Uncloudy Day

Today was grey and wet, unlike the beautiful clear skies we’ve been enjoying lately. I spent part of the day updating my online project, the Gospel Cloud (technically that is – the content won’t change!) which I originally made while training for ordination, when I had to write essays for my contextual theology course, and consequently spent a lot of time using bible browsers. My favourite is Oremus which is easier on the eye than many of the others; but it’s still a bit functional, shall we say. So I had the bright idea of producing my own browser…

(At one level, this was obviously displacement activity, when I should perhaps have been focussing on my essays. In fact, around this time I failed one of my assignments, and was phoned to be told I needed to come in and see the course leader. The irony was that I received the call while I was in the middle of assessing my own tutees at Goldsmiths! If nothing else, this reminded me that we are all students.)

Anyway, for better or worse I decided I would start with the gospels, and as well as keeping to a minimalist aesthetic, I would build my browser so that

a) you could enter into the gospels without prior knowledge of where to look (so the front page is a floating ‘cloud’ of subject headings that you can click on more or less serendipitously)

b) once in, you would not be overwhelmed by text (so each page is a discrete story or event)

c) you could then carry on exploring the text in a non-linear, but connected, way (so each story or event – the technical term is pericope – has links to parallel versions in the different gospels, as well as previous and next events in the same gospel).

It took me ages to build (in-between writing essays, earning a living, etc) but along the way I read every word of each gospel; not that I hadn’t already, but there are different ways of reading, and this is a particular kind of way…  and one which brightened my morning again today.