Sunday, January 3, 2010

On the wisdom of praying

When people tear into each other, it is always wise to pray. Take your time. Tearing into each other can be devastating even in the online world. One might be terminally embarrassed.

I am reading a lovely book - The Sisters of Sinai, by Janet Soskice. This is a light but substantial introduction for me into the history of 19th century knowledge acquisition in Oriental studies. The particular story is the discovery of a palimpsest of the four gospels in Syriac (1892). It reads like a travelogue and so is light and enjoyable as any Grand Tour hosted by a good travel writer. But there is a serious core of introduction to Biblical Studies in the period including some hasty actions by the righteous but non-academic Presbyterian sisters, old scholars jealous of claiming credit where they think it is due, and indignant monks. Janet Soskice is our lecturer here at UVIC over the next two weeks. I may give you a lowdown on her talks. (If I can still write after all this grammar study!)

It is true to say that credit and pride, knowledge and character, and some incumbent vulnerability are all on display in the blog world. And some actions - like labeling people or deleting comments that are not spam but with which you disagree, or whatever other horrible lack of cyber-hospitality you can imagine, might actually have deleterious effects.  In the early days of 'online' when email was the rage, I knew people who 'had to take some offline time' - all the energy and fear and so on.

By the way - I like being corrected. So if you see any howlers in my posts, do say so. As I noted recently, I blog to learn. I do not have the limitations that 19th century people had since I can cross the Sinai with a good book and never have to learn to sit on a camel. (We are going to Israel in October - to see the RWB perform - and to see Israel. It should be warmer than Winnipeg.)

No sooner had I posted this than a similar invitation came from Bishop Alan - nice coincidence. Also grateful for the timely plug for Janet Soskice's book from Living Wittily.

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