Progressive, radical Anglocatholic iPriest | Pusher of Pixels and Sacraments | (Self) appointed Apostle to the Twittersphere



Fr. Simon Rundell

Archbishop’s Digital Charter – a short reflection

The Archbishops have released a series of values intended to enable better, more Christian, Social Media interactions between people and groups. I think they should be congratulated for the initiative, and it certainly gives me, as an outspoken user of Social Media, some things to reflect on.

The Charter is as one would expect filled with good and sensible advice for Social Media use. As with all Christian calls, it will also e tough to live out.

The danger could be that it robs the Church of its sometime Prophetic role. There are times when the leadership of our Churches, and local leaders need to speak out for something, or against something and this, inevitably give someone offence: usually the invested powers which the teachings of Christ challenge. ++Justin is right to challenge Payday Loan Sharks, ++John is right to have stood up to the murderous and corrupt regime of Mugabe; but for ome shareholders and some political cronies, the Church will make them uncomfortable.

In the same way, should I not use Social Media to challenge Homophobia both within and without the Church, speak up for marginalised disabled people or the NHS? To do so will offend the holders of power; but I was not called to be a wet or fluffy priest like the All Gas and Gaiters Derek Nimmo and turbulent priests have always caused trouble (and got into trouble) when they spoke truth to power.

Now, the guidelines remind us that what is written on the Internet stays forever, and I am very aware of this. I made a big mistake a few years ago when the Labour Anti-Semitism row was just starting. At the time, I – because the bubble I lived in was not Anti-Semitic (although critical of the State of Israel) – thought it was an opportunist, right-wing smear. I said so. I was wrong. There is a deep, horrible layer of anti-semitism in the current Labour Party and it is one of the reasons I left (that and their pro-Brexit stance).

However, my comments (on a post by a relative of mine) were picked up by the Pseudoanonymous Archbishop Cranmer blog: a terrible right-wing Church and Politics blog by a man called Adrian Hilton, who is neither a priest nor an Archbishop but effectively hides behind this persona and is able to whip up a comments section of which every post would be in contravention of the Archbishops’ Charter.

Despite his claim that he always “asked politely”, Adrian and I exchanged messages which were full of veiled threats and the implication would be that he would turn me over to his attack dogs. Resignedly I said “bring it on then” – I suppose “Publish and be damned” would have been a better response, but then he’d have made much of the fact that a Clergyman has damned him.

The comments to his article were indeed horrible: vitriolic, homophobic, racist and protestant.

I fully accept that my assertion at the time about Labour Antisemitism was wrong.

That article on the Cranmer blog appears about half-way down the list when you search for me on Google. I have to live with that probably forever. My fault. I’m not going to link to it myself, partly out of shame and partly because his horrible site doesn’t deserve any more traffic. You can always Google it…

My bad. I have to live with this forever.

So, take my advice: be careful what you say on Social Media because it can and will come back to bite you. Sometimes I can be right on the button but no-one ever remembers these things, only the ones you get (spectacularly) wrong. I always say that I will only tweet what I would be prepared to say in a homily – and I will speak on Political or Social issues if I think the Gospel has something to say on the matter. I do not expect total agreement or compliance nor believe that I am infallible. I always say at all elections “I do not care who you vote for, but you MUST vote, you must make your voice heard” and that is all I say on parties, but Policies that affect the vulnerable in society, Antisemitism and Islamophobia, Misogyny, Homophobia, exclusion must be challenged because my Lord would have challenged them.

I will sign up to the Charter. I will try and abide by it. I will also not hesitate to speak out when the Gospel compels me to, and I encourage you to do the same.


Crowdsourced Recording – Help Needed

Many readers of this blog are aware of my Crowdsourced Psalms Project where we are creating a digital psalter with voices from around the world, all available for free.

I have a new task for you all… if you would like to make your voice a part of this Liturgy. You are invited to record your own voice on your smartphone and send it to me, so I can use it in an act of worship. It will then be available for everyone to use.

Instructions

  1. If you have a phone like an iPhone or an Android, there is usually an app to record your voice – often called “Voice Memo” or some thing similar. I use a free Android App called ASR which can be installed for free from https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nll.asr  If you have better recording equipment, then even better, but I have found that most smartphones are good enough nowadays. You can configure it to record at quite a good quality: I would suggest 192k in MP3 or MP4 format if that means anything to you. If not, just record it as it comes and I will do spooky mysterious things with it with electronics.
  2. iPhones will record in the very nice .M4a format. This is fine, but please try and set it to the highest quality you can.
  3. Read (nicely and in the highest possible quality) the whole text shown below. It would be great Click here to jump to the optimum settings in ASR…
  4. If you mess up don’t worry, just repeat the line, as I will be choosing from a lot of readings, just repeat it and then send the whole lot to me.
  5. After recording select “Share” (or similar) and email it to me at fr.simonrundell@gmail.com
  6. It would be really helpful if you named the file with your name and the psalm it is. This will help me collate them.
  7. I will cut it up with all the others and make these into the Gospel using the multiplicity of voices, accents, genders etc.
  8. Can you tell others and ask them to do it for me please so I get lots and lots of voices.

Thank you.

The Text (please record all of this)

Hear the Holy Gospel according to John
Glory to you, O Lord

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

‘Holy Father,
I pray not only for these,
but for those also
who through their words will believe in me.
May they all be one.
Father, may they be one in us,
as you are in me and I am in you,
so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.
I have given them the glory you gave to me,
that they may be one as we are one.
With me in them and you in me,
may they be so completely one
that the world will realise that it was you who sent me
and that I have loved them as much as you loved me.
Father, I want those you have given me
to be with me where I am,
so that they may always see the glory you have given me
because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Father, Righteous One,
the world has not known you,
but I have known you,
and these have known that you have sent me.
I have made your name known to them
and will continue to make it known,
so that the love with which you loved me may be in them,
and so that I may be in them.’

This is the Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you, O Christ.