Beth Patterson from The Virtual Teahouse has honored me with this blog award for "nobility of spirit." Her words are some of the nicest things which have said about me either on paper, or by word. Beth - you humble me with your grace - thank you.
From Wikipedia comes this extended definition of the French term "noblesse oblige," which means literally "nobility obligates."
""Noblesse oblige" is generally used to imply that with wealth, power and prestige come responsibilities. The phrase is sometimes used derisively, in the sense of condescending or hypocritical social responsibility. In American English especially, the term has also been applied more broadly to those who are capable of simple acts to help another, usually one who is less fortunate.
In ethical discussion, it is sometimes used to summarize a moral economy wherein privilege must be balanced by duty towards those who lack such privilege or who cannot perform such duty. Finally, it has been used recently primarily to refer to public responsibilities of the rich, famous and powerful, notably to provide good examples of behaviour or to exceed minimal standards of decency."
Beth identified well the heart of this blog experiment, which is all it was in its infancy three years ago, and probably all it remains today. Having the same birthday as Martin Luther I identify in far too many ways with the reformer, turned heretic, turned renegade. Square No More was birthed out of the fires of false accusation against myself, and our wonderful little church. The early goals of the blog were to define my faith in the terms of the marginalized, fringe, and alternative elements of our culture - to make it a living faith in a sometimes dead church world, and so I took my Jesus outside the four walls of institution. Okay, that's not accurate. I actually was forced outside the four walls of religious institution, and was hoping that Jesus was coming with me on this adventure into a strange new world. It has been a wonderful mission, a dangerous mission, a sometimes lonely mission, but each time I turn around, I discover that friends are really still there, and they are cheering me on. Those who have traveled with me have sacrificed much as well, and to them I owe my life: My wife Bev, Jeff and Diane Menasco, Jeff the G-man, Steve Pate, and all The Gathering gang who have been with me through the whole story - Mike and Stef, Rennie, Joanne especially, and all our new found friends from those in the church (like Prof CZ), and those outside (John Armstrong - thanks). This award belongs to you as well!
Beth, you have no way of knowing how much I am honored that the word "Noble" in it's highest meaning as you have attached to it touches me. This is the character trait I respect most deeply.
Now I am called to pass the torch onto to three others, and I call the following people my clan of noblemen (and women.)
John Smulo - he has been silent lately. Maybe this will call him back out. John you are the most gracious blogger I know, and in person you are even more gracious. To you I give the title Noble Blogger, and give you the Noblesse Oblige award. See JJ the Smu at Smulo Space - always thought provoking, occasionally gently provoking, and oh so gently too.
Noblesse Oblige number two goes to the prolific, and definitely provoking Jason Pitzl-Waters from Wild Hunt Blog. Now here I go again. A Christian pastor honoring a Pagan. I will probably get in trouble for it - again. I simply have to give this award to a blogger, who despite his significant differences with me on matters of theology, and religion has been gracious in the times he has mentioned me, and always beneficially critical of we Christians. (Yes, Christians it is true. People can be critical of us for our good, and they can be non-Christians who do so.) Thanks Jason. You are cool. I'd love to have you come hang out with us in Salem sometime.
The first award goes to someone who does not blog - my wife, Bev. She is the noblest person I know. She admits her mistakes quick as lightening. She works as hard as anyone living. She puts up with a dreamer like me, and helps to support a terrible churchplanting-missional habit. I wish she had a blog to put this award on.