Okay, the only reason I’m quoting Molly Bloom in this post’s title is because I wanted a snappy way to say yes. But of course, I’m a James Joyce fan, so it only makes sense that Molly would show up in this blog from time to time.
My respondents to yesterday’s post (all seven of you, four more than I had hoped for) all seem to be urging me away from the idea of finding a single focus for this blog, and instead just embracing it all. Which, to be honest, is pretty much what I figured I would be doing anyway. And while Gary (an old friend from my home town church with whom I recently re-connected, thanks to Facebook) might see in Celtic Christianity, Interfaith Dialogue and Emergence Christianity a “trinity of topics,” I think I’ll just go ahead and up the ante — for really, the topical focus of this blog is a trinity of trinities:
- Contemplative topics: Cistercian spirituality, Christian mysticism, and Celtic wisdom;
- Active topics: Interfaith dialogue, emergence Christianity, and current events (particularly eco-justice concerns);
- Miscellaneous topics: Book reviews, family/personal notes, and announcements of upcoming classes, etc.
Perhaps a bit contrived, but I think it begins to shed a bit of light on the kinds of conversations that I find interesting and feel eager to initiate (or participate in).
But wait, there’s more. Something that has really emerged (pardon the pun) in my own spirituality over the last two years has been the question of what the good people of Cambridge University call “radical orthodoxy.” While I am no philosopher and lack their erudition, the Cambridge school’s efforts to embrace postmodernity by reaffirming, rather than deconstructing, traditional categories of church teaching and authority seem, to me, to be where the action really lies. As much as I admire the various emergent voices, I worry that some or all of them could wind up being this generation’s answer to Matthew Fox: who, for those of you too young to remember, was a brilliant visionary in the 1970s but who, alas, ended up wandering so far beyond the consensual/conventional boundaries of orthodoxy that, in the end, he subverted his own message. Hopefully that fate won’t claim too many casualties from the emergent community, but I do think it is a bullet that needs dodging.
So here is the tension: we celebrate tradition, and yet we say or do things that sometimes affirms tradition, sometimes challenges it, and sometimes breaks with it altogether. In our eagerness to embrace contemplative wisdom, just how far into Buddhist territory ought we Christians wander? What is the best way to respond to those who insist that mysticism must be unfettered by all dogma, including the Christian mysteries? Likewise, how do we, who affirm contemplation, respond to those who aggressively denounce it as contrary to the gospel? At what point does Celtic Christianity fall into the trap of being too much Celtic and not enough Christianity? Is Pagan-Christian dialogue even possible? If it is, then where should we be taking the conversation? In a world where children are starving and corporations are copyrighting seeds and the great reefs of the ocean are dying, can we even afford to waste time on something as liminal as most of the topics I have posed for this blog?
These are just a few of the questions I ponder at odd moments of the day, and which are likely to show up on this blog, sooner or later. Just don’t look to me for any answers. I’m much more comfortable posing the question, and then ducking as the missiles start to fly…
But, yes, I said, yes, I will, yes. Yes, I want to write about Celtic Christianity, and Christian mysticism, and the emergence conversation. I want to review books and rant about environmental degradation and subtly make fun of non-vegans (kidding). I want to keep on exploring Benedictine and Cistercian spirituality and I want to get to know the Bible better and I want to understand why I abandoned liberal Protestantism only to become a not-exactly-traditionalist Catholic (or is that a radically orthodox Catholic? I keep confusing those two). And I want to connect the dots that link all of these apparently disparate elements, and be clear about the centrality of Christ to it all. Yes, to all of the above.