Thursday, July 31, 2008

too educated for hierarchical structures?

I wonder if there is a progression of believing depending on how educated you and your culture is. Ancient cultures often have very well defined hierarchical structures which dominate life. It is said that children develop best in a well structured environment.

So I wonder if my dissatisfaction with institutional religion is a combination of being taught (and strong belief) in democracy and the importance of self-thought and self-action and living in a culture where the usefulness of most hierarchical structures have been demolished. Does that even make any sense?

In most periods of history, presumably democracy would not have been much use as most people would not have known how to exercise their rights. Maybe there is no point in telling a woman she has the right to make her own life choices when her only experience is within a rigid hierarchical society where she has few apparent choices to make.

As we're educated, we appreciate how many other options there are and how many other things we could be doing. With reference to religion, I don't really want to be told how to behave or how to think - presumably as I've been taught to argue and consider the merits of a case rather than accept someone's word for it.

OK, I'm boring myself now.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

£3 an hour

Yesterday I had a very unnerving experience of meeting some women who said that they legally get paid around £3 per hour - bearing in mind that the national minimum wage is £5.52.

I've not yet decided what to do with this information except feel ashamed that we live in a country where some of the poorest people are paid a fraction of the national minimum wage.


the beginning of the end for google

it is called cuil

Read it and weap, google.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

losing faith

What happens when an Anglican Priest literally loses faith and asks the authorities to take away his license?

Is this a candidate for the most honest post seen this year?

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

the beatitude creed

A good thought from scott over on The Crowded Handbasket, a new blog about being at the edges of faith.

How about this for a novel creed:

I believe that the poor in spirit will inherit the kingdom of Heaven.
I believe there will be comfort for those who mourn.
I believe that being meek is a good thing and that those who give everything will inherit the earth.
I believe that those whose heart is set on seeking righteousness will find it.
I believe the merciful will receive more than they think they deserve.
I believe the pure in heart will be blessed and will see God.
I believe that those who long for peace and do more than others think is safe are children of the living God.
I believe in a place of safety for those who are hurt for trying to do the right thing.

I believe that being poor, and ignored and weak, and sick and tired and broken and messed up and kicked around is not as spiritually dangerous as being self-satisfied and clever and well-clothed and well-fed and degreed and creed-ed and important.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New Creeds

Imagine we could wash away all our existing Christian creeds, where would you start constructing a new one?

Broken consumer goods

To add to our collection of broken consumer goods, our kettle has stopped working. It is Morphy Richards brand and we have had it for about 4 years.

Our washing machine has stood in the kitchen unused for several months. It is probably the oldest consumer product we have - and was bought soon after we were married in the summer of 2000.

And of course, a while back we had a disastrous short relationship with a fridge-freezer.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Boycotting Olympics

It is now only 28 days until the start of the Beijing Olympic Games.

Whilst I am not a great sports enthusiast and we have not had a TV for many years, it is hard not to get caught up in this feast of sport. And of course, there is nothing wrong with that.

With only a month to go, the campaign to boycott the games gathers pace. Reporters Sans Frontieres says

Around 30 journalists and 50 Internet users are currently detained in China. Some of them since the 1980s. The government blocks access to thousands for news websites. It jams the Chinese, Tibetan and Uyghur-language programmes of 10 international radio stations. After focusing on websites and chat forums, the authorities are now concentrating on blogs and video-sharing sites. China’s blog services incorporate all the filters that block keywords considered “subversive” by the censors. The law severely punishes “divulging state secrets,” “subversion” and “defamation” - charges that are regularly used to silence the most outspoken critics. Although the rules for foreign journalists have been relaxed, it is still impossible for the international media to employ Chinese journalists or to move about freely in Tibet and Xinjiang.

The Chinese authorities promised the IOC and international community concrete improvements in human rights in order to win the 2008 Olympics for Beijing. But they changed their tone after getting what they wanted. For example, then deputy Prime Minister Li Lanqing said, four days after the IOC vote in 2001, that “China’s Olympic victory” should encourage the country to maintain its “healthy life” by combatting such problems as the Falungong spiritual movement, which had “stirred up violent crime.” Several thousands of Falungong followers have been jailed since the movement was banned and at least 100 have died in detention.

I think China is a despotic and disgusting regime which should be boycotted. I pledge to switch off (and/or not read) any media outlet about the Olympic Games for the duration. With holidays and a full timetable of test matches, that shouldn't be too difficult.

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Monday, July 07, 2008


I wonder which Anglican group I should fall into when I say that I don't think women should be bishops - because I don't believe bishops serve any useful function.

Isn't a bit ridiculous when the management of a Christian church is the main headline in the news?

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Saturday, July 05, 2008


As has been kindly pointed out in a recent comment the problem is that I'm Not An Anglican.

Which is fine and no real surprise. I wonder a) what I am and b) what I am supposed to do with that knowledge given that I don't fit anywhere else either.

I know it is a very cheesy thing to say, but I wonder if Jesus, John the Baptist or Francis of Assisi would have fitted within any of our modern expressions of Church either. I wonder how people like Chesterton, CS Lewis and Dostoevsky managed when they were free-thinkers and seemed to stand against Church for The Sake of It.

I wonder what we'd do if someone like Kirekegaard turned up. Anyway, maybe it doesn't really matter and maybe I don't really care.

I might turn up at church and stay for coffee, but don't expect me to get involved in any way.

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Friday, July 04, 2008

Card Games

We quite regularly play a card game, which we call Racing Demons. The rules are a bit complicated to explain, but basically it is like playing patience with other players. Each person has their own pack of cards and you build upon suits that the other people are playing.

Anyway. I was interested to see that the game has various names and variations on the rules we normally play. It would be interesting to do some research on card games and how variations on rules have arisen in families.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Is it time we Got Over Google?

As someone who uses the internet Far Too Much, the smiley cheerful way that Google is taking over my life is starting to really get to me. Most of my day is spent on the Google Search Engine, many of my friends use Gmail addresses, and of course there are a load of other handy Google branded gadgets you can hang your life upon.

Whilst it is now fashionable to hate Microsoft and many people are now experimenting with Linux-based operating systems, we seem to have welcomed the monster that is Google into our lives without much complaint.

Why is that? Well for a start, google is free. At least it is free for those of us who don't try to advertise with google. The competition is so great that this has forced the prices sky-high. Second, Google is easy to use and addictive. It doesn't normally go wrong.

On the other hand, Google must single-handedly hold more sensitive data on more people than any other corporation in the world. Forget closed-circuit TV, if government really wanted to spy on us they'd just ask Google for our details. Something that already happened in China - albeit with yesterday's internet giant Yahoo.

And as a very basic principle, I believe in Small is Beautiful. Google is big, ergo it is not beautiful. Maybe it is time more people rebelled against Google and the other corporations that are taking over our online lives *cough* myspacefacebookwordpress *cough*

Maybe the future is ours. Maybe we can actually make a difference - if we focus on the small and the non-profit. Maybe we need to reorganise our lives around alternative search engines, non profits and the tiny competitors of Google. Maybe it isn't actually that difficult if we really try.

Meanwhile, I've got to get back to promoting and optimising our websites for all those Google visitors.