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Blog: Where We Write

Emperors of One Idea

By Barry Taylor

“When Darwin or Einstein proclaim theories that modify our ideas, it is a triumph of science. We do not say that there is another defeat for science, because its old ideas have been abandoned...Religion (should) face change in the same spirit...”

A.N. Whitehead

Whitehead’s quote taps into an important question that we need to ask ourselves: Why in the face of such an evident need for reframing the way we speak about religion is it so difficult for us to let go of old ideas?

Part of the answer might lie in the fact that many people don’t think they have ‘ideas’ about God. They think they’ve happened upon an unchangeable truth and therein is the challenge. It is a difficult notion to overcome. Many of us have been schooled in forms of religion built around crystallized dogmas that are presented to us as the truths we need to embrace in order to be the ‘right kind’ of Christian.

But as the writer Adam Phillips...

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Hack to the Future

By Barry Taylor

Whether it’s Star Wars or Star Trek, Mars Attacks or Minority Report, 2001 A Space Odyssey or Dr. Who, film and television has long been enthralled with a future shaped by science, technology and visions of the future. Using incredible technologies and great stories, imagined worlds are made to look believable and real and have shaped so much of the ways we think the future might unfold. But as the philosopher Slavoj Žižek has noted, even though we know that something is fiction, that it is not real, it still fascinates us because there is something real in the illusion. We choose the things we watch because they trigger our desires even though we aren’t always aware of what we are desiring for when we watch a film or tv show. Žižek also said about cinema, the ‘ultimate perverts art’ because visual media doesn't simply give us what we desire - it tells us how to desire.

What those illusions are, what cinematic desire looks like and...

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More Than Lip Service: Is the Church Essential Work?

By Maria French

What makes the church more than a self-help option?  In the name of ‘essential work,’ what are the categories of community the church provides for its congregants that are integrally Christian?

I don’t ask these questions because I know the answers. 

I ask them because I think they must be asked and deeply considered. 

If you are keeping up on the news across the U.S. when it comes to church openings (or non-openings) you will find that many pastors have fought against the continued government mandates not to assemble for the purposes of worship.  There has been outrage, citing infringement on their first amendment rights, calling for churches to be seen as essential work as well as an invoking of mental health statistics among church goers who no longer have the comfort and community of their in-person Sunday gatherings.

There has been a distinct ‘us vs. them’ narrative when it comes to churches re-opening and...

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Digitally Disrupted

By Barry Taylor

In 1922 the Swiss artist Paul Klee produced an enigmatic artwork called The Twittering Machine. Against a bluish-purple background, four crudely drawn birds cling to a wire. There is a handle attached to the wire the birds are on and you can work out that it probably represents some kind of mechanism to move the birds up and down when it is cranked. Beneath the birds is what looks like some kind of pit, or bath. What the painting means is hotly debated as Klee was an intuitive artist who liked to explore the role of the subconscious mind in inventing and interpreting the world and then left the interpretation of his work up to the viewer. But over the years consensus has centered around the relationship between humans and technology, and the questioning of the issue of progress.

Are we really progressing with all the technologies we employ or are we being manipulated by an invisible hand cranking the crooked wire upon which we all cling whilst hanging over a pit of?

...
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What LIEs in BeLIEf

By Maria French

           “What do you believe, Maria?” is a question I am asked more than you can imagine. 

Only the question sounds more like this…

            “Do you believe that Jesus Christ literally rose from the dead?”

            “Do you believe in hell?” 

            “Do you think Jesus was kidding when he said, ‘I am the way, the truth

             and the life’?

There was a time in my life when I took the bait; hook, line and sinker!

I’ve learned the hard way, more than once, that these are questions I will never answer for people.  And I don’t mean theologically.  I literally mean that I will not physically open my mouth and attempt to answer them.  

In reality, we need to take the...

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