Just as a refresher, I'd like to give a brief overlook of what Rambling Spirit magazine is about, and its unique role in young adult communities and the new evangelization.
Catholicism is not just about faith and morals -- it's not something that can be confined within our church walls on Sunday -- rather, our religion offers a full worldview that springs from its theology. For the West, Christianity is the foundation of civilization and the mother of the sciences. Rambling Spirit is a publication that aims to demonstrates this fullness of the faith.
Our society is comprised of specializations and specialists, which makes it difficult for any individual to see the big picture, and makes interdisciplinary dialogue difficult as well. There needs to be some adhesive that brings it all together. The Church definitely offers an adequate overarching worldview to serve that purpose, but we believe there really isn't a publication that fully represents Catholicism in its fullness.
The Church is a garden that has been poorly tended for the past few generations. It's no wonder that it isn't attractive to many young people. Many of the reasons for low church attendance among young adults are well-known. Some of them are really practical reasons as well. Young adults are a very transient generation. They're moving from town to town looking for jobs. They're bouncing back and forth between home and college or grad school, and some relocate to be closer to the one they plan to marry, or move somewhere new with the person they just married. For these reasons it's tough for the young adult to settle in and choose a church community.
But just as they're searching for a place to settle down, they're also searching spiritually. This is the analogy behind the name of our magazine, Rambling Spirit. The magazine is for those who are seeking, and whoever is truly seeking will find God, as Christ tells us. In her book Forming Intentional Disciples Sherry Weddell points out that many people who don't go to church are actually more spiritual than we may first think. But to embrace Christian, and more authentically Catholic, spirituality requires an extra step or leap of faith.
In our sensationalist culture, everywhere we turn we are tempted to indulge in our personal desires. Even if we seek deeper spirituality, we are offered plenty of new age movements that tell us to turn inward and really just think more highly of ourselves. Christ requires a sacrifice if we choose to follow him, and so the Gospel is in many ways the antithesis to the "me" generation.
Bringing all those thoughts together, allow me to share with you our mission statement. Rambling Spirit's mission is to celebrate life, engage communities in dialogue, enlighten the wandering truth seeker and encounter Christ through all things in our common quest for truth, goodness and beauty.
In Pope Francis' address to 5,000 journalists in March 2013 he said "This is something we have in common, since the Church exists to communicate precisely this: Truth, Goodness and Beauty 'in person'." We chose "Truth.Goodness. Beauty." as our slogan around this same time in March 2013, but without knowing about the Pope's message to journalists. As a journalist myself, when I discovered the article about this message, it naturally struck a chord. This just goes to show that God truly is there with those who are genuinely seeking him.
And once again, we can see how our relativistic culture is the antithesis to these ideas, because it tells us that truth is whatever you want it to be, beauty is 'in the eye of the beholder' and goodness is whatever feels right to you. So our culture has taken these three universal aspects of God, and has made them blurry and obscure so as to make it harder to find him.
So our magazine's mission in the new evangelization is to give people a clearer view of truth, goodness and beauty, because these are things we are all seeking and in them we can find God. To that end, we cover a wide variety of topics from a Catholic perspective, showing how God can be found working through all of them.
The structure of our magazine is part of our distinct identity. Each magazine has 12 topics broken into three parts: Humanities, Society and Culture. In the Humanities part we cover theology, philosophy, history and literature. In Society we cover politics, economics, science and academics. And in the Culture part we cover arts & media, lifestyle, sports and travel. This is our way of showing how Catholicism has something to say about every dimension of civilization, and how God is reaching out to us through the truth, goodness and beauty in each topic we cover.
This article was first published on ramblingspirit.com March 8, 2014.