Saturday, 18 December 2010

Radio Chadderbox on Religious Blogging

Lara Crofter: Peter asked me to stand in for him today for the religion slot as he is preparing for an interview asking why the local council leader is still a Liberal Democrat. Anyway I don't know anything about this other than these notes so you bloggers are going to have to help me along. I have in the studio two blogging bishops, Ken Beans and Harold Wilson, Lesley Bloke again, a Church in England curate, then Rachel Marsovenus, who is a Church in England ordinand, and Harry Tickpaper a local blogger. Well I got that right! I'm afraid we were hoping to have with us Laurie Parks but he couldn't make it. Just want to say that Bishop Ken Beans, you are now returning to Bradford from South London. It was announced yesterday, yes?

Kenneth Beans: Yes I'm coming north, west from here.

Lara Crofter: My researchers said they are closing Bradford down. They are going to call it Wakefield, and Wakefield vacancy is filled isn't it?

Kenneth Beans: Not quite. I'll have my feet under the table for some time.

Lara Crofter: But they are bringing the furniture van.

Kenneth Beans: But it is a good opportunity to witness in a multifaith community.

Lara Crofter: It says here that Bradford Cathedral is in the plughole, and that you're outnumbered by Muslims.

Harry Tickpaper: There is a big media church in Bradford, up on top, that sucks the life out of evangelical churches.

Kenneth Beans: Well also I know the place, studying foreign languages.

Harold Wilson: Is it true that when you and Rowanov Treetri get together with a group of us bishops that you speak in Russian so no one else can understand what you are saying? I mean you were also a spy weren't you?

Kenneth Beans: Not quite a spy, no. Intelligence. Rowanov has huge insights into Russia and it's why he changed his name. I get bored with Dostoyevsky but it's bedtime reading excitement for Rowanov.

Lara Crofter: So if you're in intelligence you become a bishop?

Lesley Bloke: Does intelligence and being a bishop go together? You can take that question both ways.

Kenneth Beans: I don't comment on that part of my career.

Lara Crofter: I've only really got one question, everyone. Why do you do blogging? May as well start with you.

Kenneth Beans: Well it gives an insight to the life of a bishop, and opens the door a gap to different people to see what I do and hopefully I see what they do. I want to be beyond the church audience, recognising that there's no deference any more.

Lesley Bloke: Bishop Narrorect said the royal marriage will last 7 years and he was a bit rude. He got silenced.

Kenneth Beans: Well his boss and he himself had a conversation about his lack of deference and he agreed to be silent and withdraw. I obviously watch what I say and how little or much I reveal. In giving a few insights I want to be positive and I am a Church representative - aren't we all?

Harry Tickpaper: No.

Kenneth Beans: With a blog you get comments and even if critical I try to learn from them. I try not to equate Church responses with paranoid narcissistic criminological psychology. I don't want to play it safe, but I am going to be careful before writing throwaway lines without explaining them. I once was a bit rude myself about the good knocking copy that is Richard Dawkins - no poblem with the Church there! - but I learnt from that, even if Philip Pullman is more my kind of atheist and he has mutual respect with Rowanov.

Lara Crofter: It says here that you blogged about banning Christmas carols and that got you into a lot of trouble. Once in Royal David's City is 'Victorian behaviour control'. Jesus is only as real as Father Christmas.

Kenneth Beans: No I didn't: that was a newspaper article and the blog was a chance to put the record straight, not that I had bent it. The blog showed how the media works.

Lara Crofter: It's always our fault.

Harry Tickpaper: You contradicted yourself: the nativity is like a panto, people sing Away in a Manger as if it is true. The Archbishop of Anglicanism once said on that radio programme "Yes" to it being history. In your desperation to sound orthodox, you can't make your mind up. But if it's not history, why not let it be a panto? A panto has insights, and they are done by adults for adults and children just like you want nativity plays done by adults.

Kenneth Beans: OK. Add all that to one of the comments on my blog.

Lara Crofter: You're a bishop, Harold Wilson, why do you blog? Same reason as him?

Harold Wilson: [Puffing on his pipe]

Lara Crofter: Harold Wilson?

Harold Wilson: Personal insights.

Lara Crofter: You were in India. You obviously didn't become a Handle.

Harold Wilson: A what? [Puffs on his pipe]

Lara Crofter: A Handle or a Brushishist.

Lesley Bloke: Is that Hindu or Buddhist by any chance?

Lara Crofter: One of them like.

Harold Wilson: No no. I went around churches. I am rumoured to be a Christian you know. But I met many Hindus. Respect. I can say Om like the best of them.

Lesley Bloke: You came out as one of our supporters, regarding the Anglican Communion Covenant.

Harold Wilson: [Puffing on his pipe]

Lesley Bloke: You asked who exactly supported it, wondered what the text addresses, asked what the problem is and how. Quite a - is someone touching my leg?

Harold Wilson: I asked questions, that's all, and about relationships too.

Lesley Bloke: You sort of came out. That's my foot now.

Harold Wilson: I did not rage against the machine. More like Om. See, it's about trust in the Anglican Communion and it comes - speaking as a bishop - from openness, listening, speech up front, compassion, being accountable, being hopeful. I'm sure others agree with this.

Kenneth Beans: Oh yes, but the document frames the listening and the speech.

Harold Wilson: Yes it may be a good idea, but how do we convince people?

Kenneth Beans: They voted for it in big numbers, and I bet they will in the future too.

Harold Wilson: Well I agree even if by simple majority but I get the sense of a different undercurrent. It is not proven. Do we need a turkey turner in the drawer if it is essentially useless?

Lara Crofter: You have to be careful: doesn't this annoy your boss Rowanov Treetri?

Harold Wilson: I'm simply asking questions, and I am sure he asks questions. We have conversations, and keep having them. Non-credal diversity whilst maintaining our credal core does mean choice. Do we turn a turtle quickly or keep turning it?

Lara Crofter: I don't understand anything about this turning turkeys and turtles. Is that for Christmas then? Now, Lesley Bloke you are a curate and up here again, and why do you do this blogging? Because you turn out loads, and it's like we know who you are.

Lesley Bloke: Honesty, really, like talking to a psychiatrist. Hey, that's my knee!

Lara Crofter: You're just a curate, like, but you are also the International Co-ordinator of the Anti-Anglican Covenant Campaign, or something like that.

Lesley Bloke: Well that's a turkey all right. Er, because this is my Church just as it is his Church and his Church.

Rachel Marsovenus: Mine too; so much we can do and really want to reach out like a great big Fresh Expression.

Lesley Bloke: Her's too. She will be one of our priests. But the lay people too.

Harold Wilson: I just want to make the point that I am not the same. I don't carry the big sticker, like you do.

Rachel Marsovenus: The thing is, Lesley Bloke, I'm really really excited. I see Barth having a point of contact in the revelation to us and Brunner developing that point of contact like upwards, and it's all about the impact the Bible can have on your life and we obviously don't want to be doctrinal when we get people interested but there are Christian standards like. But I read your blogs and I don't get that, so I get like theological subjectivity if it is theological at all. Where's the rumour? Is it some theology we haven't done yet at college, or they might do at a different college.

Lesley Bloke: You're young, love.

Rachel Marsovenus: Don't patronise me, I've got kids too.

Lesley Bloke: Why is someone touching my ankle? I'm postmodern.

Rachel Marsovenus: I'm postmodern, that the Christian Church has its identity reinforced by its role performance, especially transmitting its core identity into the community. We can all party into the society!

Kenneth Beans: Fantastic you are Ms Marsovenus.

Rachel Marsovenus: Don't patronise me!

Kenneth Beans: But you've got the Gospel in the right place.

Rachel Marsovenus: Brilliant.

Harold Wilson: Absolutely and agree with all that. Oh and well done, you'll go a long way. Just be careful with your blogging, especially if you change your mind.

Lesley Bloke: If you read what I write you see that I've been there and done that. I was an Anglo-Catholic, I was a Conservative Evangelical. I'm now postmodern.

Rachel Marsovenus: My blog engages with Conservative Evangelicals and I want to reach out to as many people as possible. I'm not a Conservative Evangelical myself, after all I want to be a priest. My friend Jade Stowaway she used to blog on that.

Harry Tickpaper: Ah yes and that blog disappeared. I wonder why? Postmodern has different interpretations: you can be conservative or liberal postmodern. Compare Lindbeck and Liechty for closed and open postliberalism.

Lara Crofter: I'm lost.

Lesley Bloke: Let's simplify this. Being a minister of the gospel, following the example of Jesus...

Rachel Marsovenus: Is that all it is? Where's the community of love that is the Trinity?

Lesley Bloke: surely at its heart pastoral, to use your own personal experience so as not to bring judgment on others who undergo such similar experiences as yourself. And I have had so many experiences that I want to use them for positive effect.

Kenneth Beans: There is a Church to uphold, that is you are a representative of the Church. Ms Marsovenus understands this.

Lara Crofter: Rachel Marsovenus, you have answered my question love. But you are a really exciting sort of woman, a full life ahead of you.

Rachel Marsovenus: I'm really really looking forward to all the ways we can turn around these half empty churches I visit and have new ways to engage people who don't go in them when we don't yet meet them.

Lara Crofter: Finally, Harry Tickpaper, you used to be Church of England but not any more. Why do you blog then?

Harry Tickpaper: Well it was started to support my website, but got into newsy issues in the Anglican scene quickly and made a breakthrough when it carried the text of a theological college principal and his strategy for defeating the liberals. But I really want to address this issue of honesty...

Lesley Bloke: It was you wasn't it.

Harry Tickpaper: I don't think I'm original in this at all, and it is well known. Over and over again, people who keep blogs put themselves at risk. Blogs and institutions do not mix. See, there is this argument that says if you are a schoolteacher you have no business blogging whatsoever because it is institutional and confidential and you are only ever going to get dissident voices in some university teaching departments about the theories of teaching...

Lara Crofter: I haven't a clue what you are on about and I'm sure our listeners don't.

Harry Tickpaper: My point is that anyone who blogs about what happens in school is a fool, but you ought to be able to equate ministry with honesty. I've done this myself even without blogging and came a cropper. Now ministry is about - like he said - upholding the Church. You make promises to preach in a certain way. Suppose you think something - perhaps that Jesus is not morally perfect, say, or you don't really believe in the Trinity - but then you've made promises to preach to uphold Church doctrines. Well that immediately causes personal dishonesty. But you are supposed to give the upholding, collective account not your own. Now the Church wants also a certain style. You see we have an Archbishop who tells a reporter at an airport, asking for his personal view, that he is an Archbishop and this is what he teaches. Through and through he takes a public line, though this Covenant is also his Anglo-Catholicism. I mean, when the personal and the public coincide, then you can be personal, but when not it is a risk that builds for as long as the blog goes on.

Lara Crofter: Oh. But you left their Church.

Rachel Marsovenus: Could you not be revitalised to the Gospel via some Fresh Expression meeting place?

Harry Tickpaper: Fresh Expression is no more than artificial clergy monitoring and manipulation. Fresh Expression is already in those media churches, and they look after themselves. No, as for me, I've been here and there. I still cover what I used to cover, like it is loose ends. If the C of E wants a Covenant, then that's its business. Someone has hit my leg now and that hurt. I'm saying it will freeze the C of E as a focus to serve the slowest to change in Anglicanism. It will be the dead middle of a Covenant Communion. But I'm trying to develop my own ideas, and Unitarian related ones now. But I am not a member of any Unitarian institution, and for that there are good Unitarian precedents. But Unitarian chapels also create those institutional pressures despite the claims for individualism.

Kenneth Beans: Well Unitarians are not Christians so I don't see the relevance.

Harry Tickpaper: A multifaith approach, listening?

Kenneth Beans: Well to Muslims and Hindus, people in the community.

Harry Tickpaper: I'm in the community.

Lesley Bloke: Care in the community.

Harry Tickpaper: Institutional hatreds run deep...

Lesley Bloke: I wasn't being institutional, personal - just a joke.

Harry Tickpaper: He was. Your own Anglican history includes liberal interaction with Unitarians.

Harold Wilson: Not something I wish to pursue.

Lara Crofter: Oh shit - oh ever so sorry - the time has run out. George Hudson please. More words from the boss for me I'm sure.

Kenneth Beans: Institutionalism?

George Hudson: I'm on Skipton station, Lara.

Kenneth Beans: I'm going there soon.

George Hudson: By the way, where were the jokes?

Lesley Bloke: A man asks how to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary - she says a two minute silence. Er, always talk to your husband when making love, assuming your telephone is nearby. A woman said she was approaching forty and he asked from which direction. He wasn't pushing forty, he was clinging on. This husband and wife orgasmed together: he was in the cupboard and she was in bed with her lover. And once you're over the hill you pick up speed.

George Hudson: Well up this hilly line it's brass monkey's I can tell you. You get up higher on that Settle and Carlisle line and you wonder how the navvies ever did it.

Kenneth Beans: Multiculturalism means we don't call them navvies any more. I wonder if some of us can talk quietly afterwards, perhaps in pairs, confidentially?

Harry Tickpaper: Fancy a drink?

Lesley Bloke: Yeah. It was you. Now?

Harry Tickpaper: Yeah. Come quickly.

Lesley Bloke: I will.

Kenneth Beans: Not good; not what I meant.

Lara Crofter: Peter. Is the Council Leader with you?

Peter Levite: Hello Lara. He is.


Lesley said...

LOL! Happy to go out for a pint with Harry

Rach Marszalek said...

Yes I am laughing too...

Bishop Alan Wilson said...

Love it! It's always struck me that a pipe is a wonderful thing to have at the point in the liturgy the vicar says "let us offer one another a sign of peace." It's almost worth taking up smoking if someone will get me a pipe for Christmas...

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

Some people here have got the idea that this is about them. I have to say these are entirely fictional characters. I mean there is the Radio Chadderbox Christmas Party coming soon, and no one will want to be associated with that. The staff will have to go around with microphones in a reception room with so many in attendance.

Erika Baker said...

Glad you said that, Pluralist. I would have hated anyone real to be associated with the touching of legs etc.