As Bear has thought about the comments from the last piece, he realized something.
The Bear himself has usually thought of this ephemeris as a “niche blog,” a reliably jaundiced, even clownish take on the current state of the Church. However, it has really never been that restricted.
The Bear has often taken his own view of broader cultural issues. This blog has been pretty eclectic. The Bear has written on all sorts of things, some for fun (at least for him), some on topics he thinks are interesting, overlooked, and useful in understanding the world we are making and why. Discussing doctrine without demographics seems futile, for example. Conducting arguments as if we were all living in 1988 and we are not more reactive, polarized and fragmented in a way we could not have imagined not long ago ignores reality.
There is a lot going on right now. That’s why the Bear has tried (in what he believes is his better work) to write about things in context. You can’t talk about problems in the Church without talking about problems in the West, problems in the world. To be brutally honest, not without being willing to examine your own personality, history and psychology since these are the filters through which you see everything.
This is not to deny there are problems. It is not even to deny there are outrageous things going on. The issue is how we should respond.
The Bear is essesentially a cultural critic who is Catholic. As such, examining Catholic blogging does not seem like some odd departure to him, especially since no one else seems to be doing it. Its response to current Church events has, or should have, given us something new to think about because it is affecting our understanding of the Church. Is the Church an identity or a collection of teachings? (If the latter, who in the wide spectrum of Catholic opinion among opponents of Pope Francis is right?) Not that blogs are some brand new thing, but we are using information in newer ways all the time, including social media.
What is new is the collision between these new ways of using information and this particular, peculiar and challenging pontificate. There is something brand new and largely unexamined happening. That is just as worthy of discussing as anything else, in the Bear’s opinion.
Everyone seems pretty complacent about what the Bear is coming to realize is actually a pretty big deal. It’s a matter of perspective. The Bear is not going to define himself as a Christian or this blog by an opposition to Pope Francis. He never has.
We are not going to blog our way out of this. The Bear is not sure he can even resolve the contradictions to his own satisfaction. (Which would not, in any case, lead him out of the Church.) But we can contribute to the crisis. We might blog a way right out of the Church for ourselves or others by the complex attractions and subtle effects of outrage. That is the forest the Bear sees while everyone else seems to be looking at the trees.
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