Patheos, Six Seeds, and Us

Patheos, Six Seeds, and Us February 24, 2012

I wanted to share with our readers a little bit more about our thinking as we transition our blog to the Patheos Faith and Family portal over the next few weeks.

First of all, many may not know what Patheos.com is.  The idea of the site is to present the “marketplace of ideas” with writers and experts from various religious denominations and philosophical backgrounds.  In that way, for me, it is reminiscent of our time at Princeton, where the “Office of Religious Life” had chaplains and activities for people of all faiths, and some for spiritual seekers of no particular faith at all.

In that diverse environment, blessed with a wonderful Roman Catholic chaplain who brought in very strong outside speakers as well, some of the Builders were strengthened in the faith of our childhood and others converted.  We are not relativists — we do not believe that all faiths are equally true to the extent that anything can be true.  We believe in one Holy and Apostolic Church.  However, we also believe that there are good people who are adherents of various faiths, and that these people can participate in respectful dialogue with one another, and that this dialogue contributes to the building of the Kingdom of God.  It is in this spirit that we join the conversation at Patheos.

The Anchoress, Mark Shea, and other Catholic bloggers whom we respect are currently blogging on the Catholic portal at Patheos.  We were invited into the Patheos conversation in a different area — the new Family portal which has been launched in cooperation with Six Seeds*.  The idea on this portal is to present uplifting writing about family life from various faith perspectives, and we are honored to be the first Catholic blog to be featured here.  We are also excited that we will be blogging alongside our college buddy, fellow Princetonian Amy Julia Becker, who shares a Christian perspective on family life that includes raising a daughter with Down Syndrome.

* Six Seeds is a newsletter with uplifting and smart writing about family life, and they have joined with Patheos to create the family portal.

Building Cathedrals began as an extension of our private conversation over email.  As young, Catholic, highly educated women who were staying at home and starting families, we often felt isolated and we relied on one another for support and advice even though we lived all across the country.  Some of us have not even seen each other since college, but our friendship, faith and family life were all strengthened by the fellowship which we had with one another online.  Over time, another friend encouraged us to make this conversation public so that others could participate in our little circle of support.  This, and really only this, has been the goal of Building Cathedrals.  Somewhere along the way, we felt limited by our free blogger template, so we bought the site buildingcathedrals.com.  The husband of a reader whom we had never met volunteered his time to be our tech support, and we have been  so grateful for his time and expertise over the past few years.

This fall, we were approached by the editor of Six Seeds about joining the Patheos portal.  We asked a lot of questions, probably an irrational number of questions, as we tried to discern whether or not to go ahead with the move.  Ultimately, we felt very comfortable with Nancy as an editor, in large part because she wants our blog to keep doing and being exactly what it has been.  We liked the idea of having professional tech support to work out some of the kinks which have been driving the detail oriented Red crazy over the years, and we felt that we would add something useful and important to the conversation with our Catholic perspective.

In the last few months, while we have been working out details with Patheos, our faith, and our way of practicing that faith, has had more media attention than I can recall.  Here we are, six highly educated, happily married, young Catholic women.  We do not use contraception.  We go to confession several times a year.  We pray at home and in Church.  We read the Bible.  We understand that we have a vocation as wives and mothers to build what no one can see, or truly what God only sees.  In this way, and with humility, we compare ourselves to those craftsmen who carved the details into the great cathedrals of Europe, and into our own beloved University Chapel, which houses the Blessed Sacrament.  When we dig past our tiredness to put away a few toys before bed, when we bite our tongue and chose a kind word for our husbands, when we lift one another’s intentions in prayer, when we wipe a tear or a bottom, we are doing important and meaningful work which earns us little earthly praise.  We know that we are called to this little, hidden life, but we also know that someone has to tell the truth about what we are doing.  That unnamed, maginalized 2%* has to speak up for itself.

(*this oft quoted statistic is garbage, BTW, in part because most of us don’t technically even count towards the “2% of Catholics who do not use artificial contraception” because we are pregnant.)

In a very practical way, the help of the Builders, and now of those others participating in our conversation, has been so valuable to me.  We have a lot to work out, and hearing your advice for the day to day logistics, what to do about bed wetting, picky eating or back labor, can be a great support.  I think of it as crowd sourcing to like minded women, many of whom have more years of experience than we do.  Even when the advice is as simple as “relax, he will grow out of it,” it means a lot.

So, here is what I am thinking as we finalize our move to Patheos:

-I hope that you will come with us.  You are an important part of the Building Cathedrals conversation.  Were it not for you, we would just be an email chat among a few old friends.  Believe me, you don’t want to hear about what we keep for our private emails these days — BMama does some really odd stretches while she is pregnant, I can tell you that much!

-I hope that some new people will join the conversation, and that you all will welcome them (I know that you will).  They may not be Catholic, and they may have some questions for us.  They may even challenge us a little bit.  I hope that we will all be civil and try to learn and share respectfully.

-I hope that you will explore some of the other blogs on the Family portal and the Catholic portal and consider subscribing to the Six Seeds weekly newsletter, which has a roundup of some of the most interesting family posts.

-I hope that what has been wonderful about Building Cathedrals, the support and fun and fellowship which it offers to mothers living their vocation will continue and grow.

I am editing this post to highlight some information about where to find us.  The address www.buildingcathedrals.com will be set to automatically redirect to our Patheos url.  So, if you normally come to us by just typing in the website, or off of a link, that will still work.  If you read us by subscription, you will need to change the feed address, and we will announce that once the transition is complete.  Our blog will also be visible on the patheos/family portal, so you will find us there, at the bottom with the other blogs.  I (and perhaps others) will sometimes blog on the What She Read group on the family portal, but I will cross list that on BC so that everyone sees the posts.

Stay tuned — as I write this, Red is working hard on a gorgeous new header, and I know that the site is going to be wonderful!

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