturday evening will mark the end of the world (again in a particularly Family Radio flavour of Millenarianism).
When the world doesn’t end this Saturday (and it won’t), may I be the first person to book Sunday morning’s Blog Entry?
Yep, for your Harold, and your people, this Sunday will be…