strictly from memory!
The religion/blog session was interesting and I wish that I had my notes. The session was webcast and I hope that there will be some kind of archive published with at least the IRC notes/links and the stuff that made it into recording. I checked the site, and so far nothing yet, but I think it probably is just that the principal organizers are still doing other stuff.
An interesting observation from a Jewish blogger was that blogging is very much like Talmudic study. My take on this statement was that bloggers, link Talmud scholars, work by taking a bit of verbiage, linking it here, there, bringing in all kinds of potentially relevant stuff, trying to make sense and to rediscover that sense as times change.
Others brought out an idea that the blogosphere is very much like the concept (quotation cited to Martin Luthere, I have no idea if this is real) "Every man his own priest". Very Protestant (American style, Congregational or whatnot) in that there is not a hierarchy. There were questions about how/why blogs in religious areas act to question authority or foment dissent.
I pointed out that most Catholic blogs are not about questioning authority or trying to set up one's own church, but rather about trying to apply the existing authority/hierarchy/belief system to everyday life.
There were also conversations about blogs as spiritual journals, inspirational readings, and if this replaces or supplements more traditional forms of religious or spiritual practice.
I am pretty sure I was the only Catholic in the room. There were Atheists, Wiccans, at least one Jewish gentleman, a Buddhist, and I think some Muslims and assorted others. I didn't hear anyone identify themself as Evangelical or generic Christian.
There were a few who were offended or upset by the term 'godblog' - and there was some discussion about definitions. There was also some conversation about Truth (with a capital 'T') and conviction and how there are many bloggers (particularly in the religious blogosphere) who really do believe that we have possession of an absolute truth and how that truth informs all that we do.
I wanted to talk a lttle bit more about the place of authority but I kept my mouth shut, as there was a LOT going on - all at the same time. It was an ADD environment, with the conversation taking place verbally and through IRC and the IRC person also pulling down links to various sites and posting them in real time to the projection screen. Someone would mention a site, and bingo, there it would be. One person asked if there were any blogs run by pastors or persons on staff on behalf of a church, and I popped up with Catholic Ragemonkey as one I know personally. (It probably should have been Dappled Things - oh well!) I was also able to supply a link to a blog run by a Calvinist (of the Puritan type Reformed Church) for someone who asked. There was also discussion of Little Green Footballs as being emblematic of something, but alas I don't remember what!
Anyhow, if more stuff pops into my brain, or if MS Word mysteriously restores my missing two pages of note, I will post further. And if I get my laptop reconnected to the net, I will cut and paste my raw notes on the library session. I am afraid that the International session is lost and gone forever unless the written notes reappear. I know that it was interesting and that there were a lot of good thoughts drifting around - but it was also right after lunch and the data was going straight from my eyes and ears to my fingers without staying overly long in my brain.
some very random notes
strictly from memory!