HAPPY CHRISTMAS #ChristmasStarts


Happy Christmas to one and all, thought you’d enjoy this festive scene: Jesus-coke

I thought this stable was a little bare, so I added a donkey to it, and ‘the means‘ to help make another cow (using ££ I might otherwise have spent on cards/stamps)!

Resulting from a number of reasons (broke-ness, being abroad for several Christmas’, disliking the consumerist pressure), I limit physical Christmas cards to those I know would particularly appreciate it because not online (usually older relatives!), and my local neighbours as part of building local community … so this is my ‘digital contribution’ to your Christmas seasonal enjoyment (and if you want to read about political Christmas cards, check out Pete’s post on BigBible).

So does Christmas start with a dodgy jumper… or even a dodgy Christmas suit.. or is it all about the penguins?


Once again, I’ve joined in with #adventbookclub, and Brian Draper’s #Advent20 as for me #Christmasstarts with Christ… but what else ‘joyful’ can I find online for you – such as this wonderful nativity scene spotted on Facebook…


This #TommytheTiger take on that John Lewis advert (not forgetting the fuss about the Sainsbury’s advert):

and if you’ve got a little more time, check out The Nativity Factor entries (the one with the most views by 22nd December “wins”, although I think winning a weekend with professional film-makers would be prize enough for me!).

In case you’re wondering, I’m onto the third draft of the book proposal for turning my PhD into a book, so let’s see if we can get it out there next year, and Raising Children in a Digital Age has done really well (went to re-print after 4 months- and no, that doesn’t make me rich!):


I’m looking forward to this Christmas, although not getting overly caught up anything beforehand (aside from trying to meet deadlines), but for those of you for whom Christmas will be a difficult time this year (I’ve been there), there’s some useful advice in this article.

Mereth Veren e-Doled Eruion

Monday Blog Hop (#bloghop via @CathyLeFeuvre)


[See this posted on Cathy’s site]

I haven’t had time to look at what others have written for this, if there’s a particular style, and I’ve been working hard on getting to bed early – so – on a Sunday evening – let me do my usual writing style of whatever comes out of my fingers …

What am I working on?

Well, nearly 4 months ago Raising Child in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst came out, sold 2000 copies in its first 10 weeks, and I’m still doing articles, etc. related to that…

I still have a number of half-planned articles, etc. sketched out/part-written, but in the past week I have finally been putting into place plans that have been swirling around my head for 10 years, when I finished my PhD, which I am now planning on turning into a book. There’s several hoops with image rights, etc. to jump through, but finally I have done a version of the book proposal, had an hour long Skype with my PhD supervisor, which has left me with about 40 things to action…

For CODEC, aside from blogs for BIGBible, I’m working on a book review of Digital Religion (eds, Heidi Campbell), and starting to think about how to structure research around digital culture, specifically discipleship in a digital age, with ideas for a ‘big data’ project built around ‘photoshopped selves’ and self-representation of religious types on social media platforms … and I’d love to put my history skills to use taking a more longitudinal look at digital engagement in/by the church.

Why do I write what I do?

The best material I write is the stuff that I find interesting, or I passionately believe that it will help others. Occasionally I’ll write stuff to get it out of my head (especially if I haven’t got anyone to talk it over with) – but that stuff is rarely for public consumption. I self-describe as a polymath (but people aren’t surprised once they find out what one of these is – a person who’s expertise spans many different subject areas… sometimes known as renaissance woman – it considers all areas of knowledge as important – intellectual, artistic, social and physical … and polymaths are often quickly bored!!)… so cover a wide range of topics. My blogs can therefore feel a bit ‘scrapbooky’ as I collect different things, and my mind weaves them together in strange ways!!!

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Well, that’s a big question, and assumes that I work within a particular genre! As we have just said … that’s not quite true for me! Fundamentally, I can see my academic/historian roots coming through in every piece of writing that I do … especially in looking for the source for things. I was disparagingly told that I was “doing meedja studies” whilst I was doing my PhD – I took that and went on to teach it, and that now affects the kind of stuff I’m involved in now. My work typically works more at the ‘public engagement’ level, which is still not that well valued in academia … but paid off with my book. And, on that note…. most books aimed re: children/the internet flash “danger, danger, danger”, whereas mine says ‘respect the space, but embrace the opportunities’!

How does my writing process work?

When I was doing my undergraduate thesis, I would get up around midday, do shopping/gym/socialising, then settle down to work sometime between 6pm and midnight and work through til about 4-5am… Doesn’t really work so much any more, but I still do my best writing on days where I have had the day before off (and got all the household tasks, etc. done), then sleep in without an alarm, do a few tasks in the PJs, maybe go for a swim, then finally get going around 2pm…

As an overall process, let’s talk about the book. I tracked down book titles on Amazon/university library, then sketched out ideas of the kind of topics that I thought I wanted to write about, asked around what others thought was important, focused in on particular books – read my way through those making a lot of notes, and continuing to scribble new ideas. I then dump all the notes into a word file (I played around with Scrivener, but didn’t really get the hang of it in time) – which is usually excruciatingly long. Print off 2 pages to a page … ID what each section focuses all, coming up with what tends to become my subheadings. Move everything around in a file under those subheadings and start to shape out each section at a time, so I can feel a sense of achievement. I will always start with the bit I feel most inspired to work on – as this gets me going, and soon have the pleasing look that there’s a pile of writing in front of me, and it encourages me to keep going. Introduction/conclusions always written last and together. Always bear in mind what I learned from my PhD – what is the job of this section, being ruthless – treating each word as a bar of gold, but also treating each version as a ‘draft’ so the pressure to ‘produce perfection’ is lifted … As I’m more of a starter-chasing after new things, I then have to grit my teeth to finish things … and am seeking rewards that aren’t food for doing this… much of my reward in the past has been to get on with another piece of work, but I’m trying to learn to focus, clap myself, and do something other than work, before starting the next thing…. One day I’m sure I’ll actually manage that properly!

Now – I need 2 other people who write to answer the same questions next Monday – any takers (maybe a couple of #digidisciple(s)? I’ll link from this blogpost once agreed…

Happy Christmas 2013 from @drbexl

Wishing all and sundry, particularly those I know and care for, a wonderful, restful Christmas, and much to look forward to in 2014.

As has become a bit of a tradition for me (and having spent 5 of the last 7 Christmas’ abroad, wanting to do something for Tearfund, and giving myself some time for #adventbookclub), here’s my Christmas e-card!

I love the way the story of Christmas is told here through Instagram images: 

And this one I enjoy because it puts the story of Mary and Joseph into a modern day setting: 

I enjoyed this poem as to why the Shepherds were told (Seed Resources) … and I’m looking forward to see who wins the Nativity Factor this year too!

Come join us for an Online Carol Service, 2pm Christmas Eve (or it’ll still be online afterwards) – from a range of perspectives/voices!

I know Karate….

Apparently … enough to get my yellow belt this morning in Wado Karate. Here’s the syllabus (along with Pinan Nidan):



Been going for a while at Bannatynes – because I enjoy it – although I’m away so much I keep missing weeks and lots to try and remember! Went this morning for the fun/exercise and to watch others in their grading, and the option was there to ‘have a go’ – so I did …. and was relaxed about it as didn’t matter! Ha ..