Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bilgrimage: Whys and Wherefores of This Blog

A regular reader of Bilgrimage has asked me recently via email who sponsors my blog.  

I'm a little bit surprised when questions like that come my way, since I had thought it was evident to anyone looking even at the blog's self-description on its homepage (see "About Me," and then click, "View my complete profile") that Bilgrimage is something sponsored by me, myself, and I.  And by no one else.

I'm not paid by anyone to blog, and that's to my liking, since it means I can say what I think and want to say, even when I know what I think and want to say is inconvenient.  

After I installed a feature to permit readers to contribute to supporting me as a blogger (and I did that after a number of readers suggested I do so), I have occasionally received contributions from a number of readers, and for those, I'm deeply grateful.  I'm not blogging to make money, and I'll say honestly that, as welcome as those contributions are, they're few and far between, and wouldn't anywhere near provide me a salary for blogging.

I expected this when I installed the pay button, and am not complaining.  I am mentioning this only because of the question that has recently come my way about who sponsors Bilgrimage.  And I'm extremely grateful to a number of readers who have contributed and continue to contribute to this blog financially.  One reader sends a much-appreciated donation through the mail every month, and I'm especially touched by his support, because I suspect he does not have a large surplus of riches on which to live himself.  I am touched above all by his repeated insistence that I am doing real theology here, and continuing a vocation thwarted by Catholic church officials.

Even before I installed the pay button, one reader had sent several years ago a truly generous--far too generous--donation, and after I installed the pay button, he sent another such donation to support the blog.  On both occasions, I tried to return his donation, and he refused to accept it back.  I've told him I have placed both donations in a bank account and I consider this his account, which I'm watching and nurturing for him--with deep gratitude that he thinks what I write here is worth reading and supporting.

After I mentioned recently that Fred Clark had listed Bilgrimage at his Slacktivist site as one of the LGBT Christian blogs he recommends, a number of readers also asked me if this is a gay blog--a specifically gay blog.  That question has also puzzled me, since, as the description of the blog to which I point readers above says, in addition to talking about my shared pilgrimage as a Catholic theologian with my partner Steve, I also want to talk here about spirituality and its connection to social activism, challenging the religious right's claim to own God, calling the churches to accountability for injustice to LGBT persons, creating dialogue with anyone who wants to build a more humane world, and stopping bullying of LGBT youth in schools.

I blog regularly about matters of race, politics, women's rights and women's issues in the Catholic church.  I'm very interested in questions about religion and culture, and I sometimes offer readers responses to books I've just read, though I try to keep those postings at a minimum, because I read widely and fear that if I let myself run wild with such postings, I'd bore most of you to tears.

I have posted and will continue to post autobiographical essays here.  I love to write (and think and read) about food, though that's another area where I curb my enthusiasm and don't say all I'd like to say here.

I have tried readers' patience with postings designed to nettle American Catholic centrists, who hold such power in their hands and still refuse to use it to challenge, in direct and honest ways, the abusive behavior of the hierarchy that betrays the best of our Catholic tradition.  And who still refuse to open the power-dealing conversation of the Catholic center to the many voices of "othered" Catholics on whose behalf these centrist powerbrokers claim to speak, without listening carefully and respectfully to us "others" . . . . 

The continued destruction of our environment at a global level concerns me intently, and I read, think about, and often blog about that matter, too.  I don't think we can give enough attention to this issue on which we all rise or fall.

In short, I blog about a lot of things here, because a lot of things interest me.  I'm always stunned when readers--often those seeking to attack me and this blog--tell me that I write about nothing but gaygaygay.  That charge often comes with an attendant charge that I overlook or disdain women's struggles in the Catholic church.  And that attendant charge could not be further from the truth; there's abundant evidence if you read through previous postings at this site that it's a false charge.  I think it's impossible, to be frank, to write about gay issues without engaging misogyny, because homophobia is rooted in misogyny, in my view, and the real target of theocrats and right-wingers as they blast gays is  women, whom the religious and political right want to keep in their place.

I'm saying all of this now just because a number of readers have asked me recently what I'm doing here and for whom I'm doing it.  Since the answers to these questions don't seem to be as self-apparent as I had thought they were, I wanted to respond to them in an open way so that anyone else who may have similar questions can hear my response.  This blog is very much what it purports to be: me on pilgrimage, sharing my journey with anyone who cares to come along.  

For me, one of the grand discoveries of daring to open my life to inspection in this way--to live out loud via a blog--has been that there definitely are many fellow pilgrims sharing my pilgrim path.  I have been enriched by them (by you readers) more than I can say, as I blog here.  And that above all keeps me babbling on here.

I should add in conclusion that all faults of this blog are purely and simply my own--the occasional sharpness, the lapses in charity, the narcissism, the lapses of thought, word, and deed, along with the sins of omission and commission.  I suspect that they'll continue, unfortunately, because I'm a seasoned old sinner set in his ways, who's also growing too gray and too tired to change very quickly.

And I appreciate your patience in putting up with me.

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