Monday, 15 March 2010

Venn I Survey

It is often said by our esteemed and slightly frightening Archdruid that I am a bit of a nerd. And, Gentle Readers, who am I to disagree? Especially when Eileen herself is threatening me with the Slazenger of Wrath.
But today it seems that this nerdishness, if indeed it is, has been rewarded. For the Archdruid has asked me to do some serious mapping of the socio-demographics of religious groups, through the power of Venn diagrams.
Accordingly, let us start with a simple example: the preference of some people for the use of pebbles vs tea lights in worship. I think the lesson to be drawn here is pretty clear. Some people like tea lights, some like stones. But lots of people like both. Who are the people that like only stones? My guess is that they are fundamentalist evangelicals on their way to deal with an adulterer or blasphemer.

Let us move outside our beloved Beakerism, and into a more mainstream denomination. Take Methodism, for example. In my experience, Methodism is strongly associated with people singing very loudly, and women who wear hats that look like they were once small furry animals. And indeed that is what the diagram shows: Moving ecumenically on, and considering the existence of the Coptic Church, we can consider the way in which the science of Vennology can shed light onto some of our favourite sayings:  Now let us consider an example seen in many fellowships across the land - the relationship between Worship Leaders, people with no sense of embarrassment, and people who assume fake American accents. Now there are Worship Leaders who speak perfectly normally in the accent of their own area of upbringing. There are those who do not feel obliged to tell you stories about their personal lives and development and their spiritual viewpoints. And... well, let's let the Venn Diagram tell its own story.
Finally I'd like to move to an area where the difference between men and women is quite marked - but not as much as we always realise. Consider fellowships where it is not considered sufficient quietly to cross oneself, or to look respectfully at the floor, ceiling or leader during the closing blessing. Consider those fellowships that expect us to engage with our fellow men, women and Beaker People during this activity. What do they look like in Venn format?
So I hope this little expedition into Venn world has been enlivening for you.  Tomorrow I'll be using the same techniques to investigate the behaviour of ursine animals in an arboreal environment.

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