Responsible Faith and Positive Social Change
After spending two and a half years writing, researching, and rewriting my memoir, From Blind Obedience to a Responsible Faith, it was finally published in 2010. My immediate reaction was elation for a major accomplishment. It was quickly followed by an experience of post-partum like depression. At age eighty one, I wondered, what am I going to do now that my magnum opus is completed and available on amazon.com and a dozen other dot coms?
Writing my memoir was a unique, rewarding and spiritual experience. Sharing feelings and personal experiences required a degree of self-examination that my academic writing didn’t demand. In some ways I felt like the proverbial drowning person, going down for the third time and his whole life passed before his eyes. Now my life was an open book.
After spending a couple of months: catching up on my reading, taking advantage of all the activities available at the Beatitudes Campus where my wife Jane and I share a two bedroom apartment, writing provocative letters to the editor, that were never published, we took a cruise from Los Angeles to Hawaii and around the islands, with our friends Vince and Philomena Avona. The cruise was a blessing in disguise. The multiple meals, including Afternoon Tea, and bedtime snacks, more than nourished our bodies. The entertainment, the camaraderie of six other fellow travelers as tablemates, the lectures, all helped to nourish my mind. The bonus for me was a spiritual one. Just to be able to relish the magnitude of the Pacific Ocean as we made our way over and back from Hawaii, was awesome. As a desert dweller, a simple thing like sitting on the balcony, awed by the immensity of the ocean, or gazing from the deck of the ship in the evening at the vastness and majesty of the universe and all its galaxies, was a spiritual experience. As I observed our own galaxy, the Milky Way with its over 200 billion other stars, I was overwhelmed with a sense of my small but important place in the cosmic universe. This was indeed a peak experiences. I decided that what I needed to do next was to continue writing. But instead of writing a sequel to my memoir, I decided to create a new website/blog, so I could continue what I started in my book. I was also moved by a quote that I referenced in my memoir:
“You have a duty and an obligation to write, not because you have “the truth” and must share it with others, but because we need to discover truths, and we need all the help we can get, yours included. You write because you have an obligation to do so.” James E. Porter, Audience and Rhetoric
Specifically, it will focus on the following issues, plus those other seekers wish to add:
- The primacy of conscience.
- The difference between faith and beliefs and it’s corollary, Keep the Faith but Challenge the Beliefs—a responsible faith.
- Our world view and image of God. A new cosmology.
- Creation-centered spirituality vs. a fall/redemption spirituality, Native American spirituality.
- Evolutionary Christianity.
- Doctrinal, moral, political and scriptural issues including but not limited to: infallibility, abortion, birth control, sexuality, abuse by clergy, end of life issues, obligatory celibacy for priests, the role of women in the church, including ordination, gay and lesbian concerns, the magisterium, etc.
- The utility of the monarchial structure of the Vatican and how it could be more democratic by incorporating the “sensus fidelium” (the sense of the faithful).
- Positive social change and social action strategies for being an agent of change in individuals, families, communities, nationally and globally.
- Civil discourse.
- The value of contributions of other faith traditions to our dialogue—no one has the corner of the market on truth.