State of the blog

This blog has been dormant as I have worked on other things. Sadly, the move from WordPress to Medium and back again dorked with all of my pictures, so I have to rebuild them from scratch if I want to. Hopefully I can kick it into gear again soon and follow some Anglican events that have happened recently.

An Index

I have been blogging in one place or another since about 2000. Trying to sort through a blog is a mess at best, but I finally created an index of posts, which you can find in a page on the left nav column.

This blog is not “about” Anglicanism or Rwanda. It’s just about whatever I happen to be thinking or reading at a given time. I have kept it focused on Rwanda, the Anglican Church there and its counterpart in America because no one else is covering this nexus of issues. Once the secular academy or other Christian blogs take up the issues and track them, I will gladly move on. I don’t anticipate that happening soon, so I may keep covering that beat until I finish my book, or PEARUSA walks away from Rwanda, which may happen sooner than you think.

Some Thoughts on Conversation

I wrote a huge comment on a   post down below and it spurred me to think about online conversation. It’s no big secret that online conversation is often acerbic, tough and sometimes hateful. I do not buy into the cult of “nice”, so I am fine with the rough and tumble of online settings, 1)I believe in the Serrated Edge. however, I do have some principles that I try to stick to. Off the top of my head, they are things like:

1. A conversation requires that we answer each other. If I take the time to respond to everything you say and then you ignore what I just wrote and move to something different, we are not having a conversation.

2. If a sentence has a question mark after it, answer it! Unless the question is obviously rhetorical, then answer it. That strikes me as a fundamental and polite way of talking *to* each other and not past each other.

3. We cannot make any progress if do not deal with specifics. I might say, “John Rucyahana was fundraising for M23.” That is specific. Someone may respond, “I am sorry it is beyond reason to believe this report from the U.N. (and I am not anti-U.N.) concerning the Bishop knowing that his life has been that of peace, reconciliation and hope in the face of genocide.” This is a generality that in no way refutes a specific charge but refers to feelings about someone. It fails to deal with the strict methodological evidentiary standards from the 2006 report of the Informal Working Group of the Security Council on General Issues of Sanctions and instead deals in generalities. It is not adequate for arriving at a conclusion.

There is a problem here of epistemology, facts, how we arrive at knowledge and indeed, if we are interested in the truth at all. Is my interlocutor interested in having a discussion in order to arrive at the truth or is she rather interested in defending a point of view at all costs?

Discussions that ignore evidence, are hysterical, illogical, change the subject, etc. are not profitable discussions. Of course, if we do not agree on the starting point and if we fail to define our terms, most of what we are doing is posturing anyway. I am certainly not the model citizen when it comes to these principles, but I usually do try to put in the effort to respond to what is being said to me. When that is not reciprocated, I lose interest in continuing.

 

References   [ + ]

1. I believe in the Serrated Edge.