On this blog I'd like to invite readers on a journey that explores what it's like to establish and build up a Catholic publication for young adults. While we've alluded to the subject in the past, this post kind of provides a starting point.
An acquaintance recently asked me what Rambling Spirit is about. I handed her our business card and explained that our mission is "To celebrate life, engage communities in dialogue, enlighten the wandering truth seeker and encounter Christ through all things while searching for the true, the good and the beautiful."
This mission statement really does define what we're about, but I've noticed that many people don't make the connection between our ministry and our mission. Since the beginning, Rambling Spirit has striven to be a Catholic voice for the young adult generation; but if you know anything about young adults you know that they are elusive, indecisive, open-minded and reluctant to subscribe to any set of beliefs or ideology. So how do you reach such a generation? How do you speak to a generation that is bombarded by a whirlwind of pop culture? You jump in the whirlwind with them.
There are many general interest magazines that tell the news from some popular, mainstream perspective. One can even say they cover a circumspect and wide variety of topics while giving their reader a fairly broad scope of what's happening in the world. I'm not even going to say that each one puts their own spin on things, because it's impossible to cover everything and a publication will cover what its editorial team considers important in a way that it feels will be relatable for its audience. It's not always censorship to leave things out. Sometimes it's just an editor's way of editing. Also, it's not always propaganda when publications portray a story, incident, or event they way they see it. That's just human. We're all subject to seeing things the way we want to see them.
Rambling Spirit is different, however, in that it is the only publication that provides the Catholic perspective on everything from history to fashion to philosophy to holistic lifestyles. It's a Catholic general interest magazine that takes as broad of an approach as Time, Newsweek, New York Times, and National Geographic magazines. Hopefully, by offering a genuinely Catholic worldview, Rambling Spirit will help people see that all these other publications have their own worldviews as well, and don't have a copyright on truth.
There are also many Catholic magazines that cover ministries and missions of all different sorts. In fact, just about every major order or mission has its own publication, but they all simply share what is going on in their orders or missions. These publications serve a wonderful purpose, but they still leave a gap in the world of Catholic magazines. There are no Catholic publications, at least to my knowledge, that cover all secular topics from a Catholic viewpoint. Even the great Catholic publications like Our Sunday Visitor and National Catholic Register cover mainly what's going on in the Church, or the Church's reaction to current affairs. Some great lifestyle magazines like Catholic Digest tell us what it's like to live the faith in a secular world, but none of these publications bring it all together to proactively offer all of Catholic civilization and culture in one magazine.
Hopefully you can see the gap that Rambling Spirit tries to fill on newsstands and in the back of parishes, or other Catholic establishments. It seems that every other worldview has at least one mouthpiece in the public square, but when it comes to an expression of the authentic culture that has formed and defined Western civilization more than anything else -- the common newsstand is abysmally lacking. When it comes to the arena in which public opinions are won, the Church really has no skin in the game.
I've experienced enough confusion and frustration by listening to what the media and the press have to say about the Church. It's time for the real voice of the Church to check in to the forum, to step in to the conversation. Maybe if a bold representative of Catholicism was standing right among them, the media outlets of pop culture wouldn't gossip about or calumniate the Church so much. I'd like to say Rambling Spirit came from humble beginnings, but now that I've spelled out what we're trying to do you may think we're not so humble after all, and a bit too bold. That we are a grassroots publication still remains true, but we don't compromise our mission when asked what we're about.