Dr Michael Burdett: A scholarly view: How ancient Christian practices can help us live better in technological culture

A scholarly view: How ancient Christian practices can help us live better in technological culture – Dr. Michael Burdett

Wk 6 HT 19/02/2018

Mills Davis has said that “Attention is the limited resource on the internet – not disk capacity, processor speed or bandwidth.” This presentation will diagnose one particular component of technological culture, our online practices, and evaluate how our usage of the internet at present has truncated our attention both in cyberspace and when not online. Utilising the philosophical and social scientific work of Nicholas Carr, Hubert Dreyfus and Sherry Turkle it will be asserted that many experts have found that focus and attention have degraded in the age of the Internet. We “bounce” from one webpage to another and our devices support and valorize increasing multitasking and shallow interaction with the information presented to us and indeed those we meet online. How can we combat this inattention so indicative of our online lives and transform these virtual spaces so that they help support deeper interaction so needed for a meaningful Christian life? I argue that a deeper infusion of contemplative practices, at the core of the Christian spiritual tradition, can help reinvigorate a destitute online presence. Spiritual practices such as fasting, lectio divina and silence can all help provide a counter-praxis to our cyber-habits. Virtual spaces are, in fact, being used in entirely productive ways towards these ends in certain quarters of the Internet. Indeed, more meditative and attention-rich resources are being utilised through such media as the Jesuit’s “Pray-As-You-Go” podcast and the online resource “The Work of the People.” I argue that rather than solely demonizing our present interaction on the Internet as an essential aspect of internet living, Christians can and ought to employ and transform the medium.’

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Ginny Dunn: Life lessons of a Christian scholar: Things I have learned from working 40 years in cancer and palliative care

Life lessons of a Christian scholar:  Things I have learned from working 40 years in cancer and palliative care – Ginny Dunn

HT Wk 5 12/02/2018

In this reflective talk, retired Nurse and clinical specialist Ginny Dunn will speak to us about experiences of caring for cancer patients, and their families, from diagnosis to death, and grieving. Through her 45 year career, in four different countries, she has helped both cancer patient and their medical staff to confront issues around pain and dying. On Monday evening, having practised in this field and research the topic, she will be sharing her thoughts. Ginny Dunn has written on issues that terminally ill patients confront (i.e. Alongside the Person in Pain: Holistic Care and Nursing Practice, 1994) and moved to Oxford in 1985 with her husband Nigel Biggar.

John Donne Words of Comfort and Confidence

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Rev Kate Seagrave: Research Topic: BEYOND THE EU COMENIUS PROJECT: THE SPIRITUAL BACKGROUND TO THE EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY OF JAN AMOS KOMENSKY

Research Topic: BEYOND THE EU COMENIUS PROJECT: THE SPIRITUAL BACKGROUND TO THE EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY OF JAN AMOS KOMENSKY – Rev Kate Seagrave

HT Wk 3 29/01/18

Revd. Kate Seagrave studied linguistics here at Oxford before becoming ordained, leading to her return to work with the postgrads at St Aldates and the Oxford Pastorate. In this research presentation we will get to hear more about an academic hero of hers: Jan Amos Comenius. Was he just an educational theorist or also a noteworthy theologian and hymn writer? Listen to hear more  about the reformation before Luther, various defenestrations and the world first picture book!

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