This post is written with a degree of frustration, and perhaps you will never see it. If you do, it will mean I have come very close to a tough but needed decision about the future of this blog. If not, I will keep a copy of it on file “just in case” the day comes when I do indeed make that assessment.
So what does this have to do with the title? Absolutely nothing whatsoever. However I have noticed that the posts where I mention anything to do with human sexuality are the ones which bring the “hits” and/or even national publicity. Since I am not overly snarky, which is the other approach that is in vogue these days, I only have theology on my side and, very honestly, that does not attract a huge readership, although arguably it certainly should. But we live in the age of sound bites, and studying the Faith in-depth takes time and effort. Blogs may or may not be the main or best place for that, but rather instead the local parish/congregation or a good, solid Bible study group as well as personal study, whether as a single person or family. And that is as it ought to be.
In just over 7 months I have had over 26,000 “hits” along with 117 nations who have at least checked out the “lay of the land” here, and I currently have 530+ followers. I have also posted over 180 times. Those are at least respectable numbers, and I suppose I should be hugely grateful—especially considering that my last blog had exactly 4 followers in as many years and that I was one of them, so in reality I am extremely humbled and thankful for each and every person who has stopped by even one time. But I am also troubled. I wonder out loud if I honestly have a real gift to offer here, other than my titillating past sins or present struggles, to contribute to the overall well-being of the body of Christ? I hope I do but I question it more and more of late.
I was, for example, going to start a Rosary meditation series at one point a few months back, and as far as I can recall there was not even one response from anyone to suggest I should go ahead with it. I posted awhile back on a current issue facing the Church and one former follower wrote to specifically tell me that my words “carried very little weight” on Church matters. Thanks. FYI I was not attempting to play the theologian in any case. I am however a lifelong student of Theology and have been for many years, but the one does not equate the other and I would be the first to surrender that point.
Another follower contacted me and chided my willingness to defend Jefferson Bethke, with whom I have had some personal contact, because in that person’s mind Bethke was directly aiming at the Catholic Church in his viral video on “religion and Jesus” and apparently I should have aimed back and fired hard as so many others had already done. After several contacts with Bethke, in addition to reading his blog, I am firmly convinced that was never once the intent of the 22-year-old young man who obviously loves the same Jesus I do. I stand with my support of him. And if I lose followers in doing so then so be it.
I was also told, in a different situation, while commenting on another very successful Catholic blogger’s page who is in the process of compiling stories about “young guns” in the Church, that he was “thankful for those of us who had gone before to pave the way” for him and his more youthful group who apparently were or are getting ready to take charge after we the old fogies die the hell out. I have never been quite sure if that remark was an honest appreciativeness of my words to him or rather a not-so-subtle way of saying “look old man your time has come and gone, so please step (or roll over) out of the way and let the new guard through.We can take it from here.” Ironically I returned to the Church and was confirmed exactly 2 years before this person. So I was not exactly that far behind him (or ahead of him, depending on how you view it). I felt though, at least to him, that I was on the “passed away” list of Hebrews 11 old-timers who had “gone on” as the great cloud of witnesses.
Then again maybe I am exactly that. It is somewhat ironic that a Church who had almost no room for younger Catholics to explore and grow in the Faith when I was coming up in the 1970s now seems to emphasize that demographic to the detriment of those of us over 50. And it very candidly angers me at times that my words or comments, other than the occasional juicy tidbits about my LGBT active years, are largely ignored and/or dismissed by a newer and more vital generation who frankly, at least seemingly, could care less about my views on the “important stuff.”
So here is the deal, gents and ladies—I do not wish to be known as the “old guard” nor to win some type of Father Harvey (founder of Courage) SSA “look-alike” contest. I am very attentive to the teaching of the Church and make every attempt to follow it in all areas. I am certainly not correct all of the time but I am well-studied and have a deep and abiding respect for both my Catholic and non-Catholic friends and family members. Even so then there is always room, or should be, for honest disagreement in areas that have not been firmly settled by the Magisterium (and I do not mean the new “Magisterium of Nuns” as the great Father Z fondly calls them). I would say, if self-assessing, that I may not be a heavy-weight but at least a middle one on most issues of current interest and discussion. The question in the blogosphere is this—is “middle” worth reading? Maybe, maybe not. I do not know the answer to that one. You, the reader, need to tell me, even if I do not like the answer.
Blogging is hugely fun for me, and writing is a skill I have been trying to develop in my “near-dead latter years” (slight snarkiness there) due to great prodding in recent decades to do so from many and varied sources. Ironically most of those who initially encouraged me now largely pass over my body of work of late, as I have more of a traditional and conservative view on many issues than they do, or at least than I did then during said encouragement.
And then again I have others who think I am too liberal or falsely “progressive” (I hate that term by the way) because I am not on the constant prowl or attack mode against my Protestant Christian brothers and sisters, many of whom I happen to think have much to teach us as Catholics in point of fact—and that we need to frankly listen to them with less defensiveness and more charity. At least that is what I believe.
So I am depending on you here. If I hear from a goodly number of you, honestly suggesting that I continue this blog I will most likely do so. I have a particular figure in mind but I will not say what it is, at least for now. I wish not to influence the results of this informal “poll.”
But if the response is small—I will at least pray, and ask you to do so with me (if you have actually even read this far), about whether this is the best use of an “ancient old man’s” time when youth, snarkism and snappish posts, and the never-ending but ever-popular LGBT rights issues are all but obsessions with the Catholic and otherwise Christian blogging world currently. I do not wish to wait until I have only 4 followers once again before I accept the hint from God that it is time to move on and go play shuffleboard or something. Or to buy a cane. Wait I own 3 already. All decorative so far. Just clarifying.
Thanks for everything. And I mean that to supporters and critics alike. I just need to discern. I started late in the blogging world, and there are at present literally dozens of absolutely wonderful great-quality Catholic voices out there. Many of them cover every topic I do, including “queer Catholic” issues—(I use that term a bit with a hint of sarcasm to be sure, as I have made it very clear numerous times that I do not care for it in the least), and some blogs, such as “Bad Catholic” just as a start, are written by people who have extremely bright futures within the circles of Catholicism and the writing world in general. I cannot begin to compete with any of these nor would I try. I just need to know if I offer anything whatsoever that they do not. So please help me out with your frank feedback. God bless, and I will be listing some delicious alternatives in case I decide to move on. Thanks all.
AS ALWAYS, the list of related articles do not necessarily reflect my own views or those of the Church–they are listed as good starting points for discussion and dialogue only.
- A request to bloggers about the the phrase “Magisterium of Nuns” (wdtprs.com)
- Catholics For Choice (patheos.com)
- A Church That Changes: Margaret Farley and the CDF (womenintheology.org)
- Vatican dogma v Margaret Farley’s Just Love | Lisa Cahill (guardian.co.uk)
- ALL ARE WELCOME: When Homophobes Attack (newwaysministryblog.wordpress.com)
- Sashers And Social Justice – Revisited (catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com)
- HOPEFUL DESPAIR??? A Lenten Reflection of Combat Then Clarity… (catholicboyrichard.com)
- The HHS Mandate – Anti-Catholic, Anti-Religion, Anti-American (foragingsquirrel.com)
- Why I Do NOT Identify As A “Gay Catholic Christian” (catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com)
- Jesus vs. Religion (christcenteredteaching.wordpress.com)
- Religion: Love it and Hate it (tallskinnykiwi.typepad.com)