Posted by: rogermitchell | July 22, 2010

Blogging is quite a challenge …

Watching the BBC news item last night I was contemplating the significance of 500 million people now social networking via Facebook. It made me decide that Facebook or Twitter will need to wait until this thesis is written up as far as I’m concerned, as it’s quite challenging enough to maintain a regular blog! On that score I want to apologise for how out of date some of my pages have become. I intend to add to the Seeds of Change page over the next week or more, so watch this space.



  1. Does a blog become an institution that needs feeding?

  2. I think you are right. A blog rapidly becomes an institution. I don’t see this as a problem if it is subordinated to what I have called the constituent power of love/ the kingdom/ the ontology of the trinity in an earlier post. But if it is allowed to take on a dominating or dictatorial life of its own then it can no longer serve the will of God in the world.

  3. wow, what would it mean to apply your thinking to the ‘institution’ of marriage? c.

  4. Not sure if you were tongue in cheek here or not! But it might be good to pursue it – my current thinking submits all institutions to the [way/ purpose/ will/ kingdom/ kenarchy/ whatever] of God. In the same way that the trinity is relationally open to all but indivisible in its divine being, I guess I see a marriage as open to all but indivisible in its monogamy. The impact of this on sexual mores is rooted in the ontology of God and why I remain committed to what some might regard as a quite conservative view of sexual morality.

  5. Yes, I was tongue in cheek on that one. I’m not sure we understand marriage much at all. I keep in mind Ivan Illich’s work on the shift in how marriages were done in the 12th century. Only then was God invoked as a witness by the church in a ‘marriage ceremony’. It shifted a lot and came along at a time when the church also changed the language/process of petition/confession, and was becoming the significant power in a europe with a growing population. So there is much to think about in terms of the ‘institution’ of marriage that would perhaps free many to live out its real indivisible character. c.

  6. I think there’s lots of very interesting stuff here. I don’t really have time to pursue it, but I’m thinking that we absolutely have to leave open to question the interaction between the state, law and church in the notion of state-recognised marriage. This has theologico-political foundations and I’m also not so sure that the linkage Roger appears to make between sexual mores and the ontology of God stands up to scrutiny any better than the idea that empire could be found in the ontology of God. It might prove merely academic as I think we’d definitely discover the undoubted ethical validity of monogamy etc. But I think, since Paul and Augustine, we have tended to have more squeamish sexual mores which distort our impression of the divine view. Non?

  7. I may have misunderstood your point here, but my only problem with linking the ontology of God and empire is that the ontology of God as discoverable from the character of Jesus in the incarnation is against empire. So linking sexuality to the ontology of God in the way I am suggesting requires that it proves consistent with the relationship and character of the trinity as seen in Jesus

    • I’ll try and respond better later but could you maybe expand on your last (very important) sentence? Arguably ( though i don’t follow this logic at all) Jesus reveals a celibate God which appears fuel for Paul and Augustine’s fire. Has wide-ranging implications.

  8. It’s clearly important to clarify what we mean by ‘logic’ here. It may be that onto’logy’ and theo’logy’ were originally coined to denote a logic that involves linear argument to arrive at what I have been calling a mathesis, or a means to making rational sense of everything. I don’t think the incarnation works like that. I just mean that God has become a human being, is still alive as such and can be related with through the Holy Spirit. He becomes the touchstone of knowledge. From what I can discover from the way he viewed himself in relation to the Father and the Spirit, how he behaved as a male and what he said about sexual relations, I made the comment about sexuality and the ontology of God. By ontology I don’t mean self sufficient or reductionist rational logic, but primary assertions or opinions about something or someone’s nature and being.

    • Wow – wasn’t expecting that response! 🙂 i’m talking about Augustine’s and Paul’s logic, if that helps to clarify. They do exhibit one and you do too!

      This mathesis thing is a bit of a recurring theme. Following Foucault, I see knowledge and power as bound up together as much as the next post-foundationslist but not quite sure what you’re really getting at when you say things like this.

  9. I was simply responding to your rather intimidating statement “though I don’t follow this logic at all.” It suggests that I am being illogical in some previously defined way – which is where the mathesis idea comes in. I follow what is a simple logic, which I think was also Paul’s but not Augustine’s. Namely the truth is relational and in Jesus. Much more can be developed from it, but it is where I am always coming from even if it is sometimes opaque or hard to see!

    • Ok – the logic I don’t follow at all is the one that I introduced re: celibacy which was Augustine’s and, albeit slightly differently, Paul’s. I was rather hoping you were going to open up a different train of thought.

  10. My train of thought on this is one that I was expanding last week at a men’s weekend. Given that sexuality is ex deo and God became a sexual being in Christ then it makes sex good and important. It also means that sexual fulfilment does not necessarily require physical sexual activity. I’m not sure that the idea of celibacy conveys this at all, and certainly not in Augustine’s terms. However Paul is different because of at least three interesting and important statements. These are his obvious affirmation of marriage despite his single status, as in his [after Jesus] “for this cause” statement in Ephesians 5:31 and its corollary in 1 Cor 7:3-5. Then his encouragement to each person to possess their equipment/ apparatus/ tool[!] in sanctification and honour in 1 Thess 4:4, and then finally and most significantly of all his assertion that sexulality is primarily “for the Lord” in 1 Cor 6:13. I take the overall Jesus view to be that our sexuality is the spring or motivation of life that orders the whole. Freud was right in recognising its centrality but not in its function. We receive it as gift and give it first back to the Lord as gift and our whole life is integrated and resourced by it. Something like that!

  11. wow, and here I was only thinking about the impact of the state/nation state cojoined (married?) with the church on marriage, not as a lifelong relationship but as an ‘institution’. But then I’ve been single all my life, so I make no pretense at knowing anything at all about this topic. I’ve seen what appear to be happy nonChristian marriages and a ton of what appear to be miserable Christian marriages. Obviously, being a Christian, reading the theology etc, does not make for a great marriage or even a full and life affirming sexuality. I’ll blame it all on Augustine again, as he can’t fight back. c.

  12. Hi Roger & greetings from Gibraltar. I’m a regular reader of your blog (found it via Martin Scott). I lead a small church here in Gibraltar and am interested in studying theology further. Would you have any advice or pointers for me?

    thanks, John.

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