Unless there is some catastrophic social upheaval on a global scale it is unlikely that the pace of technological change and social expansion will slow down. If we are to swim in a disjointed and ever-changing world we need more than ever to pull on our ability to see things from multiple viewpoints and to adopt different behaviours in different situations. As we hurtle from one encounter to another, the 'self' that we project has to be altered, if ever so slightly, for each one. A trend towards multiplicity, like the shift toward greater dissociation generally suggested by Steven Gold, can be seen, then, as an adaptive response to a changing environment. The wider the experiences we are offered the greater number and varieties of personalities a person is likely to develop.This from Gus diZerega (Wiccan spokesperson engaged in inter-religious dialogue):
(Multiplicity, Little, Brown, 2008, p.79)
We can accomplish [spiritual growth]... in two ways, only one of which I will explore explicitly. First, we can ever more deeply explore the spiritual reality focused on by our own spiritual path. I hope what I write... will help Pagans and Christians (and anyone else reading these words) appreciate the spiritual depths possible within Pagan practice. The second [way], which I will not discuss much, but which this book in its entirety exemplifies, is appreciating the many faces of Spirit, for that which is more than any of us can possibly encompass shines out to us in a multitude of ways. At one time the first sufficed for almost everyone. But in today's pluralistic world this second has become increasingly important as well.Notice both how diZerega describes the interior journey of spirituality in terms of faces, and how, in contrast to the explicitness of the journey undertaken by someone exploring a single (in Carter's terms, perhaps, major) spiritual and religious tradition, the journey undertaken to embrace multiple spiritual and religious traditions is best illustrated implicitly, in the form of a book containing the words of two individuals.
(Beyond The Burning Times: a Pagan and Christian in Dialogue, Philip Johnson and Gus diZerega, Lion, 2008, p.25)
It occurs to me that 'A Whitley Bay Thousand', a name I chose consciously to refer to a thousand people effecting change in the local community, and only afterwards applied more specifically to the thousand posts which will make up this blog, is itself an illustration of multiplicity. Perhaps when the blog is finished, it will be possible to group the posts according to the personalities I have expressed within them?
The blog is also an exercise in communal spirituality: I am hoping that somehow it will play its part in effecting the changes Whitley Bay, perhaps, needs. As such, and I know it sounds high faluting, I hope it will demonstrate, implicitly, the value of a spirituality that recognises multiplicity, and will encourage folk from the Evangelical Christian tradition to which I still consider myself to be attached, albeit tangentially, to take similar risks to me in opening this dominant, and dominating tradition, up to other, at first glance perhaps contradictory, influences.