St Nicholas

Today is the feast of St Nicholas!!  Here is a lovely icon depicting events in the life of St Nick.

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Sorry I haven’t been present on the blog for a couple of months.  I have moved house and also moved into my new role as Vicar of Mixenden and Illingworth in North Halifax.  Needless to say it has been a busy time so there has been little in the way of opportunity to share my banality with you all.  This has been coupled with a 2 month break from the internet as we were unable to get connected until this week!

You can expect normal service to be resumed over the course of the coming week.

And if you would like to play about with a meme where one present distribution based Bishop slaps another heretic based Bishop, click here.

Guest Blogging at BigBible

I have just had a guest blog published at The Big Bible Project. I explore some of the potential theological ghettos that social networking may lead to.

The Dangers of Social Media

social media has created a revolution in the 21st Century.  The way in which information is shared via media such as twitter and YouTube has seen a permanent shift from those in control to the decentralised masses.  Content is now judged not upon it’s worth to the establishment as it sells it’s product to the consumer but is now consumer generated for the consumer.  Peer review is not controlled by the few but by the many.  Sites such as Facebook have changed the way in which networks are not only maintained but also created.  People can experience social interaction with their diasporic friends entwining their scattered realities together.

This is broadly speaking a good thing.  However, like many tools it can have it’s misuses.  For some social media is addictive and can lead some people to become disconnected with the real world.  There have been high profile cases where the boundaries of reality and virtuality have been blurred.

So here we have a video that is no doubt going viral as you read these pixels illuminated on the screen before you.  We see someone creating a work of art out of their 152 Facebook friends… today.  Is this the ultimate expression of the love heart tattoo with the ex-girfriends name lovingly etched within it?

The internet is a terminally fickle place with sites being created and destroyed by the amount of attention that they manage to draw as they captivate the collective imagination of the users.  I can only imagine that 5 years ago this would have been a MySpace tattoo that we would now be watching a hasty covered up with the next best website…. perhaps twitter.

Social media as a phenomenon I would expect to stay.  However I expect my social networks to evolve over the course of my life time.  I expect that they will cross platforms and migrate from format to format.  My reality however, I expect to be here for the duration.  My tattooed arms will be with me for as long as I can manage to keep them attached to my torso.  Friendships with grow with new people.  Some old friendships may fade and disappear.  My arms I intend to hang on to.

Blogging, Self Congratulation and Fail

I suppose this is really an apology.  I’m sorry I haven’t blogged more in the last couple of weeks.  If the truth be told, I have things I intend to say but have no time to do so.  I have been running around like a mad thing trying to sort out this Lenten/Easter malarkey.  I’m also trying to write an essay for the MA I erroneously started to do at the beginning of the academic year.  On top of this I have spent the last two and a half weeks suffering a lot of chest pain with what the doctor said is “probably a bit of pleurisy”.  Orange tablets and paracetamol all the way!  So to those of you who read my blog regularly, I will try to be better at it in the future.

That aside I received an email today and this is the subject of my fail.  The email came from wikio who rank blogs.  I know nothing about the way in which they rank them but the heart did a little leap at the prospect that it may mean something.  With a rush of blood to the head I placed the little badge that says the ranking at the top of the left column.  Then I realised I was an idiot.  Self congratulations based upon something I don’t even understand?  Learn From My Fail people!  LFMF!!

We Publish

I’ve just bought a ticket for We Publish, an event in Leeds.  You can buy tickets here for a mere £5 which gets you the whole day conference and lunch too!  Bargain!  Old Broadcasting House is a really good venue too!!  Win, win and win!!

 WePublish is a new type of event that provides an arena for anyone who creates content, publishes or supports digital publishing.

…Whether you are a self-taught blogger or diarist through to a trained, experienced journalist and all the many alternatives between, this event will than an open and sharing look at subjects such as:

How is ‘digital’ changing the way we publish?
Where are ideas got from?
Moderation
Staying on the right side of the law
Getting the right system in place
Beyond the written word – photography, audio, video and other opportunities
Beyond blogging – what else can I do with my content and ideas?
Building and managing audiences
What do mobile phones, iPads and other new platforms means for me?
Getting real – using third party printing solutions
Using social media to best effect
and much much more…

A wide variety of people will see benefit from this event, but it will be of especial interest to:

Bloggers
Journalists (and journalism students)
Publishers (and those involved in publishing)
Technical support specialists (those who facilitate digital publishing)
Third sector and public sector web writers

So you should expect my blog to get a whole lot better from the 22nd =D

Guest Blogger @ Duttyo’s Blog

I was asked to do a short reflection for a guest spot in the advent series at Duttyo’s Blog.  It is about Joy.

Advent Hope

@Duttyo has started a series of Advent reflections at his blog.  He has kicked off with this great image about hope.  Why don’t you visit each day after 9am?  What are you waiting for?

Natwivity

For those of you who remember Easter live, you will be pleased to know that there is going to be a natwivity that you can either follow on Twitter or on Facebook.

Information Overload

Kester Brewin has posted an interesting blog about ‘The Problem with Digital Culture [1]: Too Much, Too Fast’.  This is an issue I have been pondering over the last few weeks.  The internet has revolutionised the way in which we process information as it comes flying at us in faster ways with increasing clickability.  As I type this blog I have already included a link to another that links to some more in a never-ending cascade of information.

Imagine a conveyor-belt of various items coming towards you, some important, some not so. It’s going at a pace which allows you to take each object, think about it and then classify it, categorise it in your own taxonomy, and store it. It’s not the fastest process, but things do get put away tidily.

Now speed up the belt. Why? Because it means you get more stuff. LOTS more stuff. So much stuff is now coming at you that you just don’t have the time to think about it or categorise it. You just throw it over your shoulder into your store and hope it comes in useful one day when you’ve got more time and aren’t so anxious about missing something really important which might be coming down the line.

The increased availability of information and the free flow of information isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  The internet connects ideas together and provides the joined up thinking.  The TED talk I blogged earlier in the week shows the amazing possibilities of the free flow of information.  I know that I wouldn’t be as good a guitarist, photographer, theologian…. cook…. without these principles.

Like many train journeys, life seems to pass at increasing speed whilst we sit in the carriage trying to catch a glimpse of something we have passed.  It seems that we often give ourselves whiplash as we spin to look for the moments we have missed.  This also has an impact upon our creativity.  Jonny Baker blogged this video this morning.

The means to networking our creativity are pushing us to greater achievements than ever before as we are inspired by those people who live the other side of the world.  However, those networks create information onslaught which may actually be blocking our creativity by preventing our contemplation? 

On Sunday Dr Ruth led a meditation based on a CBT technique she uses at work.  We took five minutes to contemplate a raisin using all of our different senses.  I had no idea that raisins made noise!  I wonder what else I would notice if I took time out to contemplate it. 

And so I head out for lunch with Dr Ruth, perhaps a coffee and then a birthday bash this evening with friends.

Holiday


Hat

I know I haven’t posted for a while. That is because I have been on holiday seeing the interesting sights the world has to offer.