Posts

Church language - is it jargon?

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Dearest readers,

A thought I've had. I do like thoughts, although sometimes it can feel like I am asking awkward questions and stirring. I guess this is mainly in part due to the number of thoughts I have and how 'radical' some of them feel. But I think this question does need to be posed... in fact, a similar line could be taken with many communities and community groups: is the language we used understood and accessible? I take churches here as one example as I know there is very specific language and vocabulary we can use, and do use, can be somewhat exclusionary and exclusive (in spite of some intention for it not to be). I've grown up in a variety of churches, so I've seen when people communicate well and not so well. I know some of the words and language that gets thrown around and that is specific. I have also seen this language discussed and examined by those who are not part of such faith groups or communities. I also have a faith too - I'm in a dual …

The ebb and flow of information: a privilege of access? Or just how the world works?

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Dearest readers,

Something I have been starting to think about. It caught me on the train on the way back from work a few days ago:

Is having access to information, via discussion, the internet & social media and other means, a privilege?
Given I have just asked a yes/no question for a blog post longer than one word, maybe I ought to elaborate. In all due reality, there is an explanation that can be given when answering the above question. Maybe we should ask instead why it could or would be a privilege, not only to have financial and economic privilege to access technology, but also to know people who can connect you up in the right places at the right time. Our world works through knowing people who know people. Apart from hard graft of getting yourself into a place (physical or metaphorical space), there is also the notion of being able to get through the door of such a space and to be continued to be accepted into such a space at play.

What I will mention is being able to be …

Are we willing?

You think the only people who are people Are the people who look and think like you But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger You'll learn things you never knew, you never knew
from Colours of the Wind by Judy Kuhn 

Dearest readers,

A short one today.  I wonder how many of us are guilty of assuming similarity with others. At work on Thursday, I had Disney tracks on repeat all through my iTunes and it struck me how this section here is just so relevant to so many of us. It's been a while since I've written - I keep starting posts but where I have been caught up with other things, they have been left half finished and I then forget what tangent I was on. I think this is a timeless tangent though. 
Although the piece above is from a film, the film was based off recorded events (and their fidelity to such events is questionable in this case), these words are much broader in their scope than differing cultures, ethnicities and lifestyles (as well as various traditions and p…

Shaping our beliefs

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Dearest readers,

A short, but abstract and meaty one today.

A small question to start us off: why do we hold the beliefs we do? Of course, beliefs are quite wide in definition. Some people may think they might only refer to religious beliefs, but in reality our belief system is much vaster and wider. Although our beliefs can align to follow that of religious doctrine (and again there is no one singular definition or outward representation of any one religious doctrine - take a look at all the Christian denominations as one mere example), our personal life and lived experiences also impact our beliefs, as do our personal situation and reflection on who we are. In fact if you really want to get technical, there are lots of factors. But I am not a psychology student, nor do I wish to spend weeks doing factor analysis (a statistical methodology). I'm not really of any one discipline, given my background as a linguist. I do want us though, to consider why we hold what we do close.

In …

Burnout: where next?

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Dearest readers,

I realised, when I wrote my last post on burnout, just how needed talking about burnout is. I even accidentally coincided it with burnout week on #TakeTheMaskOff, so if you would like to find out more, do give that hashtag a search. It's so relevant for me personally (says she writing her third post for staggered publication of the day), that we cannot neglect it any longer. I say we, as we all have a responsibility to get more clued up beyond this tokenistic gestures of 'awareness'. We say we are aware... are we really though? Are we aware of what we can only see, or aware of the depth of Pandora's box?

I believe I am currently in a stage of burnout now. I won't go into personal details, but have had an interesting time for a while, much like playing whack-a-mole of 'what can happen next'. No one's fault, life happens like this from time to time. It's just all a bit unfortunate. However, the intensity of trying to do everything an…

Why I despise assumptions (and why you should dig deeper)

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Dearest readers,

Many of us have been on the receiving end of false assumptions and premature judgement of who we are, what we do, who we might align with and what we might believe (or not - in any sense). I know I have, in some scenarios where I have just been misread down to the plain ridiculous. Not to be discussed here, obviously, and not alluding to anything in particular. How can I allude to any one scenario without making it personal? What I am doing though, is telling you why assumptions are dangerous, and how this intersects with other aspects of the lived experience of being a human.
Because many of us have had assumptions made about who we are, irrelevant of who we are, and I think this needs exploration.

I despise assumptions because they oversimplify me (and others) and the world around us, for a start. Assumptions can be based on knowledge, which might be true or might not be true. We use what we know to make sense of what we do not. Where this information might come fr…

Why having a masters does not qualify me as an expert

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Dearest readers,

Given that I have just handed in my master thesis, I would like to share the below (possibly contradictory) statement with you:

Having a masters (in autism studies) and completing a thesis (on attitudes towards autism in churches) does not make me any more qualified than I was before on these topics. 
Sounds controversial doesn't it? I think I need to break down exactly what I mean by this.

What I mean is that you can have all the academic qualifications in the world, yet just having extra letter after your name does not mean you necessarily know all facets to do with something. By example: just because you have a qualification where you studied autism does not mean you are an autism expert. I think I've said this one once before. What the qualification shows is that you engaged with material given, that you know about what was presented to you and you met criteria set out by teaching staff in terms of soft skills. Certainly in the case of a degree, you canno…

Something we don't hear about enough: autistic burnout

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Dearest readers,

This is very relevant not only to my life, but also to many other autistic people too. It happens, this is a real thing. It's a real thing because it happens to me. It's something that is not as openly spoken about and understood as it should be. From an outsider's perspective, we don't often see the damage until the damage is done.

I want to tell you, not in generic terms, but in personal terms, what having autistic burnout is like, If you want to know more about it, there are articles linked here, here and  here, which will give you some insights. They are written by autistic people. I also don't want this to seem like some sort of gawping parade or museum exhibit, as I am not some sort of spectacle to be oogled at. I have the right to my own privacy, as do all other autistic people. Therefore the way in which I will construct this is carefully done. If you've come for gossip - there won't be any here.

I feel broken, exhausted and cannot…

The one I can't think of a title for

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'We were all so full of life, and none of us prepared to die, and I'm not ashamed to say the roar of guns and cannons almost made me cry.' (from Fernando, lyrics by Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus)
Dearest readers,
Although musical lyrics, there is much that is relevant in the lyrics above. Some of us come so young and full of energy into new projects and especially so if they are seen as 'invaluable', 'subjective' or just plain unacademic (see my last post on my critique of this and this post as a gesture to the area I am passionate about). I know we underestimate the emotional toil that comes with working in new territory, especially territory that is purposely left blank in institutions due to its perceived lack of value. This is further heightened when we consider emotional labour (people who should not be doing all the work for others, ending up doing all the leg work on breaking it up into micro size pieces etc) and the consequent fall out on an …

Why it's time to take us seriously

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Dearest readers, 
I'm always fascinated how different types of 'knowledge' seem to be more inherently 'valued' than others. I purposely use the inverted commas, for we all know some knowledge is questionable in nature but also more importantly, that little question of value. We try to be objective and scientific, but given we are all human, I do question how objective one can ever be. How subjective is objectivity in any case? I don't think people, or even social science, can ever be 100% objective, in my own personal reflection. I would say I'm sorry to cause that ripple, but I'm honestly not in this case. Possibly a bit too early to start on some of the big questions, however it is a big question I am aiming to break apart to some degree, and then give my opinion on it. 
It's time to start taking a different view of rationalism and to start valuing knowledge that is not 'typical', that is not objectively sourced and the might not be '…