blogging

Archbishop Mark Coleridge. Image via David Gibson / RNS

Barrels of ink, digital and real, have been spilled by journalists trying to convey the gravity of the high-stakes debate on church teaching in Rome this month, as the melodrama that a closed-door Vatican gathering of some 270 churchmen almost guarantees.

The synod, as it’s called, has it all: steady leaks to the press, rumors of lavish dinners and reports of intense lobbying, plus open disagreements over doctrine. It’s a steady diet of soap opera and theology, and almost too much for any reporter to keep up with.

Which is why, if you want to know what it’s like to be a player in such an event, and in the extracurricular socializing where much of the work is done, you have to read the blog of Australian Archbishop Mark Coleridge.

Tom Ehrich 11-19-2013

The word Sunday in cut out magazine letters on a cork board. Photo courtesy Thinglass via Shutterstock

In a tech newsletter I read, two colleagues addressed the end of the world of the personal computer that they spent three decades mastering.

There will be no more building PCs from scratch, no more tinkering with the innards, no more fine-tuning the operating system.

“The evolution of the PC industry over the last several years has not been good to the old-school PC professional, particularly for those whose careers have been heavily hardware-oriented,” said the writer.

Many clergy and lay leaders are in exactly this position.

Christian Piatt 07-19-2012
Ten Commandments Mosaic. Image via Zvonimir Atletic / Shutterstock

Ten Commandments Mosaic. Image via Zvonimir Atletic / Shutterstock

No, this is not some new Charlie Kauffman movie that folds in on itself, creating a perpetual feedback loop. I’m serious; Christians love Top 10 Lists.

No wonder Moses did only 10 commandments.

I noticed this recently when all of the top three most popular articles on the Sojo.net at the time were lists of this kind. So I went back and did a search of my own personal blog archive. Every one of the most popular pieces started with “10 Reasons,” or “Seven Things” or the like.

Are Christians obsessed with lists? What’s the deal?

I talked to a publisher years ago who told me that the key to a successful theology book was to include something akin to “six easy steps” in the title. I never took them up on that advice, but he knew what he was talking about. So after expending a little grey matter on the issue, I came up with this list of reasons why I think Christians love these kinds of lists:

#1. We don’t want to have to think too hard: Now, before you fire up your keyboard and rattle off a protest email, this is a broader truism across our entire culture....

Tom Ehrich 06-05-2012
Glue image via Feng Yu / Shutterstock

Glue image via Feng Yu / Shutterstock

What matters is human ingenuity. Allow people a window of freedom, and they will fly through it.

They will buy millions of tablet computers as escape from cramped airplane seating and being tethered to desktops. They will create homegrown social networks when Facebook goes weird with their privacy. They will abandon overpriced private colleges, avoid uninspiring suburban housing, and seek investments other than the rigged game of common stocks.

If venture capitalists exact too high a price for startup funding, entrepreneurs will turn to crowd-sourcing. While civic leaders chase yesteryear solutions like industrial parks, real job creators set up shop any old place and work around stuck politicians.

In my work with mainline Protestant churches -- perhaps the most "stuck" of any enterprise -- I see two tracks diverging.

Elizabeth Palmberg 07-08-2011

Don't get me wrong -- I love sitting behind my computer here at Sojourners, or proofreading a stack of magazine-pages-to-be, fresh from Art Director Ed Spivey's printer. But sometimes there's no substitute for being on the scene, live and in person.

Eugene Cho 05-18-2011

I love what I do, but it's amazing how even that which you do and that which you feel "called" to do can grow in an unhealthy way to become idolatrous or simply draining.

Vanessa Ortiz 04-29-2011
Well, the last time I checked, women were in the front lines of civil resistance struggles in http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2011/03/03/women-on-the-frontlines-in-ba..." target="_blank
Julie Clawson 01-05-2010
The Out of Ur blog recently posted a video of N.T. Wright going off on the dangers of social media.
Every day across America we see self-segregation in lunchrooms, in classrooms, and in church pews on Sunday morning. But how about online?
Elizabeth Palmberg 04-24-2009
Here in the Sojo offices, all is abustle as we complete preparations for The Mobilization to End Poverty (it's not too late for you to make plans to a
Eugene Cho 04-03-2009

One of my heroes is Frederick Douglass. I have a list of folks whose stuff I regularly read on and read about, and Frederick Douglass is one of them. Words in today's world have grown to be an interesting sensation. I believe in the power of words via teaching, preaching, blogging, writing, etc.

John Prendergast 03-24-2009
I have a confession to make. In the ninth year of the 21st century, and on my own 46th birthday, I may be the last activist left in America that has never penned a blog.
Duane Shank 10-07-2008
The Evangelical Alliance in the UK recently held a "Godblogs" conference, bringing Christian bloggers together to discuss a Christian approach to blogging.

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