April 30, 2013 8 Comments
So far… (Just in case you thought this blog wasn’t that widely read.)
Nice to be back.
Sorry if that disappoints some…
April 28, 2013 Leave a comment
Fr Anthony Chadwick reflects:
Fr Stephen Smuts has reflected one of my closely-held convictions, that blogging can be a true Christian ministry… As I have experienced, the blog (or for that matter other social media like Facebook and Twitter) can be used for good or evil. If used for the purpose of pastoral ministry and Christian teaching, then it is excellent and should be encouraged by bishops and religious superiors.
It is spiritually and emotionally wearing, especially when we have to deal with conflict, in an environment where a person would be more evil or lacking in empathy in his or her expression than he or she would dare in a face-to-face situation. In a way, this is reassuring to the priest who asks himself whether blogging really is a true ministry…
You can read the whole post here.
There are more and more of us priests doing it and writing blogs on our own account as well as on behalf of our Churches. Many bishops are only beginning to discover what the Internet really is and what it is not. Church websites are vital, but the dynamism of the blog is what keeps it interesting to follow…
He understands the concept and medium of blogging well.
April 27, 2013 6 Comments
A thorny issue… for some… Priests and blogs. The new media. The room for evangelism is tremendous. Furthering the cause of Christ. For others, this is simply a no-brainer:
“Priests stand at the threshold of a new era… as new technologies create deeper forms of relationship across greater distances, priests are called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever more effectively at the service of the Word…
Give a ‘soul’ to the fabric of communications that makes up the ‘Web’.”
“Blogs and social networks give us new opportunities for the Christian mission” at a time when the Church comes under attacks more often than before, the patriarch said. “Not to be present there means to display our helplessness and lack of care for the salvation of our brothers.”
“Now that social media shows a huge interest, although not always a sound one, in church life, our duty is to convert it for a good cause, to create conditions for young people to know about Christ, know the truth about the life of people inside the Church,”
Speaking of the Anglican Catholics, Fr Ed Bakker, today, asks the question: How should one behave as a Priest on a blog?
With so many Priests being involved in blogging I think it would be good if we had a guideline how to behave , especially when we deal with those, who just happen to disagree with us and make comments, which perhaps are not appropriate…
For the rest, go here.
He concludes with the Collect of Purity. We need a lot more purity and charity, all-around.
Again, the cause of Christ and His Gospel must be furthered. There are souls to be saved!
Blog, Priests, blog!
The Church should be building platforms of social influence that extend well beyond the four walls of the Sunday experience.
All God’s people: Go forth into the digital world and proclaim the good news!
March 14, 2013 1 Comment
Is to retire soon! I get most of my feeds there.
News that service will be taken down sparks online petitions and protest site.
Google is killing off Google Reader, its less-than-mainstream RSS aggregation tool, citing declining popularity.
The service will be taken down on 1 July. In a Google blogpost on the company’s “spring clean”, the firm’s senior vice-president of technical infrastructure, Urs Hölzle, said Reader launched in 2005 to help people track updates on their favourite sites, and it will be retired despite a loyal following.
“Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months,” he wrote.
RSS, which stands for either rich site summary or really simple syndication, became a familiar fixture on news sites in particular, encouraging users to subscribe to updates in their RSS reader via its distinctive orange button.
I should protest too!
BTW has anybody got any alternative aggregator suggestions? Just in case…
December 31, 2012 2 Comments
The annual blogging report for this blog was sent along by WordPress in the morning. So let’s see how we’ve done for the year.
In 2011 we had just under 150,000 visitors, so the blog has grown tremendously. The blog will be exactly two years old tomorrow.
The busiest day was on the 29th February 2012 when there was 5,098 views.
So what is it that people came looking for? Here are the most popular search terms (in order) that led people to this blog:
Where are they from:
Most are from the USA, then Canada, the UK, Australia and South Africa. Hello all!
Of the most popular posts over the last year (2012) are:
Sure, some of these are not always the nicest of subjects… But sadly, those who frequently bemoan the subject matter (and blogs on the whole, for that matter) rarely take the time to look in the mirror - They are, after all, usually the ones making the news…
Who commented most here? Well based on the 1000 most recent comments, thanks and appreciation go to:
But of course, I’m gratefully to every person who has taken the time to come and visit this blog. It’s becoming a popular spot! So let’s see what 2013 has in store for us…
The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective. Unless a man starts on the strange assumption that he has never existed before, it is quite certain that he will never exist afterwards. Unless a man be born again, he shall by no means enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
- GK Chesterton
With blessings, prayers and best wishes. Happy New Year!
December 30, 2012 3 Comments
The opinions expressed here (by the author, i.e. Fr Stephen Smuts) and those providing the comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and/or official position of the Traditional Anglican Communion (in South Africa, or greater) or any other organisation for that matter.
The author is not responsible, nor will be held liable, for anything anyone says in the blog comments section. The author reserves the right however to exclude comments that are deemed to be objectionable and/or otherwise inappropriate.
The content of this weblog is provided for your personal use.
Links to external websites are provided for your convenience and do not necessarily signify an endorsement of the linked content.
Content, sources, information and links here do change over time.
THIS IS A CHRISTIAN BLOG and will reflect as such.
Now, from the Comments Policy:
Things that are sure to get your comment immediately sent into cyber-oblivion are:
1) Insulting a holy, pure and perfect God (that includes His Son).
3) You are free to disagree with me but please: No vulgarities or offensive personal insults directed towards me or others will be tolerated.
Generally I don’t like to police the comments section but it is helpful to remember that you are a guest here. You will be treated as such. Behave as is befitting a guest.
Right? So, let’s get something else out the way while we are at it. It is pointless writing my Bishop about this blog or involving him. This is not an official mouthpiece of the TAC in Africa or abroad for that matter. He has, in the past, occasionally made certain recommendations to me on of the content and/or direction of the blog, which I always appreciate. He is a wise and godly man, and not uncritical either. Often, I post on matters which I am seeing, like the rest of you, at face value. I’m not privy to any inside information or the inner workings of the TAC. I never ask either because it is not my place. Remember, I am but a Diocesan Priest. That is all. I have no special position or standing. I’m on a need-to-know basis, and most of the time, I don’t need to know! I always ask for his permission first, before posting an Ad Clerum, and let me add that I am most grateful to be able to share them with the rest of the world – they are of the most popular and visited posts on the blog – good and edifying stuff. I have always trusted him and his judgment but he is not one to meddle in the blogs. Prayer is more his thing, and he has, in any event, more than enough to do, visiting all the parishes dotted of over Southern Africa (and that over and above his busy work as Secretary to the College of Bishops).
Also, understand that in South Africa, we have a great constitution and enshrined therein is freedom of speech – a key component. We are not a police or totalitarian state (as was witnessed in our sad past). And neither is this blog. Here, people have the freedom and right to communicate and express their own opinions and ideas, unhindered.
What I guard against is pointed out in the comments policy, hate speech and the like, but generally, this is a forum for debate and discussion (albeit, at times, fervent and zealous discussion). What’s the point of deleting and sending off into cyber-oblivion, every comment that I disagree with (and trust me, there are plenty)?
For example, take Ioannes. There have been calls of late to have him blocked. He has never been rude to me, unlike say Mr John Bruce (the first and only person ever to be blocked here), who, seething with hatred, is vicious and lashes out, insulting whoever he feels like regardless. His inconsequential tablodic little blog, without place for comment, reads as a soap-opera, is useless, and serves only to spew out one-sided venom. Now, while Ioannes is passionate and argues well for his chosen position, many have attempted to counter and contended with him. I mostly ignore of his comments simply because he is not one to be swayed. I don’t know who he is or where he is from (in the world), but should he be censored or banned simply because he rubs us up wrongly or because we disagree, fundamentally? I think not. I do, however, wish we (all) could be a little more respectful of and charitable towards one another.
But again, all this has nothing to do with my Bishop. So please, stop fussing, and don’t bother him with the content or comments of the blog (unless, of course, you find some value (if any) in the work being done here, and wish to express your appreciation). He and I understand one another. I have even on occasion asked him if I should close down the blog (blogging can indeed be spiritually taxing). Had he said ‘yes’, then, and I’m being very honest here, I would have done so. Why? Because I am under authority, I respect his judgment in these matters, and I don’t want to be hindered, tied down, or in any way kept from my primary mission: being a good and faithful Priest. Remember: I am a Priest who blogs, not the other way around! All that I do is (all) because of Jesus Christ… And I exist, simply, to honour Him.
October 1, 2012 5 Comments
I’ll be away from from town for the week and blogging will be lite or more likely nonexistent (this is Africa after all, and Internet coverage is still an unheard of technology in many rural areas). I should still be able to take e-mails on my BlackBerry if you want to contact me.
So back in about a week.
September 3, 2012 18 Comments
Fr Anthony Chadwick had a post up this morning entitled, Blogs have their limits. This is so true. He also wrote of often having “reached “crisis” points in my time as a blogger” (and more). It all got me thinking…
First, I want to say that I blog because of Jesus Christ. I wish to honour Him in all that I say and all that I do. I have always maintained that this blog is an extension of my Priestly Vocation. I am a Priest who blogs, not the other way around.
I cannot ignore the plain precepts of Scripture: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Col 3:15).
Secondly, the blog started off as a blog focussing on Biblical Archaeology. I love the Holy Land and the riches of the material remains that are such an affirmation to our Biblical exegesis. I am in the planning process of pursuing a MA in the subject. I had most of a dissertation more-or-less stuck together a couple of years ago when a gang of armed robbers made off with my laptop (info not backed up – my fault) while I was visiting at the Bishop’s (Michael Gill) residence. My loss was not as great as his, but I haven’t quite been able to put the paper back together again. I must focus more on that than the blog… I think.
The blog moved away from that subject into the areas of Anglican / Catholic / Ordinariate Church news reporting and reflection. With that came all the Church politics, and as the late Bishop Trevor Rhodes put it: ‘Churchianity and not Christianity’. Here I don’t mind wading in, but it is exhausting being surrounded by those who think that their particular liturgical rite is the only valid expression or way of worshipping a crucified Jewish Rabbi; and that the rest (those who use a differing Prayer Book or Bible Version) are all lost revisionists doomed to hell.
One of my favourite verses in the Bible is Philippians 3:8, “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ”.
The blog does not define me. I am the Rector of a busy Parish. I am an Emergency Service Chaplain. They call me when people are lying on the road with their heads 300 meters removed from their bodies, when people want to kill themselves, or when they have, and that in front of others. It’s a world filled with pain, trauma, death and grief. And when they call you, you know it is for the sole reason that someone is needed to make sense of the senseless, to visit that place where life, precious life, has been maimed or taken. Here, it makes no difference if you’re an Anglican, Catholic, Baptist, Atheist, or Muslim. Here, it is only the love of Christ that will make a difference – when you point people to the One who can and will be a rock on which to stand when everything else around you is falling apart… He who loved us so much, that He laid down His life for us (John 15:13).
God has further blessed me with a wife, a 12-year-old son and a 9-year-old daughter. I never mention them, but that is only to protect them from all of this. So know that I have mentioned them now, here, for the first, and last, time.
It would seem that now with the closing down of the Anglo-Catholic blog, and before that, the English Catholic, the ‘trolls’ (or ‘ghouls’ as Fr Chadwick calls them) have been ‘roaming around like roaring lions, looking for someone to devour’ (1 Peter 5:8). Some have chosen to settle here. I want to say to them, today, categorically: You are not welcome! So I have determined to start to do some serious policing of the comments section. If you are here for gossip-mongering, brawling, sensation, badmouthing others and the like, then you are in the wrong place. Over the years, many before you have come and gone. I invite you to do the same. If you are here to build, for edification, for being touched by the mercy, grace and goodness of God, and yes, for some honest, serious and scholarly theological and ecclesiological debate, debate that is both mutual and charitable, then you are more than welcome. If you are unsure of the comments policy of the blog, click here.
I have said all these things because I’m not happy with the direction that the blog is taking nor am I happy with the reasons (and intentions) that some people seem to have in coming here. Again, this blog is for edification and the furtherment of God’s Kingdom on earth. Or, perhaps, as Pope Benedict so wisely and beautifully put it, when encouraging his own Priests to blog, ‘to give a soul to the Internet’s incessant flow of communication’. If I can make a small difference for Jesus in the great big world of cyberspace, then I am happy. It is yet another means and medium for proclaiming the Good News.
I expect that some out there may be disappointed in what I have just said. Do you know that this blog gets just on 2000 hits (that’s visits) daily? That figure may dwindle and fall after this announcement, but that’s okay too. I’m not in it for stats. And I’m most certainly not going to let things degenerate to a point where sin is more pronounced than holiness, where more darkness is emitted here than light. I may have to change of the content / subject matter, because Fr Smuts’ blog will not be turned into the next Continuing Anglican soap opera box, or the hottest place to come to when you’re looking for the next titbit of scandal.
I must in conclusion, also thank my Bishop, Michael Gill, for guiding me (and my thinking) in these matters. I can say that I’m really blessed to have his close, godly and prayerful Episcopal oversight.
Indeed, ‘… let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven’ (Matthew 5:16).
PS. It’s just before midnight here in South Africa so please do forgive any typos, and right now, I’m off to bed. I’ll read over all this again tomorrow.
August 4, 2012 17 Comments
Writes Fr Ed Bakker, a regular visitor to this blog:
Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Lord be with you !
I read the blog of Father Stephens Smuts from the TAC in South Africa, I was also indicating on my blog that I was following it. See http://frstephensmuts.wordpress.com/
Whilst I support Father Stephen in His Ministry in the TAC, I just find that the blog is favouring the Ordinariate too much. I am on the other side of the spectrum, I have chosen to remain an Anglican Catholic Priest. I respect the decision of all those who have chosen to cross the Tiber as Anglicans and have become Roman Catholic Catholics. In return I would be overjoyed if these Clergy would respect my decision and that of many of my collegues in the Contiuum.
Have a blessed evening,
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church
To which, I responded:
Father, thank you for this post.
First, I am a TAC Priest. There is at present no Ordinariate here in South Africa.
Second, there is far more Ordinariate ‘news’ out there to blog on. Almost daily, there is some posting or new information/discussion on the Ordinariate as it continues to unfold. On the other hand, there has been no TAC news on the internet for quite some time now, bar the sad passing of Mr Howard Hecht, the St Mary of the Angels Hollywood fiasco, and the ‘sacramental servicing’ of the SSJC which, when the truth be told, was announced by the SSJC. Not a word from the TAC side via any internet (or other) source. So obviously then, blogging would appear to be one ‘sided’.
On the blog, over the above, you’ll find the occasional mention of Anglican and Catholic news greater, and other religious reporting. The ‘falleness’ of man is often before my eyes too.
I regularly post on Biblical Archaeology. As Murphy-O’Conner once put it: ‘Archaeology in Israel never stops’. Such an exciting field, it was the original intent behind starting a blog. I’ve often thought it (safer) to go back to Bib Arch as a sole subject here. But the blog has become very popular. I basically of late get 2000+ visits daily. And I’m always conscious of Pope Benedict XVI who took the initative and encouraged all priests to start a blog, and ‘give the Internet a soul’. Leading fallen man to Christ is our greatest calling.
And, for the record Father, what I ‘favour’ is Christian Unity. That is Biblically mandated (St John 17:20-23). There is simply no getting around our Lord’s words, as much as we would try…
And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.
- St Luke 22:31-32