By Rosemary Gray-Snelgrove
To review: the original blog on August 1- Watchful Hope – Can We Maintain This? – contained a long article by Jamie Manson about how those so inclined might best regard Pope Francis. It wasn’t published in A Bigger Circle but was e-mailed to the mailing list, and Comments as they came in were also e-mailed.
The response, as seen in the number of Comments received, has been remarkable in the history of this blog as has the range of opinions. This means to me that people were interested enough to want to join the discussion. Yet, two readers have asked to be removed from the mailing list. This suggests that the blog for some has been hurtful or offensive.
I regret any offence given, of course. I respect the continuum of opinions and belief that exists among people applying thought and intelligence to any issue. Experience colours all our thought and feeling and each reader’s experiences are unique to him/herself. Our responses to each other may seem to line up on ‘sides’ of a question, but on close examination, each is unique.
The Purpose of A Bigger Circle
I have had to look again at the purpose of this blog. It may have changed a little since I inherited it from Joy Connelly, but I don’t think violates her intentions. A Bigger Circle does attempt to include people of different views, to respect those differences, to attempt to address them in subsequent blogs, There has to be room for controversy. HOWEVER, the purpose is not to stir controversy. It is to explore what I perceive as common human dilemmas as we journey along, trying to reconcile mind, spirit, and the world. I also try to find ways of getting beyond where we – individually and/or collectively – seem to be stuck. I love to look under and around and into the dilemmas to find a place where we can at least understand what the different perspectives are. And where they come from (i.e. the experiences that form them).
Religion, Not a Popular Topic
I’m aware that questions about Church and organized religion may push negative buttons for some readers: a real ‘turn-off”. Yet, Church or Temple or Mosque play a big part in the lives of many, and I think A Bigger Circle has to include people of good will, with differences acknowledged and accepted.
Religion is important for those who find it a link to their history and traditions. For some it holds the family together. It is one way in which people give expression to religious feeling. Some find satisfaction for their spiritual yearnings. Church community can provide a lifeline for people otherwise isolated. Great for some, not for others.
And some of the big churches and religious communities have the ear of political leaders. Ignore that at our peril.
Can’t Promise Never to Touch the TopicI assume that readers understand that I am not advocating for religious institutions, nor for people who choose them. But I won’t drop the subject out of fear of offending readers if it seems timely to write about it. And if I do offend you, I’m interested in why people. Believe me, I want to understand differences.
The Comments Below
You have received the Comments that are attached in a series of e-mails over the past 5 days. If you want to read them in sequence, they’re here below.