The Joy of the World

Dear Harvey,

"Ta athas an domhain orm" - that's Irish for "the joy of the world is on me." I am delighted to tell you how much the fact of our natural human connection means to me. I think of my eight-month-old grandson, his awareness, his natural curiosity, his innocence, his grace, his intelligence, and immediately I am reminded of how you have made this the basis of your understanding of the world. I know when I begin from here that everything else will get sorted out. The natural human connection cannot stand to have a world which does not support it. It is natural that I am asking for assistance and getting help to make the world a safe place for everyone.

The Community goes well here. There are eighteen people in different parts of Donegal actively Co-Counseling, and Sandra Jones is doing an excellent job as a working-class leader.

Seán Ruth is doing a great job of leading middle-class liberation work. He relaxedly trusts the discharge process and leads from a place of connection with other middle-class leaders. Middle-class people are in a key position to shake up the whole edifice of class oppression. We can reclaim our rightful place in the working class and make allies with all classes in order to create a society fit for the natural human connection.

I am leading men here in Donegal. I can see ways that male distress is close to middle-class distress. I am also setting up a middle-class support group, with the assistance of a middle-class woman.

I want to do more work around Protestant distress. What I love about being Protestant is the way we have been encouraged to think for ourselves. I see how this has influenced everything - science, art, industry, economics, even the development of Re-evaluation Counseling. The other side of this is the way we have been led to believe that we can only depend on ourselves, that our existence depends on our own efforts, that we must earn our place, and that there is no such thing as community or cooperation, except on the basis of money. This again is very close to middle-class distress, and I find myself in an interesting place where middle-class, male, and Protestant distresses converge.

I recently led a table at a workshop at which we wrote the bones of a new draft Irish liberation policy, along inclusive lines. It is good to know that a start has been made on English liberation as well, because the class and "national" distresses on these two islands are inextricably mixed together, along with the colonialism.

I continue to lead clergy in the wide world, and I can see where the isolation and middle-class distresses get us. I know there is a job to be done here, and I'll hang about to see if anyone turns up who is interested in working with me.

In the church work there is lots of good fun and cooperation with all ages and genders, especially with children. I continue to support the Bishop in his leadership. I am being interviewed on local radio this week - I'll be talking about Re-evaluation Counseling and the way I use it in my life. In the wide world I do what suits me. I try to hold the direction that "it sometimes happens that a middle-class man thinks clearly, acts rationally, and feels every bit of it."

So that's how things are at present. I'm off now to visit in the local hospital (I'm temporarily chaplain there), and then to cruise around the parishes and in the afternoon to spend some time with my grandson.

Brian Smeaton
Ramelton, County Donegal, Ireland

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00