These guidelines have been drawn up at a conference in London by the Evangelical Alliance in response to concern at how religious blogs can quickly descend into vitriol, which I found really fascinating.
The commandments, based on those delivered to Moses by God at the top of Mount Sinai, order bloggers not to "make an idol" of their web space, not to misuse their screen name by using anonymity to sin and to remember the Sabbath by taking one day off a week from blogging. They also order: "You shall not use the web to commit or permit adultery in your mind."
Bloggers are commanded to honour their fellow bloggers and not to get too upset by their mistakes. They shall not murder the reputation of another blogger, shall not give false testimony against a fellow blogger and shall not steal the blog content of another.
Bloggers are also told to be content with their own creation and not to covet their neighbour's blog ranking. Many thousands of blogs have sprung up in the past few years, offering easy access to online opinion forums to any user of the internet.
The "instant access" nature of most blogs means people posting comments often do so in the heat of passion and rarely stop to reflect, as they would if giving a lecture or writing a letter.
The result can be intemperate and sometimes foul language aimed at either the author of the blog or other contributors.
Krish Kandiah, executive director of Churches in Mission, said: "These commandments are virtual rather than set in stone, but are offered to the blogging community as a way to link the Ten Commandments with the art of blogging.
"In the ever-changing information age, what we need is wisdom for life, and God communicates wisdom to our culture through the Bible on every issue from social justice to social networking."
Mark Meynell, senior associate minister for All Souls Church, Langham Place, London, said: "The internet is merely the latest step in the evolution of human communication – and so like any other new medium, it presents us with huge opportunities as well as challenges.
"It is essential that Christians make the most of it because we believe we have good news that is as relevant to those in cyberspace as it is for those in real space."
Ten commandments for bloggers:
1 You shall not put your blog before your integrity
2 You shall not make an idol of your blog
3 You shall not misuse your screen name by using your anonymity to sin
4 Remember the Sabbath day by taking one day off a week from your blog
5 Honour your fellow-bloggers above yourselves and do not give undue significance to their mistakes
6 You shall not murder someone else's honour, reputation or feelings
7 You shall not use the web to commit or permit adultery in your mind
8 You shall not steal another person's content
9 You shall not give false testimony against your fellow-blogger
10 You shall not covet your neighbour's blog ranking. Be content with your own content
Tuesday, 30 September 2008
Monday, 29 September 2008
My macbook is back! The verdict was ‘there’s nothing wrong with it!’ – great news except for the last three weeks my e-based side of life and work has gone out the window. The answer, apparently, to my problems is some interference from the wireless network at home, which prevents the machine coming on. So if it happens again (and it has) I switch off the router etc. and then when I re-boot – hey presto! It’s beyond me and I’m not rushing to get the manuals out and try and sort out the problem, but at least I can use it.
I’ve discovered what king of blogger I am – as a result of this episode, when I’ve had access to a PC in my study, I’ve hardly blogged. I blog on the fly, I blog in front of the TV, I blog when I have half an hour in the car spare. I don’t sit down in front of the computer and say, what shall I blog today? Never really wondered how other people do it, but one or two have asked how I find the time – and the answer is ‘all of the above’. Now it’s back, I must get going on the blogging again.
Well, we have a new member of the family! Yes, we did stop at three children, but now Hattie has joined us – at least for a year. Hattie, aka Henricka, however is a horse. Ben has taken her on loan and dad, having a tow-bar, was enlisted to fetch her (from Gravesend) and deliver her (to the Wirral) via Bristol – even without doing the maths, that’s a fair way. Two days of towing a horse-box – Maggie thinks I’m weird, but I actually enjoyed it. Ben, now in his second year at Vet School, has added to his already fairly full agenda for the next 12 months. He’s hoping to get Hattie geared up for next seasons eventing and make some more progress towards one of his ambitions – competing at Badminton. As he said, one childhood ambition was realised as we drove away from Matt Prior (who’s lent the horse) with Hattie in tow.
Monday, 22 September 2008
Well, my introduction to London Fashion week was an immensely enjoyable and interesting eye-opener. It was pretty much as I imagined in many ways and we enjoyed the announcement ‘and new brand…. RAJE’. Emily’s dresses seemed to go down well and it was really weird after the show to see our youngest with a line of journalists and cameramen waiting to ask questions. They didn’t get the overall no.1 prize, but came away with plenty of interest and are potentially looking at having their range produced and sold via an ethical fashion seller. Their show was followed by a party put on by the Ethical Fashion Forum which is a fascinating network of people really committed to the cause. Where are the Christians? It may be a presumption to assume there aren’t a load, but I suspect, most up-standing Christians would turn their noses up at engagement with the fashion industry. However, a glance around your average Church on a Sunday morning will soon reveal the influence of fashion, labels, brands, image – we’re not quite as un-involved as we think. Jesus had something to say about the extent we mis-place concern in things like clothes – and he also had something to say about justice (which surely includes those who sew and manufacture for next to nothing). It’s a complicated and confused world, but we wont change much by dis-engagement. Meanwhile the not working properly mac saga continues - I'm using it at present, but the original presenting problem hasn't been solved yet, so the frustration mounts, the address book was lost and my awareness of how much I'm dependent on everything 'e' goes into another gear....
Monday, 15 September 2008
Friday, 12 September 2008
Monday, 8 September 2008
Wednesday, 3 September 2008
Ivan Illich was once asked what is the most revolutionary way to change society. “Is it violent revolution, or is it gradual reform?” He gave a careful answer. “Neither. If you want to change society, you need to provide an alternative story”, he concluded.Before we set out to change society, however, it’s always a strand in the debate concerning how much we need to change ourselves. From my perspective we need to see a load more change in the vast majority of our Churches & denominational structures, before we’re very equipped to change our communities. Surely, we of all people, don’t need an alternative story – or do we? I just wonder whether this is actually saying something to us in the Church after all. Frequently, it seems to me, our problem seems to be our assumptions. We assume we’re living out of the Christ-story, but a closer examination of the life of our Church reveals we’re more likely living out of routine and past glories. For example, as a Baptist, I passionately believe that Jesus should be at the heart of all we’re about. ‘Jesus is Lord’ is that great affirmation of faith from the New Testament, but also something at the heart of our Baptist origins: that is, Jesus is our King, not any other. Unfortunately, we have the theory, but not always the practice. As an association, we’re now looking at what we say to groups we’re working with who might be wiling to plant something new – I wont pretend we’ve developed very far, but the fact that Jesus needs to be at the heart of all we do has to be of our essence. It’s easily said, what we need to see more of is a radical willingness to live out the implications. Do we need more of the same? Hardly. That’s not to say all of our Churches are off the mark – actually far from it in many places. The increasing problem is that the slice of the population these appeal to is getting smaller and smaller.
Monday, 1 September 2008
Today I'm back at our National Settlement Team & Team Leaders - 3 days we share together most months. The best thing is, as ever, meeting up with a group of colleagues and friends. It's a great group to be a part of - I recognise it's a rich privilege to be part of a meaningful team of colleagues and I'm often conscious it's one of those privileges most people in paid Ministry don't enjoy. For me that's rather tragic - I owe so much to the benefits it provides and confess it's something I've always had, in different forms, since working within the Church. Why, therefore, do too many ministry colleagues seem to isolate themselves and leave themselves vulnerable? Having waded through a lengthy piece of research examining the casualties of Christian Ministry, I'm well aware this involves a complex response. However, wrapped up with this is something about who we are, or who we think we are maybe? It does strike me (and this settlement team is providing additional ammunition for this hunch) far too much of how we're set up as Churches, and wired up as Ministers, revolves around 'our performance' and similar. Correspondingly, this seems to be strongly aligned to the attractional model of Church increasingly being referred to. The day started by dropping Emily at the train station for yet another day in London - I can't get used to my entrepreneurial daughter. I just hope today works out better than last week - she went on the coach, but due to the M4 being closed, ended up 3.5 hours late!