Friday, April 27, 2007


One of the trials of writing commentary for a wide audience is that you are always having to ask yourself, "how could this be misunderstood?" Then you try to be clearer. Then you have to face up to the fact that you still get it wrong. The onus of communication is on the communicator, but it's a two-way street... more than that, it's a multi-channel zone with loads of interference. Getting heard is a human privilege. Getting through is a grace.

All of which is a prelude to saying that, after some useful feedback, I changed the title of my latest Ekklesia column from Why we need to rid ourselves of 'God slots' to this one: Why we need to rid ourselves of the 'god of the slots'. The reason is this: given that there is a question in the air about 'Thought for the Day' on BBC Radio 4 (some of us want it open to people of different life stances, the churches and its producers only to "the religious"), it could have been construed as somehow anti-TFTD. This is far from the truth. Ekklesia - which has a stake in the programme, since Jonathan Bartley is a contributor - wants to see it as a slot for a wide range of takes on life, not a narrow "God slot" (as people like to call it). This article is, in a sense, a contribution to that debate, but its main concern is to show wht "the god of the slots" in culture is the equivalent of "the god of the gaps" in science -- a related, but distinct, issue.

As I've also added: "TFTD is an important space for looking at how beliefs-in-practice view the task of living, but it does not have to exclude those who do not fit a questionable definition of "religious". See some more detailed comments on: Losing our (radio) religion?

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