Sunday, 16 December 2007

Working WITH John Campbell

The long slog is nearly over and only today did I learn that once it is over the article will not be locked, as I presumed, but will continue to evolve....and John and I will be responsible for defending the "stabilised" article; protecting the integrity of this thing we have created.

Academically, that is a rather fine thing. If it wasn't so contentious and vulnerable an article, I'd celebrate the fact that others can edit it, but after all we have been through, it worries me. There are so many interested parties and all of them conflict.

There is however an aspect of this that may be a force for good: John and I will have to work together, rather than against each other. It would surprise him to read that the idea pleases me. His concession in accepting my proposed sentence: "Allegations that the JA had too authoritarian a style of leadership and that members were under pressure to commit to life-long celibacy, together with the fact that corporal punishment of children (rodding) was practised, and that community members were required to hand over their material possessions, left them vulnerable to the accusation that they were a cult" was such an act of good faith that I feel like, on the JA's behalf, he has accepted that legitimate concerns might have been expressed in the 1980s. In a way that's all it has ever been about for me.

I am not unduly concerned about the current JA. I don't know it well enough. I probably wouldn't recommend it, but it does seem that some of my greatest concerns are no longer current policy, and that being the case, I feel free now to let the whole thing go.

My only worry is whether I can happily allow the article to evolve now without trying to control it too tightly. For it not to conflict with the agreed re-write, I will have to trust John, and that in itself could be a very good thing. That is due in no small part to Rumiton, who got us here.