Thursday, 24 October 2013

Baptism Debate: George

The 'Royal Christening' has brought widespread debate to the nation about the role and nature of baptism in the UK in 2013.

The Archbishop of Canterbury recorded this video to share his views and teaching on baptism:

The BBC posted an article on how baptism have changed; it highlighted 10 things:

1) There is less of them
2) There are more godparents...
3) ... who are not necessarily religious
4) There is a rise in baby-naming ceremonies
5) Children are baptised later
6) "Bogus" baptisms (to get school places etc)
7) Christening gowns are out of fashion
8) But gifts are not (although they're not always silver)
9) The christening water is warmed
10) Simpler language (in CoE)

Read more <here>

So where does baptism fit in today's society? It remains a welcome and initiation into the Christian church, but there are hints that there is almost a 'cultural baptism' rather than truly religious baptism potentially becoming more common. People enjoy the celebration, and party, and gifts associated with a christening even if they don't fully sign up to a life with Christ and in the church. 

The issue of schooling also plays a part, where some parents will stop at nothing to get their child into their first choice of school and faith schools still remain desirable.

What does baptism mean in 2013? The same as it always has. The water may be warmer and the gifts slightly different but for a Christian believer it is a recreation of Jesus' baptism, following Jesus' instruction to the disciples, washing away original sin (for us Catholics!) and welcoming a child into the Christian family.

For others, its perhaps just an opportunity to mark the arrival of a new baby a few months (or years) after the initial chaos.

Do you think baptism is changing? Do you think its right for 'anyone' to get their child christened? Should there be alternatives? How wrong is it to baptise purely to get a school place? Do vicars and priests need to do more? 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Y9 Vlogging Task

Y9, you are going to attempt to create a vlog of a secret Catholic during the Reformation. You need to record a series of short videos to document the events of the Reformation in England. It can be different people doing each clip.

Some things you may want to include:
  • Rumours of change, protest and reform in Europe including Martin Luther and John Calvin (1517-1520)
  • Henry VIII and his jealousy of the Catholic Church (1520ish onwards)
  • Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon (1533)
  • New Laws (forcing everyone to acknowledge his divorce and remarriage) (1534)
  • Thomas More and his fate (1535)
  • Henry VIII and the monasteries (1536-1541)
  • The future…?
In your group, you may want to split it up and do one bit each. Will you be able to communicate during the half term? Who will put it together? How will you share big files (GoogleDrive/ DropBox?)? Who will put it together? How will they put it together (MovieMaker/ iMovie?)?

Some vlogging tips:

Video Resources:

Download Worksheet: <here>

9L - Due in 13th November 2013

Monday, 21 October 2013

What Do You Talk About?

What do we talk about on Facebook?

This project fascinated me. A large group of participants gave Penn University access to their Facebook to document what they were talking about.

There are lots of words to try and it can be used for any topic or subject area. However I decided to test it with some words connected to RE.

Interestingly Jesus is spoken about by young children, he then takes a dip, before climbing again with age. Charity slowly grows, while God and Faith climb steeply in late teens and into early 20's.

What does this tell us? Not a huge amount. It's good to know that as we get older we continue to talk about Hope. Unless it's always prefixed with NO and the data didn't pick this up!

Try some words of your own, what do you find out?

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Funerals After Abortions

In Holland, a new practice has started becoming more and more popular... above is an image of coffins for aborted babies.

The idea behind this is that parents who are told they are carrying a child with particular illness or disability are given the option (or even encouraged to take) of inducing the pregnancy too early resulting in the termination of the fetus. 

They then can arrange a funeral, place they're child in a coffin and mourn for it.

Do you think this helps the process? Do you think it makes abortions more acceptable? Do you think that it is right for parents to hold a funeral when they have made the decision about the abortion? 

Read more <here>  

Are Dogs People?

Many people call their dog their best friend. There are so many stories about how dogs have shown loyalty, bravery and love to their owners beyond other humans. But is that enough? Does that make them on a par with humans?

Perhaps so.

Genesis makes it very clear that it is humans and humans only that are made in the image of God. As such, they have stewardship over the earth and are essentially 'in charge'. Humans are special and different to other animals; humans have a soul according to many.

However scientists have been performing many tests on dogs to try and establish exactly what goes on in those doggy brains, beside dreams about chasing rabbits!

After spending time training dogs to use an MRI scanner, scientists have discovered "striking similarity between dogs and humans in both the structure and function of a key brain region: the caudate nucleus." This is the part of the brain that determines our likes and dislikes and appreciation for things such as music.

However they have gone on to test this to show that dogs do seem to have a love and attachment to their owners similar to a human child. 

This could cause problems legally as dogs are still considered objects, that can be disposed off in humane ways if need be. Also they are still exploited in certain ways, puppy mills, dog racing etc which could be outlawed if they were differently classed.

This is obviously a long way off, but does such neuroscience start questioning the rights we give to animals?

Do you think this is a sensible idea? How do you feel about pets? Do you need testing to know your dog loves you? Will animals always just be animals?