Happy New Year to all FaithinIrelanders !
Many blogs have end of year lists of the best books, films etc. Rather than do that, I hope it does not seem too self-obsessed to reflect aloud on 1 year of blogging (I began on 1st January 2010).
– As far as I’m aware there are very few theoblogs of any theological persuasion in the Republic. Why not I wonder? (Or am I missing something – happy to hear of them.) The fact that four of a limited number – including pioneer soon to be veteran Creideamh.ie, NellyandI (a blend of theology and medicine) and too rarely posting Transfarmer and Sayer – all belong to the same wee church as me just highlights the question. Or at least raises another about what has prompted this outbreak of blogging in Maynooth!
– Blogging in general seems still to be only on the outer margins of the Irish church’s consciousness in a way that I suspect is not true in the US (or Britain?). Few Christians (including church leaders, Bible teachers, theological students, I’ve talked to seem to read or even be aware of blogs in general; are there any pastors who are actively blogging in the Republic of Ireland?). Is this just a numbers thing or something else?
– I’ve found the discipline of regularly putting ‘pen to paper’ really helpful. I guess I process thoughts as I write rather than as I talk. So writing is enjoyable and blogging gives an outlet for the scribbler’s itch. I don’t have any great agenda beyond this – I hope people who visit find it a useful resource and a safe, civil place for conversation.
– On safe, civil places to explore theological ideas and their implications for life – this is one thing I love about teaching at IBI – it has a broad evangelical ethos that give space to students (and teachers) to do this. Again and again students have said how much they enjoy this and how, in the busyness of church life, there is a rarely a structured forum for it to happen. So I’m a bit surprised how limited an activity blogging remains here.
On FaithinIreland itself: I haven’t been carefully planning themes to post on – they just sort of emerge connected to the broad theme of living out a faith in Jesus in an Irish context. A quick review shows these are the ones that have shaped this weblog and I’m glad of suggestions or ideas for 2011 (I’d like to get into some more Christology).
Faith and politics: especially Christians in a plural culture; post-Christendom; engaging with culture
The continuing story of the crisis facing Irish Catholicism
Mission – with a highlight an interview with Chris Wright
Contemporary Ireland: Political and financial crisis, issues of markets and (im)morality; politics.
Men and Women in ministry: arguing for an egalitarian position
Evangelicalism: Irish perspectives;theological issues within; changing shape of
Life in the West: comparisons with global Christianity; fragility of a Western way of life – volcanoes; Credit Crunch; snow & ice
Books: the backbone of this blog – stuff on Paul, mission, God, faith & culture, justice etc
Gospel: a big theme. A highlight of the year being our Summer Institute with Scot McKnight and my blog interview with him
Irish history: a minority and amateur interest here and there
Consumerism and other faith and contemporary culture issues
Bible Studies on Mark:- I’ve enjoyed these simple reflections more than anything else. Nothing beats Jesus!