Starting project – blogging software

One of my tasks for getting the blog back up and going is to look at how software for the Mac, Windows and iOS has progressed over the past few years. I like using a client to write blog posts, rather than sitting in the WordPress editor in the web browser. It allows me to write offline, to organise content and to have tools on the device I’m writing on available to do things.

In the past I’ve depended upon Ecto (version 3) on the Mac (and version 2 on Windows). I’ve been using that since Kung-Log (pre-2004) evolved into Ecto and then changed owners since then. Ecto is still available (I think) over at http://illuminex.com/ecto/ and I’ve never had any problems with it with progressive OSX upgrades. That said, it’s starting to feel ‘clunky’ and is hard to get some of the media resources with it. One thing it does have is an Amazon ‘search and insert’ function that I use – especially for book art. For example, I’ve just finished the book below yesterday (not a bad read, and I’ll come back to it later).


“Rivers of London” (Ben Aaronovitch)

But once you’ve put an image etc. into a post it’s hard to reedit it without shifting into HTML mode (which is good to have, but the WYSWYG mode is feeling dated now).

So, if all else fails I’ll keep using it, but it’d be nice to see if the Lenovo Yoga I’ve just got might be a better blogging device than the trusty MacBook (or my iPhone at a pinch). [The Kindle Fire is not really in the running as it keeps getting ‘borrowed’ by people and the iPad is a version 1 iPad running iOS 5 only].

[Written with Ecto]

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2015 begins…

2014 was a pretty hard year – one hundred miles an hour pretty much 100% of the time with work, home, travel, church things, and health.

Looking forward in 2015 to getting a few new projects underway, finishing off some other projects (including the book on networked theology), and making sure I take my annual leave regularly.

[Written with Ecto]

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Rethinking the blog

Didn’t really have much time to spend on the blog in 2014, what with life being pretty complicated. 29 posts in total and nothing really in the last few months. Spending the next few days pondering what’s next for it, as it’s been helpful over the past 10 or more years for organising my thoughts and online resources.

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Law & Compassion

Op-ed piece on law and compassion by Prof. Warren Brookbanks at the Law School at the University of Auckland.

Related link:


“Compassionate Justice : An Interdisciplinary Dialogue with Two Gospel Parables on Law, Crime, and Restorative Justice (Theopolitical Visions)” (Christopher D. Marshall)

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All about angels this fortnight

I’m off to the ISMRC Conference: Media, Religion and Culture in a Networked World in less that a week, so my focus will be on angels (and the demonic) in popular culture for the next two weeks. I’ll be presenting a paper titled “Upside-down Angels: The Inverting of Supernatural Good and Evil in Popular Culture” on the Wednesday and really looking forward to catching up with friends and colleagues from around the world.

So, I’ve been catching up on what is coming up in the world of angels and popular culture, and these look interesting. In particular, the new Constantine TV show looks like it will be much closer to the John Constantine of the comic books Hellblazer and Constantine (New 52 version here) rather than the Keanu Reeves US film version. The Dominion series looks average, but it could develop (though I don’t imagine either will make it on to NZ television), and still serves as some interesting research material.

Some angel popular culture trailers for those interested:

New Constantine TV Series

Dominion TV Series

Fallen TV Series

2005 Constantine film

Gabriel film

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Transforming Theological Education

Paper copy of this book just arrived for review. Looking forward to reading it on the plane in a week or so’s time.


“Transforming Theological Education” (Perry Shaw)

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Urban Fantasy with a real character

As I’ve mentioned previously I really enjoy urban fantasy, and especially urban fantasy set in the UK. So I’ve been reading the ‘The Severed Streets’, the sequel to Paul Cornell’s ‘London Falling’. It was a good read, but one of my favourite bits was where he incorporated another of my favourite authors, Neil Gaiman, as a minor character in the story (Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’ being one of the first urban fantasy books I can remember reading). You can read about how that came about at the link below:

  

  

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Anzac Day 2014

The Anzac Day service as College hit the right spot for me today – simple, well-meant and not overly buying into civil religion. It made me think about the collection of resources about Anzac Day that I’ve used over the years when teaching spirituality, contextual theology and public theology. So, I thought I’d list some of those in case they’re of interest to others.

Book sections and articles

Bluck, John. Long, White & Cloudy : In Search of a Kiwi Spirituality. Christchurch, N.Z.: Hazard Press, 1998. (“Not just poppies – the Anzac Spirit” (32-39))

Hunt, Graeme. “Anzac’s Ghost.” New Zealand Listener, 9 April 2005, 32-33.

Hunt, Graeme. “The Folly & the Glory.” New Zealand Listener, 14 May 2005, 19.

Harris, Brian. “Of Tall Poppies, Mateship & Pragmatism: Spirituality in the Australasian Context.” Stimulus 16, no. 3 (2008): 16-20.   

Morris, Paul. “Spirit Abroad: Reflections on New Zealand Spirituality and Identity.” In Spirit Abroad : A Second Selection of New Zealand Spiritual Verse, edited by Paul Morris, Harry Ricketts and Mike Grimshaw, 217-30. Auckland, N.Z.: Godwit, 2004.

Moses, John A. “Was There an Anzac Theology?” Colloquium 35, no. 1 (2003): 3-13.

Stackhouse, Max L. “Civil Religion, Political Theology and Public Theology: What’s the Difference?”. Political Theology 5, no. 3 (2004): 275-93.

Taylor, Steve. “Scars on the Australasian Heart: Anzac Day as a Contextual Atonement Image.” New Zealand Journal of Baptist Research 6 (2001): 48-74.

Poems

Morris, Paul, Harry Ricketts, and Michael P. Grimshaw. Spirit in a Strange Land : A Selection of New Zealand Spiritual Verse. Auckland, N.Z.: Godwit, 2002.

Morris, Paul, Harry Ricketts, and Mike Grimshaw. Spirit Abroad : A Second Selection of New Zealand Spiritual Verse. Auckland, N.Z.: Godwit, 2004.

Web resources

Ministry for Culture and Heritage Anzac Day website – http://www.mch.govt.nz/nz-identity-heritage/anzacday

Official Anzac Day website – http://www.anzac.govt.nz/

School curriculum resources – Anzac Day – Lest we forget / National events and the NZC / Curriculum resources / Kia ora – NZ Curriculum Online

Songs

Sons of Gallipoli | Chris Skinner SM (YouTube video here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbDWDviyVaw)

NZ Folk Song * Anzac Day

NZ Folk poems * An Old Gunner’s Poems (Various related songs and poems)

NZ FOLK SONG * Goodnight Ruby

NZ Folk Song * E Ihowa Atua

Television

Maori Television’s Anzac coverage – http://www.maoritelevision.com/search/all/anzac

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Religion, Pop Culture and Video Games

An eclectic bunch of links today, focusing upon biblical literacy, religion and video games, and video games as a way of creating wellbeing.

First up a new book from Heidi Campbell and Gregory Grieve

Quick review here: Religion Book Review: Playing with Religion in Digital Games by Heidi A. Campbell and Gregory P. Grieve.

Next a link to Bible literacy is going up, not down – thanks, Lady Gaga; The UK Bible Society survey mentioned can be found here.

And finally, Tapping Into the Emotional Side of Video Games: Developing Hope, Healing and Love.

Related links to this latter one include the use of the games mentioned here in church settings – See http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-08/09/geekdad-hatches-exeter-cathedrals-journey-service and http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00sg1fq

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Books on the go.

I have a bunch of books on my desk at the moment that I’m hoping I can have a look at over the Easter break.


“Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying The Best And Avoiding The Worst” (Bex Lewis)

Too many books and not enough time to read them all.

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