Brother Ivo first joined the world of the blog when he was invited to contribute to the cyber-pulpit of Archbishop Cranmer, where he has written on an eclectic range of topical issues for the past year.
He will alway be grateful to His Grace for his patience, generosity, and encouragement. It is however time to relieve him of the obligations of editorial responsibility and to extend the opportunities of the virtual consumer by offering another outlet for independent thought.
Brother Ivo has learnt much from the new media and is indebted to many of its leading exponents for their stimulating and original ideas. The best are not always the best known, but that is part of the attraction. Whilst thinking about those whom he reads regularly, it became apparent that this ought to be the subject for this first post.
Archbishop Cranmer is the High Tory Constitutionalist. One will always go to him for a well grounded perspective on issues of the day, and a carefully constructed analysis of matters relating to Parliament, the Church of England, the values of Monarchy and a full appreciation of the subtlety of the British Constitutional settlement.
Brother Ivo is indebted to Douglas Carswell for his original ideas about the possibilities of the new social media for improvements to our democracy. His book “The End of Politics and the birth of I-Democracy” celebrates the fact that the news agenda is no longer controlled by a coterie of News Editors in the mainstream press. He offers a framework to encourage our thinking about how we can use our technological liberties for the good of our neighbours and the protection of our freedoms. Whilst a party politician, he is not only a party politician and that is why Brother Ivo finds him interesting.
Thomas Sowell is a remarkable black American academic and commentator. His career has great similarity to that of President Obama except he did it first,and is an unashamed conservative who asks sharp questions like “What exactly is your fair share of that which someone else worked hard to create?” He is the voice of responsibility and merit based equality but is not well known in the United Kingdom. If you are unfamiliar with him you are in for an intellectual treat – and challenge.
Guido Fawkes is the naughty boy, the joker in the pack; and yet every oyster needs the introduction of grit before a pearl is produced. Pearls of wisdom require a similar stimulus. Guido is not always wise, but he is always stimulating. The complacent, the hypocritical, the opportunist and the manufactured politician cannot sleep easy in their beds whilst Guido and his motley crew are around and so, like the vultures who keep the plains of Africa sanitised, we ought to recognise a place in the ecology of the internet for that which is necessary, even when it sometimes presents an image of grossness.
Ann Coulter is a feisty and aggressive columnist who will set the blood racing with either exhilaration or apoplexy. She enjoys applying Saul Alinsky’s approach of ridiculing opponents to ridicule Saul Alinsky followers – and they really don’t like it very much! She is an acquired taste, more chilli than vanilla, but for anyone raised on the humour of the BBC’s “News Quiz” and “Now Show” she will prove an interesting and challenging culture shock.
On the other side of the Cyber Universe one finds the more amiable blogs of Nick Baines, Gillan Scott’s “God and Politics” and Digitalnun D Catherine Wybourne.
Bishop Nick offers the human face of God’s bureaucrats, but more importantly he does not shy from theological complexity or the frailty of all humanity. He constantly reminds us of the Church’s international perspectives. He is generally sound when he strays into matters related to music, he is less so on the subject of football.
“God and Politics” is a go-to site for Anglicans and can be relied upon to examine current affairs from a balanced thorough and broad religious viewpoint. One of Brother Ivo’s great influences was a priest who taught that the Church of England is like a three strand rope, Catholic, Liberal and Evangelical, and that it would be weakened by the loss of any one of those components. The “God and Politics blog” exemplifies that approach as it sifts through the news and controversies of the day.
Digitalnun D. Catherine Wybourne presents Brother Ivo’s with one of his much loved paradoxes.
She is, at one level, removed from the world and its priorities, whilst on another level, totally engaged both intellectually and practically, for it is as an IT provider that she has done much to help Brother Ivo begin his venture. Many thanks are offered for her professional advice – which is recommended!
No greater thanks are due to her, however, than for a constant internet presence reminding us that our daily concerns, outrages, anxieties and opinions are set within a greater whole, and that we are called to be better than our excitable topical comments usually reveal.
There are many others whom he might have referenced, but as Brother Ivo distilled the essence of those to whose to whose qualities he might wish to aspire, he thought a minimalist approach best in an opening post.
This is no Oscar speech; no Oscar has been won.
These bloggers, whom Brother Ivo consults on a daily basis, meet the criteria for anyone searching the internet looking for an interesting read and a refreshing perspective. They are all original, and above all counter cultural.
Nobody writes their talking points for them, they follow no strict party line. They are frequently unpredictable and thus intellectually stimulating, and what more can one ask?.
Their collective presence might make for a lively dinner party, but that is not why Brother Ivo seeks to join them, bringing his own life experiences and reflections to the party.
What moves him to emulation is a desire to help his readers make sense of what is going on in the world and above all to think outside of the commonplace cultural box.
That is the quality which seems to unite all those whose work in this genre he admires.
Seeking a unifying test by which to define those with whom he currently associates through this medium, it eventually came to him in a modest “eureka moment”.
We would all, almost certainly, have been guillotined during the French Revolution!
If you might be willing to risk similar disfavour in our modern world of over confident “rational” secularism, then you might consider adding Brother Ivo to your regular reading list.
If you do – ‘Welcome to the tumbrel”.