A good discourse is that from which nothing can be retrenched without cutting into the quick.
François de Salignac de La Mothe-Fénelon
Scrolling through the world of cyberspace on Facebook, Twitter and other such places of social media, one comes across diverse thoughts on everything from politics, culture and religion. All of which give fueled up emotionally charged opinions, sometimes rooted in facts and other times rooted in someone’s subjective feelings and attitudes, about a particular topic. Everyone wants to express back to someone’s written remarks either agreement or objection with their own remarks. Sometimes these remakes are witty, clever and thought out, other times their reactionary, illogical, bitter and just plain annoying. The tendency is for one to engage back with your own bitter remarks to other bitter remarks. To sit and use your brain to think of something rooted in charity, clarity, and clear reason can be hard when it’s easier and all the more satisfying at times to just fly off the handle.
But if you have a conscience and you actual try to listen to it, you realize that your faith, the holy spirit and good common sense are telling you to ignore your inner anger and pursue a course of civil discourse marked by love. And if you can’t talk with kindness, just walk away. You don’t have to answer everything you disagree with and that is wrong, especially when a conversation is only going to bear rotten fruit and cause someone to go to confession.
I was feeling rather blue one night after reading what I considered some pretty awful opinions about current events. How could I actually engage these online thoughts with reason and charity. It’s not always possible to find well thought out facts as that takes energy, time and research Especially when you work, have ADD and never get enough sleep and get anxiety from trying to take in too much information. Its easy to just say what comes to mind whether its reasonable or not. But your then usually left to reducing what you write to ad homonym attacks. What is a active writer supposed to think and do?
I got my answer the following morning when I was included in a particular post advertising an online conference for writers that think.
Someone knew that I was a writer and thought that this conference would be a good idea for me. At times I’m not sure people know who I am, but here I was listed in a group of popular Catholic writers that included Father Larry Richards, Brandon Vogt, Mark Shea, Gloria Purvis, Michelle Arnold and many more great writers and thinkers.
I must say being invited to an online conference with so many great and wonderful writers lifted me out of my depression of the night before. Someone knew who I was. It was just what I needed to hear at the time.
Just when you think God has forgotten about you, he says HEY, your not forgotten.
What I was invited to was the
Good Discourse Conference January 22 – 24, 2021.
Is this conference for you?
I’m not sure. Let me read on.
You are passionate about the Catholic faith.
Heck yeah. That is why I write for a Catholic blogging site, worked in a Catholic book store, went to a Catholic graduate school, worked at a Catholic TV station and now work at a Catholic nursing home. I would say the answer is yes.
You are actively engaged in conversation with others.
Most definitely. The group Catholic Political Renaissance is one such group I engage in conversations quite often.
You are distressed by the anger and division that has grown among sincere, faithful Catholics and undermines our ability to work together to share the Gospel.
Heck Yes. Everything I wrote above expresses this.
You would like to be part of the solution.
Yes, I would.
You are ready to commit to working with other Catholics towards building a good public discourse – an on-going conversation that doesn’t shy away from the hard issues, that makes room for strong and diverging opinions on matters close to the heart, and yet is conducted with charity, honesty, and intellectual rigor.
YES, YES, YES!
If this sounds like you, A Good Discourse is created to help you self-assess, connect with others, and begin a new work in your life as a public Catholic.
All right lets go.
I was disappointed though that this conference wasn’t this coming weekend as I have it off. I did ask for the following weekend off but am unsure that I will get it.
But this conference seems exciting and right up my alley.
The topics that will be discussed include
- The Ethics of Universal Witness
- Fraternal Correction
- Gossip, Slander, and Calumny
- Challenging Discourse
- The Humble Catholic Author
- Serving the Meek
- Catholic Humor
These are great topics that I want to delve head first into.
And perhaps you will too.
In an upcoming post, I will go over the speakers and those involved with this conference and give you a little taste of who they are and what they write.
We want people who are fearless, but who also are wanting a virtual community that allows for serious examination of ideas and conversations that facilitate stronger faiths and gives us more of the both and we’re all called to be in our ministry. –Sherry Antonetti