Saturday, January 02, 2010

Spiritual Capital - Cardiff blog reviving

Now that my journalling of the past four years of city centre redevelopment has come to its natural conclusion, I've had time to start work on reviving another blog, which I started as part of the Spiritual Capital research project. Its purpose was to gather articles of interest from the media and other publication sources concerning relationships between communities of faith and civil society. There isn't an absence of this kind of material, but faced with competition from so many attention grabbing crises, news of this kind can quickly slip out of focus, even though it might be important to those interested in learning what the voice of faith contributes to the debates of today's world.

What re-awakened my desire to re-activate this little enterprise was an email conversation with my dear friend Roy Thomas about the difficulties of engaging faith community members as organ donors. He is Executive Chairman of Kidney Wales and a vigorous advocate of social policy changes that will help shorten the lengthy queue of sufferers awaiting kidney transplants. He is troubled by what he sees as the failure of the church to give a strong enough lead on this issue.

Faith communities around the world, for the most part, take a positive encouraging view of organ transplantation and donation, as evidenced by the Organ Transplants website. Faith communities and their leaders often have valuable things to say on matters of public interest. They don't always get disseminated because few in editorial control of news are interested in something they don't believe the general public are concerned about. Many faith organisations and leaders are now obliged to have their own press officers to present if not actually promote their views, competing with others to ensure they get a public hearing. Reporters used to go out and solicit news and comment from religious heirarchs, but those days are long past.

Decline in the social role of religious authority is linked to decline in interest in formal institutional religion, not least among the media classes who until recently have controlled means of public communication. The emergence of blogging and 'citizen journalism' has changed this. It has made it possible for ordinary people with specific interests to gather news, opinion and information and offer it as a public service through a website - this can be on religion, sport, music, technology, trade or politics, as well as ranging interests of a more dubious kind.

I'm hoping in retirement to find time to scan the news and gather items of interest on religion and civil society for easy referral at the Spiritual Capital Cardiff blog site. Maybe this will help make more visible what faith communities locally have to contribute to wider society, and be of service to others willing to consider letting faith leaders give a fresh insight and a moral lead in the wider world.

No comments: