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1 June 2005

God’s not a capitalist

Slacktivist takes up National Association of Evangelicals’ president Ted Haggard’s claim:
“They’re pro-free markets, they’re pro-private property. … That’s
what evangelical stands for.”  12 times.  With a John Paul II
reference thrown in for a 13th.

Posted in Politicks on 1 June 2005 at 10:22 pm by Nate

The God-bloggers

Public Radio has this new show, with Christopher Lydon as host, called “Open Source.” 
It’s an attempt to bring radio talk (the intelligent kind) together
with blogging, and it combines its topics, it seems, with their
presence on the Internet.

Tonight’s show was on God-blogging, with Jeff Sharlet of The Revealer, Gordon Atkinson of Real Live Preacher, and Sarah Dylan Breuer.  They all had intelligent and insightful things to say.

(I don’t read RLP too often any more, which may be too bad.  I
once had what I can only describe as a mystical experience, just a tiny
fraction of what the great mystics like Julian or Teresa seem to
describe.  But on reading one of his stories, I had a brief few
moments where I understood, and I gasped.  My molecules got
it for a small piece of time.  God was very big and very small,
all around and right in front of me, overpowering and still as
night.  I’ve had a similar experience at a U2 concert [don’t
laugh, it’s true] though not as intense.)

Jeff is one of the smartest people out there right now, besides a
couple of sociologists that I know;  he has an intuitive grasp of
what the contours of a religious sensibility feel like.  On
tonight’s show, Jeff spoke lots about how the Internet is a sort of
“protestant” place for religion, in that it offers the God-bloggers a
place to be, to talk, to worship, to do religion where they don’t have
a mediating authority.

Jeff’s partly right, but I think he dates this tendency altogether too
late.  The tendency to individualize the religious experience
exists in all religions, whether hierarchical or
hyper-individualized.  And it takes two different forms, because
it’s about the rejection of the world (a la Max Weber): one can either
become a protestant, seeking to make the world over for God, or one can
withdraw from the world, seeking to experience God within one’s

I think most of the god-bloggers out there, especially in St. Blog’s
parish (the conservative Roman Catholic bloggers), are these
protestants.  They sense a calling to what they do, a vocation, as
it were.  The protestant god-blogger sees him or her self as God’s
agent, put here to do God’s work.  S/he (and in the RC
blogosphere, it’s pretty she-heavy, ironically) engages in a mighty
call to rally the true to the standard of orthodoxy, whether the
content is orthodox or heterodox.  These bloggers are the majority
of the god-bloggers.  They seek to transform the world, or at
least to figure out who is in the community of the redeemed.  And
I’ve noted this taking place whether the blogger is Christian or
not–the Western mindset, based as it is in the protestant worldview,
is might hard to escape.  These people are the agents of God, the
Higher Power, the Buddha, or whatever.  Americans, especially,
like to save people with whatever they were saved by, be it Jesus or

But what’s interesting is how much we don’t see of the mystic
withdraw-ers.  These are the people who seek not to be the agent
(especially in the full, legal sense of that word) of God, but God’s
vessel.  They empty themselves out.  “The creature must be
silent so God can speak.”  Now, I’m not talking about necessarily
seeing blogging of documentation of mystical experience. 
(Although, it seems to me that there’s a place for that.  Blaise Pascal did it in one way,
and I’m surprised we don’t see more like that on the Internet.) 
But it seems reasonable that people might use the Internet just as they
have used drugs, self-abnegation and asceticism, and “automatic”
writing as means of emptying self and filling up with God.  I
would be hard pressed to think of any of these sorts of mystical
experiences of or through the Internet.  God’s agents outnumber
God’s vessels in the electronic ether.

Here, in no particular order or logic, are some interesting and fun God-blogs.
Michael Povey
U2 Sermons Blog
Salty Vicar
Baptized Pagan
Hugo Schwyzer

Killing the Buddha

Anybody got any well-written Jewish, Muslim, or Buddhist blogs?

Posted in Rayleejun on 1 June 2005 at 9:13 pm by Nate