Back to my roots

Sorry for the lack of updates these past weeks. I’ve been swimming as fast as I can just to try to keep up with what’s really important – being a priest who serves a congregation. At the moment I’m the only full-time priest at the Cathedral, and as we’re growing, trying to ramp up our regular activities, and manage staff changes, it means that I’m running out of time to post.

But I’ve been thinking about the direction that I’d like to this blog over the next couple of years. When I started this blog, it was originally a website that I used to talk with my students at Lehigh about matters of faith and religion – something they were asking about in class but which I thought would be better handled outside. When General Convention in 2003 came around and I attended as a deputy, moving the webpage to blogger made it easier for me to write up what was happening at Convention each day and have it shared among the people of the diocese that elected me and the parish I was serving. Having gained a bit of notice for having done so, I kept at it. When I traveled to Swaziland the next year, this blog served as a travelogue of my trip and was an easy way for folks from the parish to travel with me.

But as we approached General Convention in 2006 I started using the blog to post information about the events in Columbus. 2006 was different than 2003 in that a number of people started using blogs to write up their experiences at Convention and share them with others. Following Convention an even larger number of people started going online and doing the same thing – and began a very intense conversation about what the Conventions in 2003 and 2006 meant to the Episcopal Church and to the Anglican Communion. It was during that time that I started trying to think through what it meant to be a moderate within the Episcopal Church.

But things in the blogsphere have changed in the last year. Last spring saw the beginning of Episcopal Cafe, a team blog that Jim Naughton, I and others had been dreaming up for some time. It’s built up quite a readership in the 6 months or so since it went “live”. On a good day I might get 500 readers here. Episcopal Cafe can see upwards of 100,000. As one of the regular contributors and part of the news-team, much of what I would have once posted here is instead going to the Cafe. Which is a good thing because its being seen by many more people. And a few months ago I was invited by some friends to be part of Covenant Communion. That site is still figuring out how it wants to work and what sort of voice it will share, its given me a place to engage with other moderate and some conservative voices on what it does mean to be moderate/centrist within the Episcopal Church.

So with two major areas moved offsite, what’s left?

I think I’d like to return to my original thoughts here – how science and theology interact with each other. I’m particularly interested in how good science can inform good theology. I’m also interested in the more practical matters of the ethical challenges that decisions made from a scientific viewpoint have for the people effected by them. (Global warming being a chief example.) I’ve also met a number of other scientists out here in Arizona with theological training who are asking if they might collaborate with me on this work. And having seen how well team-blogging works on two other sites, I’m grateful to accept their help and add their voices to the articles here. Look for some new authors over the next couple of months.

So the upshot is this: I’m going to focus more on Science vs Theology here – and start posting my thoughts about the Great Anglican Upheaval over on the Cafe and the Communion sites. We’ll see if I can stick to that, but at least for now it’s the plan. Grin. I will keep posting sermons here and other bits of writing that don’t fit in the other places. I’ll try to steal some time over the next week or so to reorganize the link list on the right and might reorganize the tags as well.

Author: Nicholas Knisely

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...

3 thoughts on “Back to my roots”

  1. Nick,
    As you move back to theology and science as prime subject matter,
    I wonder if you will comment on the popular conflation of science and technology. This quote(from the Nov. 2007 issue of poetry) points to
    that issue:
    “Forty years ago, when I was in medical school, I believed in this work as science. But clinical medicine has become a business of technology, not science. The latter is a way of looking at the universe. The former is method functioning within established statistical rules. And method may be industrialized. It is very difficult to jam into the same mind an industrial worldview and a humanistic one,…”

  2. Nick, I am encouraged by two thoughts:
    First, that some of our church’s bloggers actually remember that they have day jobs. (I wonder sometimes.)
    Second, that there are bloggers who appreciate that there is more than one issue facing church and society today. (Maybe I just read the wrong blogs.)
    I have always thought it remarkable how much response you get to posts on computers, cosmology and quantum physics. You have clearly held on to your target audience. I look forward to reading more in this vein.

  3. Kendall has a reference to book reviews by John Polkinghorne looking the growing atheist literature. In particular, he looks at John Cornwell’s DARWIN’S ANGEL An angelic riposte to The God Delusion and John Humphrys’ IN GOD WE DOUBT -Confessions of a failed atheist. Kendall’s discussion is here:
    http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/7379/
    and the London Times piece written by Polkinghorne is here:
    http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/the_tls/article2778493.ece
    One of the commentators at Titus, gave a link to a website that discusses everything Polkinghorne:
    http://www.polkinghorne.net/

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