Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Women and Children First?

Our Wednesday evening study of Christian Ethics continues with a look at matters of distributive justice. When there is only so much of a good thing to go around, who gets it and why? To give an example of how our notions of distributive justice have changed, it was once the norm to save the lives of women and children before men. According to a Trinity University Sociology webpage
Titanic tragedyWhen the Titanic sunk on April 14, 1912, more than eight out of ten of those who drowned were men. As the recent movie of the event recounted, many of these men had sacrificed themselves so women and children would have seats in the scarce lifeboats. Eighty years later, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette queried its readers about whether they, under such circumstances, be willing to relinquish their seats. Only 35% of the men said they would for unrelated women and children. In fact, only 54% were willing to cede their lifeboat seats for their mothers and 67% for their spouses.
How should one determine who gets a seat on a lifeboat when there are not enough seats for everyone? How are health care professionals to determine who gets a donated organ and who remains on the list? How should our local non-profit groups, such as the Salvation Army or Habitat for Humanity, determine who gets assistance and who does not?

Tonight, we will consider how can we decide particular matters regarding particular goods (such as a heart transplant)? We'll look at the relative merits of simple equality, need, merit, benefit and effort as we consider case studies.


  • At 5/12/2005 12:24 AM, Blogger Ryan said…

    This is not a comment on this post, but a general comment on the idea of this blog from a non-parishoner.

    I think the idea behind the blog is great! Continuing the conversations between Sundays - wonderful idea. It doesn't seem to be taking, just looking at the number of comments received. As a future Episcopal priest who not only blogs but thinks that internet media is important to the life of the church in this day and age, I was wondering if you could offer any specific remarks on why the idea is not taking?

    Are people "too busy"? Do they not know about it? Do they know about it and have issues with putting thier names/ideas on the web? Are they afraid of creating dissenion in the parish? Are they a little unsure about how comment threads are suppossed to work? DO they not find the topics engaging? Is the internet "beyond them"? Or do they just not know how to get here?

    I can imagine all of these working in tandem to produce "0" commentors. What do you think? And how do you think we, as church leaders interested in internet media can encourage this sort of thing?


  • At 5/12/2005 6:56 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    >>Are people "too busy"?<<
    That is a factor in everything we do in the church, but applies less to viewing a blog than to attending a mid-week service or small group.

    >>Do they not know about it?<<
    It's been well advertized within the parish (via our email news list, in our newsletter, in our bulletin, and at our website) and so I don't think this is it in our case.

    >>Do they know about it and have issues with putting their names/ideas on the web?<<
    I have heard that this is an issue for people who read it daily but say they aren't sure they want to put their names to any comments. What they have to say would not be "good enough." I try to encourage them to comment anyway and once the discussion gets going there would be less pressure on any one comment.

    >>Are they afraid of creating dissenion in the parish?<<
    We aren't a contentious place and I have no reason to believe this is it.

    >>Are they a little unsure about how comment threads are suppossed to work?<<
    Definitely a factor for some people and we have had some posts explain that in detail, to little effect.

    >>Do they not find the topics engaging?<<
    That could be true, and is likely a big factor. I have been all over the map in trying to find things of interest.

    >>Is the internet "beyond them"? Or do they just not know how to get here?<<
    Neither of these is likely as our website in general is hugely popular for a website for a church with an average Sunday attendance of 110. Here's current stats:

    Program started on Thu, May 12 2005 at 12:30 AM.
    (Figures in parentheses refer to the 7-day period ending May 12 2005 at 12:30 AM).
    Successful requests: 546,179 (78,260)
    Average successful requests per day: 12,138 (11,179)
    Successful requests for pages: 57,045 (8,035)
    Average successful requests for pages per day: 1,267 (1,147)
    No doubt many of those people are from well beyond King of Peace or Camden County, Georgia, but I know anecdotally that many people who visit our site regularly are parishioners.

    >>I can imagine all of these working in tandem to produce "0" commentors. What do you think?<<
    I think it is still pretty new (since March) and 0 comments encourages 0 comments. We have had a couple of people risk and post comments somewhat regularly, but when that didn't encourage others, it trickled down again. The truth is I'm not sure why it is working at creating discussion and I do wonder how to improve it.

    >>And how do you think we, as church leaders interested in internet media can encourage this sort of thing?<<
    Use it consistently and well and publicize this form of communications. I'm not sure what we can do beyond that. It will fit within people's lives/ needs or not.

    The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

  • At 5/12/2005 8:28 AM, Blogger Pilgrim said…

    Brother Ryan,

    Thank you for your post! You've made me want to write one of my own...

    I would have to agree with all of what you wrote as I'm sure at least one person would fit each category. But, I don't feel comfortable speculating on other's hearts rather my own.

    When posting to a blog I feel a sense of responsiblility; I own the words and I want to make sure I don't misrepresent my beliefs. And that's really the heart of the matter. Am I confident enough to take that chance.

    Ultimately I have to! I can not sit smuggly and idolly by watching the world pass by without taking a chance and saying something, as long as what I'm saying comes from a humble heart. I have to trust Him and if I misstep then He'll help me get back on track.

    It may sound odd but, for me at least, posting on "Irenic Thoughts" is a test of faith. And I want to thank you, Ryan, for helping me take another step!


    Matt <><

  • At 5/12/2005 4:00 PM, Blogger Ryan said…

    King of Peace - Thank you for your response! Maybe if you tried mentioning it explicitly in coffee hour or something, it might get more on people's radar screens. Also I checked out your website - and I don't mean to judge, but in the interest of providing you with an honest outsiders opinion - to me it seems fairly cluttered and it took me a little bit of time to find the mention of the blog. SO, that might have something to do with its visibility.

    Also, maybe the prospect of a daily updated blog frightens some. Especially if you get some comments going, people are gonna want some time to think through and process the thread. Maybe, if you get some regular commentors going, you could try a three times a week update or something?

    I understand people's fears about publicly identifying themselves on the web. There is something very vulnerable about it. I have some very specific feelings about being as open as possible about who I am on my site, so you'll find my full name publicized easily and up front. For those who aren't quite ready for that, try having them choose the name of thier favorite saint or something and make a list available to the parish of who's handle is who's.

    As far as topic choice - what seems to engage the parish members in your teaching sessions? Sometimes what engages people surprises me. I had a posting a couple of weeks ago where I was talking about something completely different, but mentioned the masculine singlular usage of the hebrew word for "man" in on of my posts and the comment thread took off on that paranthetical aside.

    I think consistent use is very important!! Can't emphasize that enough. And publicity, publicity, publicity!

    I wish you all the best. I'd like to stop by this site from time to time and see how thigns are going and maybe comment as well. As far as where I am in the process - I am a second year seminary student at Seabury-Western in Chicago, and am from the diocese of SW Florida - that's right, the southern boy on sojourn in the big city - it's been an interesting expereience.

    Pilgrim - Glad I could help my friend! There is a certain sense of responsiblity one takes when one makes a web posting. But what I think is important to remember is that a web posting is not an academic journal. We're free to make mistakes, and when we do, we should own up to them. I work all sorts of things out through my blog site and its regular readers/commentors. I din't get everything right, but I also never claimed to be doing so. That's important for both me and my readers to remember. Keep taking those steps Pilgrim, and God be with you. I am excited for you!!


    Ryan's Blog - Everyday Faith


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