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Blog // Thoughts
May 13, 2007

Thoughts From The Blogosphere

A selection of the comments, ideas and insights that have got me thinking (and in one case salivating) this week… Mind The Gap – Brodie highlights the growing inequality gap as one of the core issues facing PM-to-be-at-last Gordon Brown. The quote from Miroslav Volf is worth repeating here. “A third form of exclusion is […]

A selection of the comments, ideas and insights that have got me thinking (and in one case salivating) this week…

Mind The Gap – Brodie highlights the growing inequality gap as one of the core issues facing PM-to-be-at-last Gordon Brown. The quote from Miroslav Volf is worth repeating here.

“A third form of exclusion is becoming increasingly prevalent not only in the way the rich of the West and North relate to the poor of the Third world, but also in the manner in which suburbs relate to the inner cities, or the jet-setting “creators of high value” to the rabble beneath them. It is exclusion as abandonment.”

The dynamics of glocalisation and the creative class is a theme this blog regularly visits and it is always worth remembering the ethical issues involved in terms of the lives of those who do lead live of high material comfort. Not everyone is invited to the big party. However, I’m a little ambivalent about Volf’s use of “abandonment.” Sometimes it feels like the biggest act of abandonment has been the suburban church turning it’s back on the inner-cities and with them the cosmopolitan and cultural classes that have now, in the era of globalisation, become the new elite. Isn’t it time we stopped building trenches and started building bridges?

Highlights of Challies Seminar at the Basics Conference (via TallSkinnyKiwi) – Some sage ideas on what Christian bloggers are doing well and what they could be doing better.

Top 10 things I love and 5 Things I hate about Hong Kong (via OrdinaryGweilo) – I’ve mentioned before my indifference towards most Hong Kong ex-pat blogs. But, like a moth to a flame, I keep coming back to them. These two lists of likes and dislikes are revealing and rather typical of the scene here.

Scallop Ceviche with Strawberry & Green Chilli – I’m always underwhelmed when my favourite foods become the flavour of the month. This time the victim is ceviche, which seems to be the dish of the year in a lot of places. At least ThePassionateCook, one of my favourite foodblogs is saavy enough to know this recipe is not a true ceviche. Also, check out the Scallop carpaccio ?† la Robuchon – I’ve tried that at the L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon here in HK and it was stunning.

What About Kids In Organic Church? (via NextReformation and ReclaimingTheMission) – Upon closer reading this article wasn’t as impressive as I first thought. “…the truth is that children learn more at home with their whole family than in school with their peers…” – no, not in my experience or understanding. There’s a presumptive tone in the article that I didn’t like. But, the important insight as you wade through the examples appears to be that kids do learn an aweful lot from the example of parents and other key adults (which we all know) but that most formal Sunday School programmes sometimes don’t reflect upon real world ministry experiences or engage kids in them (which is a valuable insight). A growing trend I’m seeing is parents taking their kids along to ministry and mission contexts so they see what it is the adults do in service. That can happen regardless of the eclessial model people are pushing.

Orthodoxy As An Event and Questions About a Quaker Orthodoxy – I’m broadly sympathetic to the way C.Wess is interrogating Tony Jones’ approach to orthodoxy here. In particular, the relation of orthodoxy and teleology fascinates me, especially if we adopt a socio-rhetorical definition of orthodoxy (orthodoxy as collective-practices). What’s the point of church without goals and hopes?

Seeing Through Bars – Not long after I took on this Christian-thing, it became pretty obvious that concern for those in prison was a core focus of the faith (given the prominant role it plays in the Bible). So, I’m inclined to agree with John’s support for it (at least I’m guessing there is support behind those questions). But, by labelling those in jail as perpetrators of evil and suffering, it seems maybe this post has slipped into the same kind of reasoning that allows many believers to ignore the plight of prisoners. If we put grace and restorative justice at the core of our outlook on incarceration, we end up looking not just at the crime and punishment, but also at the formation of the prisoner before their crimes, at the potential for their life afterwards and their prospets for future participation in society.

The Long Take: The Greatest Long Tracking Shots in Cinema – I recently mentioned the long tracking shots in Children of Men. Well, this excellent blogpost has a canonical list of the best of these kinds of shots and is a fantastic resource for all you film-heads.

General Ordination Examination: 2007 (via Brad.Boydston.us) – Brad thinks this is a good set of questions and I’m more than inclined to agree. I have a feeling questions four and six would stump an aweful lot of ministers I have known.

Education and the Exodus Mandate (via JesusPolitics) – Like Marty Duren I have very mixed feelings about the idea of pulling kids of state/secular schools and into some exclusively “Christian” schooling system. I do believe the church has a role to play in education, but I also believe kids need to be prepared for life in the world and that their ability to cope with the strains of growing up require networks and support that extend well beyond the school. Moreover, schools don’t just socialise kids, they also socialise parents, allowing them to build and develop their networks. Duren dismisses socialisation (as an argument against homeschooling) but worries about cultural relevance – I see the two as connected.

Take it Away – We’ve been talking a lot lately about the things we miss about Delhi. I guess it’s a function of approaching the one-year anniversary of our departure. But, of all the things we miss, delivery food was not one of them – it simply wasn’t available where we lived, no Chinese, no Pizza, nothing. In fact, I spent more time in the Kitchen everyday in India than I ever have in my life, which certainly was not all bad! It’s fascinating how expats can experience a city so differently on the ordinary, everyday level.

Toni 17 years ago

“‚Äú‚Ķthe truth is that children learn more at home with their whole family than in school with their peers‚Ķ‚Äù – no, not in my experience or understanding”

I’m a bear of little brain right now, so I’ll not comment much except to say that children learn differently at home and at school. Depending on both the teachers and parents.

I think children learn their heart values at home. To love and care. To abuse and twist. They CAN learn these things outside the home, but loving deliberate parents can build core values into their children at home better than can a school.

But Sunday school (I assume the thrust of the article) is always going to be neither fish nor fowl. Generally it’s not a major learning experience unless very skilled teachers are involved – not the slightly bemused mix of awkward parent, conscientious old lady and teenager trying to skip a service. It seems the main value of SS in some churches is to mind the kids while the adults have their god-slot. You’ve heard the joke about “it looks like it’s got long ears and a fluffy tail but I know the answer’s Jesus”.

There’s no excuse for churches to abdicate from their opportunity to train and disciple the Christian children of their members, but traditional SSs seldom seemed to do that.

Toni 17 years ago

BTW the episcopal ordination examination questions are interesting. I wonder how I’d answer them without formal training. T’would be interesting.

Fernando Gros 17 years ago

Toni, the exam questions are great. In fact I’d love to see some bloggers tackle them and put their ideas out on the line.

As for the education article, I think it was implying more than just “heart values,” but also educational concepts (e.g., home-schooling).

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