Shutting down for the

June 14, 2003

Shutting down for the night. I decided I was not being productive when I realized that I did not have a good collective noun for "BLANK, including New England Congregationalists and broad Churchmen from the middle states, did not understand why people persisted in maintaining denominational boundaries."

For BLANK I need a collective noun that indicates the members of mainstream churches; retaining the parochial assumptions of state churches, i.e. that everyone belonged and the religious organization was responsible for the moral well being (note moral, not religious or physical) of everyone in their geographic area; believing in benevolent organizations; and focusing on Christian union or at least on the shared aspects of the "Christianity in General" that they all believed in but could never define.

I tried "The Spokesmen for Christian union", and "Spokesmen for benevolence" and various combinations of those, but it is not quite right. I am talking this out on the blog in the hope that, even if I don't come up with the right phrase now, hashing it out in type will help me come up with the right phrase later.

This is the sort of a writing problem that I keep running into, finding just the right phrase to make my desired point. It is part of why I take so very darn long to write - I spent 20 minutes or more wrestling with the construction problem and I have taken under 5 minutes to dash out this blog entry.

I need to get this just right because I am moving from a discussion of the several modes of Christian union (Baptist, amalgamating, reconstructionist) to a discussion of Tocqueville and unity in diversity. It will finish with a look at Winthrop Hudson's argument about 19th-century Americans revising the arguments made by 16th century Protestants. I need to indicate that this is many people, that they are at the center of the benevolent movement, and that they are influential but are not as normative as they think they are.

I feel tired and stupid. I am going to go read some easy fiction and try this writing problem again in the morning.

And so to read.

Posted by Red Ted at June 14, 2003 09:46 AM | TrackBack