Printing, Reading, Referring on.

Fr. Jake has published a fine reflection on the problems, particularly the spiritual ones, of blogging. We need, it appears, to get a life. I reflected on this while on a road trip and visiting friends. So, to add to the wisdom of friends new and old, a few possibilities for renewal, corporate and personal:

I have taken up letterpress printing and finally, after several false starts, have published a limited edition of some poems. This is a first in a series of “POEMS, 50 CENTS EACH.” The first costs $1.50 there being three poems. It is a labor of love, highly wasteful of ordinary time and industrial strength publishing (inks, noxious fluids, considerable sweat, some curse words, lots of joy.) Let me know if you want a copy by sending an email to me at poetmark@comcast.net . I’ll send a copy and trust you to send the $1.50 plus postage in return.

I am also reading a wonderful book on the techniques of poetry by Mary Oliver, “A Poetry Handbook.” It is a reminder that the muse loves good craft.

AND THEN THERE IS SimonSurmises:

A good friend Simon Mein has started his own blog SimonSurmises, which promises high protean articles on theology, social concerns and Anglican Communion issues. Simon is a wonderfully critical thinker in a blog world of muttered foolishness. Every essay is worth the read. I hope you drop over to his blog and dig in. Reach him at http://www.simonsurmises.blogspot.com/

Jake says, “Jake's place will continue, because I'm addicted to this strange world of squiggly lines on a screen. But, to keep it from slipping over the edge into the realm of anger and dreariness, there may be a broader range of topics introduced in the future.” Good words. Anger and dreariness is too much with us, and there are things to do and worlds to explore.


  1. Stop it, already, you lot.

    You wouldn't say to an artist, stop painting and get out into the real world. Nor to a poet or an author of books.

    Blogging is an act of creativity. Probably the most democratic form of creativity ever. We have become used to having creativity sold to us and being told we can't do creativity for ourselves anymore. I wonder if this is why so many bloggers get these guilt attacks.

    I would think that bloggers know more about the real world than any group of ordinary people have ever known before.

    And on top of this, sites like Fr. Jake and yours, Mark, have a pastoral ministry that probably effects more people in a week than your "real life" ministry does in a year.

    Anyway, you're our man on the inside, so to speak, so just don't get any silly ideas - and tell your mate Jake to behave himself as well.

    I don't know.

  2. MadPriest, you don't know many artists and writers, do you? People are always telling them to get off their duffs and get a 'real' job.

    Especially their parents.

    Anyoldways, good job on the chapbooks, from another bookmaker (but *I* do it the REAL way-- handscribed. Neener. :D)

  3. Not our sort of people, sister mary.
    They would never say such things about artists. They would only say such things about priests and, even more so, religious.

  4. Not our sort of people, sister mary.
    They would never say such things about artists. They would only say such things about priests and, even more so, religious.

  5. Regarding the effects of anger and the cyberworld: years ago,newly returned to the Episcopal Church after years in the generally agnostic and New Age worlds, I looked for those online with whom I could share my spiritual search. I found, much to my surprise that my expressions of joy in the search and my speculations regarding the nature of God and the spirit were met, as often as with sympathy, with hot anger, even contempt. What a shock that was!

    I was a cradle Episcopalian, brought up in a church which seemed to me to encourage individual exploration. It seemed to me that my belief and that of the person in the pew next to me were equally deserving of respect. and although I, as I think many do, left the church when I was in college, it never occurred to me that when I returned I would find that any sort of intolerant fundamentalist principle would have gained a foothold in the church I had loved in my youth.

    I made the mistake of continuing to participate in online discussions. I myself have always been "feisty," and the online discussions have fanned the angry flames.

    I find plenty to be angry about: discrimination against and abuse of my lesbian and gay brothers and sisters; fundamentalist contamination of the Anglican tradition (well, can you hear the anger?), and the demand that the tradition of individual search which I valued and loved be replaced by a tyrannical confessionalism.

    Before I returned to the Episcopal Church, I had reached a stage of "free-floating" trust in the Spirit, which was indeed a sort of New Age-(plus me) inspired approach to the Numinous. But, if in some sense naive, it was at least entirely positive, loving, and trusting.

    Now I check daily, addictively, to see what nefarious doings are eminating from the AAC, the ACN, from spawn-of-the-Devil Akinola (and so he does indeed seem to me), from the CT6, etc, etc. The wonderful, free-fall, trusting spiritual search seems a distant memory.

    And yet when someone like Father Jake says he too regrets what all this conflict in the church is doing to him, I think, no, no, no - I don't want to talk about what the church is doing to feed the hungry or oppose the wars in the Middle East - tell me what the bad guys (AAC, ACN, Akinola) are doing today!

    And I don't know the answer. The Episcopal Church, in terms of spiritual sustenance, offers me precisely nothing now. I am married to a church organist for whom I returned to the church but who has been given a year in which to "retire" by our narcissistic young rector of one year's standing. When we no longer have this tie to the church, I am not sure that I will have any desire at all to maintain a tie to the Episcopal Church, which is metamorphosing into something entirely unrecognizable as the Chuch of my youth in which I found (thanks, Grace Church, Alexandria, VA) such beauty, such spirituality, such home.

    I am angry, I am hungry, I want to return to the path from which I was diverted upon returning to the Church. A relative (who works for 815, actually) says "Buddhism looks better all the time." In a sense, I agree, but I also long for justice and beauty in the church community.

    I will probably still look to see what all the "bad guys" are doing, but I hope that we may all be able to continue our search, alive and alert to the prompting, the breath, the movement of the spirit.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.