What is St. Bede Productions?
St. Bede Productions is the umbrella for my blogging, my book writing and my programming work. Named for the Venerable Bede, an 8th century Benedictine monk, liturgist, and biblical scholar, I hope to imitate his good example in producing clear, quality scholarship for the use of the church and the edification of all of us who sit in the pew.
The St. Bede's Breviary is an online platform for praying the Daily Office--Morning Prayer, Noon Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline--as found in the 1979 Episcopal Book of Common Prayer. It enables users to select from a wide range of options permitted by the prayer book as well as additions from our Sarum and broader catholic heritage.
The St. Bede Blog is the continuation of haligweorc. I continue to blog on liturgical, theological, and historical matters that catch my attention. I also use it as a sounding board for new chapters of books I'm writing.
My YouTube channel is a new avenue that I'm exploring as another way to bring thoughts and teachings to a wider audience inside and outside of the church.
So--Why Should I Pay for What You're Already Doing?
Think of it in two ways; the first, an appeal to your self-interest, the second a theological argument.
The Appeal to Self-Interest
First, because I'm juggling my vocation as a theologian with my vocation as a provider. The more these two converge, the more content I can create.
The St. Bede's Breviary is due for a major overhaul. The date algorithm breaks on occasion, producing error messages instead of Psalms, Readings, and Collects. The preference system remains clunky and doesn't work on certain devices. Digitization of the Anglican Breviary and incorporation of its elements as options within the St. Bede's Breviary is still underway--but it takes a lot longer when my time is divided. I've never been happy with the look and feel of the site; I want it to share in the experience of the medieval Books of Hours which inspired through their beauty as well as their content. There are additional Little Hours and devotions that I want to add but haven't due to time.
I used to be fairly prolific on the blog. Now I post in fits and starts. I'd like to be writing more about stuff that matters: talking about the early medieval roots of the liturgy and what we can learn from that, digging up materials from the mystics for our contemplation, discussing how we pray the Bible, identifying and combating classical heresies popping up in the modern conversation, and--of course--spouting off on topics like Communion Without Baptism and Prayer Book Revision. I'd like to get back on a regular schedule of posting material. And because sponsors will allow me to do that, I'll be posting some of my content here for the benefit of those sponsors. In particular, advance material for the books I'm working on will likely show up here, and sponsors will be the ones able to comment and shape the final form the material takes.
Bonus videos not on the broader YouTube channel and longer versions of the public videos will also appear here for the benefit of sponsors.
The Theological Point
When I consider times and places when patronage flourished, it did so in situations of inequity. There were the haves and the have-nots. Patronage enriched the whole system because the have-nots could enjoy the art/buildings/learning created at the behest of the haves. As I look around the Episcopal Church today, I see a similar kind of inequity. Here's a paragraph straight out of the 2014 report on Episcopal congregations:
Over half of Episcopal congregations (58%) are small, family-sized congregations where average worship attendance is 75 persons or less (2013 Parochial Report data). Pastoral-sized congregations make up the next largest proportion of parishes and missions (19%). Corporate-sized congregations with 351 or more in worship represent only 3% of Episcopal congregations.Small parishes can barely afford a priest (indeed, only 29% of the small congregations have a full-time clergy person) let alone afford to commission or buy quality educational materials for Adult Education. A lot of teaching simply isn't happening.
When you support me, you're supporting my creation of materials that assist the whole Church. You're helping people in under-resourced communities to have access to academically-rigorous, spiritually-directed content that present the teaching and practices of the church in an accessible and understandable way. You're helping build up the whole Body of Christ.
But I can't do it without you
I truly believe this experiment--crowd-funding a position as a Lay Theologian for the Whole Church--can work. But it will only work with your help. Thank you for taking the time to consider how you can support this ministry and partner with me to create solid, effective, thoughtful materials for the building up of the whole church.
More About Me
In 2008 I started a blog with the unpronounceable name of haligweorc. I was trying to finish my doctoral dissertation and was getting active in the online world of Anglicanism and the Episcopal Church. My blog gave me an outlet to write about theology, liturgy, spirituality, medieval things I was researching, and church politics. Also, it let me write in something other than academic jargon! You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that other people had an interest in the things that I had to say, and readership increased by word-of-mouth as I became a voice for a thoughtful, creedally orthodox, progressive, liturgical position within the Episcopal Church grounded in the teachings of the Church Fathers & Mothers and in the spiritual practices of our medieval fore-bearers.
I finally earned my Ph.D. in New Testament from Emory University in 2011. I entered the academic job market for one year before coming to the realization that moving my wife and two children around the country, chasing after one-year temporary positions with only a promise of a tenure-track position in my future, was no way to live. Furthermore, my wife was herself searching for positions as an Episcopal priest; I couldn't imagine that we would easily find locations where both of us would be able to find employment. Thus, I continued in the day-job that had gotten me through my dissertation: working as a Vice President of Information Technology at a global financial firm. Blogging, writing, and programming software for the church had to come after-hours and compete with family time.
Despite that, I was able to program the St. Bede's Breviary and write books like Reading Matthew with Monks, Inwardly Digest, and Honey of Souls.
I've increasing found myself called to serving the church through writing and teaching. It's frustrating to have so much to say, but to have so little time to direct towards communicating it. Since my bank job has come to an end, I am trying to focus full-time on writing and teaching for the church. There are very few positions for lay theologians within the church; those that do exist would mean uprooting my wife from the parish where she serves as rector, and my children from their schools. And that's why I'm turning to you... A Patreon pledge will give me the opportunity to focus my gifts on producing the very best content for practical, parish-focused biblical interpretation, historical theology, and liturgical spirituality.