Sunday, June 11, 2006

Guardians of ...what?

I’ve been thinking more about what I really wanted to say at the SEC Synod the other day. The thing about having a rush of blood to the head and leaping to your feet to let one of the bees out of your bunnet is that you only have two minutes allowed for the process and you spend some of it telling everyone who you are and addressing the chair politely and according to the proper formula.

One of the things I did manage to slip in was a reference to Guardian Unlimited - and this was not merely maternal pride and prejudice. I realise through seemingly endless discussion that an aspect of blogging which strikes fear into the trembling hearts of the uninitiated is the apparent freedom of people to say what they like. In public. Where it is open to all to comment. A bit like Jesus, maybe? But I digress. What I meant by referring to the Guardian site is that on its newsblog you have authoritative writers doing what they’ve always done : writing about topics in which they have some expertise, or about which they have something interesting to say. Now, I don’t know how far what they say is moderated or edited – but this is presumably a part of the business of being a journalist. The point is that anyone is then free to react to what they’ve said, in public – and to have their opinion in turn debated by other readers. If comments are offensive or out of order in some way, they are removed by someone at The Guardian who is in a position to do this. There may also be some comment made about the direction the discussion was taking.

At Synod there were limited chances for Joe/Josephine Delegate to speak on the issues discussed. Next chance will be in another year. Hardly vibrant, eh? Cold porridge het again, I’d say. Would it not be A Good Thing if issues like, say, the new Baptismal Rite had been the subject of a vigorous online debate during the past year, so that the members of the hardworking Liturgy Committee weren’t required to deal with the opinions that had been backing up since the draft of the new rite was put out for discussion?

Of course it would. 'Nuff said. For now anyway.

7 comments:

  1. Say: STOP THE FIN CHRISTIAN WAR

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  2. Perhaps the previous entry is one of the"undesired comments" mentioned by you on Friday!Where does it come from?

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  3. I think the Baptismal Rites came out long before Blogs were even thought of. We certainly discussed them in our congregation about 3 years ago. Then I filled in the form with suggestions 2 years ago. Then we debated it all last year. So why were there pleas from your Diocese to prolong it? It seems to me that some clergy just were ignoring the letters and forms and pleas from the liturgy committee years ago.

    Right! got that off my chest! But in future, yes I think blogging would be a good way to go when discussing liturgy.

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  4. cl - I happen to agree about the war, but don't think this is a particularly relevant place to make the comment.
    Bun - you can find out the source by clicking on the name. It links to the site - Scottish, as it happens.
    ruth - I know. I just arrived on this scene after my escape from work, remember - and my main contention with the new rite would be the level of expression more than anything else. I merely used it as an example of the kind of thing that would go well on blogs.

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  5. There is however a danger of discussing things entirely online. It can give the illusion of being open and democratic but it may in fact be a self-selected, relatively closed community that does the discussion. (In my opinion, the SQA made this mistake with the Computing course a few years ago. In theory they opened up discussion but because they didn't also send out the paperwork for discussion, like they used to, a lot of people were excluded ...and that was Computing teachers!)

    However, I think blogging (or wikis) could be a good additional means of discussing issues, but for the foreseeable future, it should not replace existing discussion forums.

    There are a few Scottish Episcopalian bloggers (for instance I subscribe to Gadget Vicar's blog). Did none of them speak up for what you were trying to say?

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  6. Christine

    I just wanted to thank you for your comment in the synod debate. I was the one who helped to put together several strands of thought to create the paper which we were debating and also drafted the motion in question.

    We were hoping that people would come up with ideas from the floor that we can take forward - your contribution was just the kind of thing that I was hoping for from the process.

    I didn't have speaking rights this year, not being a member of synod, otherwise I would have joined in. I was there for the Organisational Review Group which meets to review the synodical process. Any suggestions on how to improve synod always welcome.

    Thanks again

    KELVIN

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  7. Kelvin, I wondered why you didn't join in - as someone who would at least understand what I was going on about. I'll comment on Synod when I have my own online access back again - at the moment I'm supposed to be doing contextual Bible study but have hijacked the facilitator's PC instead. I'm so pleased to hear from you, though!
    David - no, no: I don't want exclusive online dealings (my current disconnected state has reminded me of life before connectivity) but simply the use of all the resources available to us. When you don't live in Glasgow or Edinburgh - and especially when a ferry ride is involved - this becomes very important.

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