Peter Bowen, no stranger to the UU blogosphere and small group movements, has debuted his new site:
I found an interesting little article about how our brains learn faith. Nothing new, but a tidy package. Refers to Marva Dawn, who has gotten a little bit of UU blog coverage lately.
From the online version of Lutheran Partners, a publication of the ELCA Division for Ministry: Brain-Based Faith Development by Vicky Goplin.
Nouslife, written by Durham, England based "husband; a father; a priest" Andii Bowsher, is quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs because of the quirky, almost Whole Earth Catalog way he introduces topics, including a technological development, namely instant fabrication of goods.
So that's what I thought I was getting at The Ink-Jet Future because as he puts it this "may be very significant a part of a society where increasingly things are made-to-order and manufacture is decentralised. This helps to create or reinforce a mentality of consumerist personalisation."
Then comes the hammer.
How can our mass evangelism [even Alpha] really survive in such a world? Only at the margins. We really are going to have to explore the idea of evangelism as initial spiritual direction.
Oh dear, he's right.
Apopos of the news that the UUA's magazine, UUA World is going from six to four issues a year, and that there will be more fulsome web content, I thought I place my order for a news feed. It has become my #1 way of getting headlines, and I imagine its use will grow and grow.
42 (David Warnock) reports that his denomination -- the Methodist Church of Great Britian -- has a news feed from its website. I've long liked this site for its usefulness and good design despite their small size. (And they have a nice page on the proper use of the denominational emblem and nameplate.)
Dan Harper in his blog recently made some comments about shifting from the customary way of offering a selection of adult courses (not unlike a community college) to a model where goals are established in advance.
This is right, of course.
Unitarian Universalism shares an unfortunate trait with much of the genteel end of Protestantism in that values options more than direction, when both are quite valuable. And when someone volunteers time and resources to learn more and grow deeper in faith, I think you can say that person has used choice. Whence cometh direction?
The Episcopal Church (I'm not sure which agency) has a rather minimal site on Theological Education for All, which assumes there is -- if not a curriculum; that is, meta-plan -- for lay adult education, then at least categories that may be covered for the sake of comprehension.
And what is the first, must-read book they advise?
Maria Harris's Fashion Me a People: Curriculum in the Church
I read it about ten years ago (in seminary) and must have already been in synch with it, because I don't recall being radicalized or annoyed by it. I'll have to see if I have it somewhere around here and pick it back up.
I didn't get much of a childhood religious education. Much of what I got came from television: Davey and Goliath, Jot, and of course, A Charlie Brown Christmas. This year's broadcast just ended.
My brother and I used to mesmerize our parents by reeling off the text of A Charlie Brown Christmas each year as we (putatively) watched it each year. Linus's rendering of the Lukan birth narrative is so hard-wired in my brain that it takes conscious effort to read it with the proper cadence. But if I don't mind saying "in the same country-shepherds, abiding" I still reel off that passage.
Having it in my head, as a built-in resource, let me grow in the faith even if I didn't understand it. There's a lesson there. (No pun intended.)
Lastly, a thought.
Favorite (and most applicable today) quote: This commercial dog is not going to ruin my Christmas.
Better than "religious education" the idea of "Christian formation" gets to what I hope to accomplish personally and in any new church. I think that, as a practice, it has a better idea of the Church as a spiritual unity (and not just a corelative to a school) and puts life-long development back into a continuum. Rather, again, than comparing it to something that one graduates from. Or equally bad: what someone audits for personal curiosity.
So that's what I'm reading now: online reasources, particularly from the Episcopal and Evangelical Covenant churches.
Will let y'all know what I find.
Three things strike me about nineteenth century Universalist church school ("Sabbath school") material: they were cheap, voluminous, and very often written by leading theologians.
Hmm. All I have is a list right now, but see for yourself: