Weekly updates and the resultant flood of information can make it difficult at times to put specific blogposts in the context of a blog’s wider agenda. With this in mind, a sample of the five most popular posts on the Divine Wedgie for the 2012 have been provided below:
A Theology of Money with Philip Goodchild: With ongoing concerns about financial meltdowns in Europe as well as jitters about the state of the global economy continuing in 2013, this post containing a short yet highly incisive interview with Philip Goodchild of the University of Nottingham proved by far the most popular post in terms of the number of hits. The video details how the current financial stresses are the result not of merely material factors, but a widespread loss of faith, which indicate that money, rather than having a self-evident value, is actually constituted by a theology.
Why the Best Sex is Boring: A post not so much on sex, but on the culture’s emphasis on sexual excitement as the barometer on the health of human relationships, which runs contrary to the Old Testament prophetic tradition in which the nuptial nature of God’s relationship with creation is emphasised most intensely precisely at the time when Israel’s relationship with God was anything but worthy of excitement. This post is also available via podcast on the internet radio station Cradio. On a slightly more disturbing note, whether this is proof of the old advertising adage that “sex sells” is not yet determined.
Why “Religion” is Bad for You: The persistence of the rather tired and often screechy antiphons of the “New Atheism” saw this post take the third slot at the level of popularity. Googlers who landed on this page, largely expecting to find another apologetic against religious faith, ended up with an analysis of what is meant by “religion” now and how that compared with the term as used across the ages. Predictably, this post received the largest number of responses which were too abusive to be publicised.
Christian and Cybernetic Time: 2012 was the year in which the social networking site facebook mandated the “Timeline” format for all its users. In keeping with one of the Divine Wedgie’s ongoing concerns about the theological significance of information technology, and also partially in response to a post on the subject in Christ and Pop Culture, this post looked at how “Timeline” is yet another step in reinforcing the culture’s conception of time as merely linear “clock time”. The post then tied the normalisation of this notion of time to the analysis of St. Evagrius of Pontus on the “noonday demon“, a reference to a line in Psalm 90 to the “scourge that lays waste at noon”.
The Ecclesiology of the HHS Mandate: 2012 was also the year in which the American Health and Human Services Mandate came into effect. This mandate was of particular concern to Catholic and other religious employers who objected, among other things, to being forced by the Obama administration to provide material assistance to the abortion industry via their health insurance plans to their employees. This post sought to provide an analysis not at the level of the legality of the measure (which seemed the most common type of response), but at the level of an attempt at ecclesiology by the Department of Health and Human Services. The post argued that so long as this level of analysis remained unconsidered, the Church risked playing into the State’s definition of what constituted the Church, even when it is trying to defend itself in the courts. This was the subject of a presentation for the Seminars in Political and Religious Life, which is an initiative of Campion College.