A new post on Arminianism and Calvinism (challenging Weber’s dodgy thesis) is up at the Political Theology blog. If you accept Weber’s premises (which I do not), then it was Arminianism, not Calvinism, that provided the enabling ethic of capitalism. Already a debate is on, with none less than the manager of the blog, Brad Littlejohn.

A few weeks ago I wrote of the bully as a type of scholar, but I have been reflecting on another fairly common type: the blog or internet bully. A reasonable commentary exists on this, going all the way back to ‘flaming’ when the internet began. But the way it is manifested is through an obsessive process of bombarding other blog posts with comments, usually with a pointed, nasty and dismissive ad hominem flavour. It’s a fine line, since I enjoy a spirited exchange, never taking things too seriously. But when the comments consistently attack, dismiss and denigrate, not just occasionally but all the time, then they become bullying. A feature of bullies is that they seek to chase away anyone who does not agree and does not become an attack dog; bullies tolerate only themselves or those of their pack. One blogger, Berlusconi Youth, whose identity is known to some readers, used to do so here. It took me quite some time to do so, but a couple of weeks ago I decided, instead of ignoring or replying, to delete any further comments that appeared. The results were immediate: the comments stopped coming after a couple of days, the readership went up noticeably and other people found space to make an occasional comment. Much preferred.

Something to read at 3am on that third bottle of vodka – Berlusconi Youth (aka VM).

At long last, my mother is a regular reader of my blog (and not an occasional reader, as before, even with Jim West’s open letter). You see, one of my nephews thought it was high time she had proper internet access. So what did she do? She went and spent an hour or so tracking back through my blog. And what did she read? ‘Too Many Dicks at the Writing Desk, or, How to Organise a Prophetic Sausage Fest’. Of course, I was visiting her today too, so you can imagine how our discussion went. But I am not one to back down, and sought to explain why it is not purely 14-year old porn. Or, if it is, then so is Ezekiel … Which she seemed to accept, reluctantly. All the same, as I left, she said, ‘don’t post smut on your blog, Roland, and keep your language clean’.

Welcome mum.

New link on my blogroll: ЧТО ДЕЛАТЬ / What Is To Be Done? – a radical group of artists, critics, philosophers, and writers from Petersburg, Moscow, and Nizhny Novgorod. Worth a look (via Sergey).

James Crossley, who used to write regularly on Earliest Christian History, but now prefers to write about bibliobloggers, may not quite be telling us the full story. I found this curious item on Amazon:

Catalogue of the First Portion of the Very Extensive, Curious & Valuable Library of James Crossley Which Will Be Sold By Auction By Messrs. Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge.

‘Extensive, curious and valuable’ – what is in your library James?


The September issue of the Bulletin is now available online! You can find it here. There are articles on biblioblogging by Jim West, James McGrath, Robert Cargill, James Crossley and some idiot from Australia. In addition, there is a follow up by Mike Grimshaw on the debate about the place of postmodern theology in the discipline of religious studies. As always, the editorial is accessible for free, and the issue concludes with the latest from Weep.

(ht Craig Martin)

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