Here’s a nice idea (we confess it’s not ours): if you set the bar low, people will go beneath it; if you set it high, people will aim to reach it and even go beyond it.
Well, that’s Adamah. This new online magazine which we now present to the world sets the bar high. We’re not necessarily speaking of intellectual heights – we’re a magazine not a scholarly journal. But we’re setting the bar high in terms of quality of thought and dialogue and openness of heart because these all go together. We’re interested in cultural, social and spiritual issues and thinking which excludes any one of these is setting the bar too low.
Adamah’s big aim is quality of dialogue, to be a space where people of many different views can come together in a respectful, intelligent and even loving exchange. Our enemies are tribalism, polemics and a ghetto-like mentality but even then we’d be ready to bend over backwards to understand people who think in these ways.
The founders of Adamah, though from different Christian traditions, are united in their desire to learn from each other. Likewise, we hope to attract readers, and writers, who might think differently from us. If you’re ready to talk with us, we’d like to talk with you, not to out-argue one another, but to aim at a deeper mutual understanding.
A mentality which excludes the Christian viewpoint from the outset is setting the bar low, because it is simply refusing to consider at least one possible key to the mystery of the human condition. It might be a wrong key. It might even be striving to open the wrong door, but a truly scientific attitude at least has to consider it.
And a truly Christian attitude (and even more so a Catholic one: the very word “catholic” means universal, all-encompassing) must listen to the arguments and concerns of those who would rather Christianity didn’t exist or who see it more as the problem than the solution, whether such arguments come from atheists, sceptics, or followers of other religious traditions.
But believers and non-believers alike (whatever their belief) cannot, must not, remain stuck in an obsessive, pointless arm-wrestle which neither side is ever going to win. We need to relax the grip (it’s getting sweaty and beginning to stink!) and open our arms and eyes to wider issues.
There are people suffering in the world and what are we doing about it? The planet is groaning under the weight of human abuse. Can’t we find a way forward for ourselves and the generations to come?
Christianity believes in a Trinity. This includes the understanding that the key to being a person is found in relationship. We will only truly become ourselves when open to others. Other spiritual traditions also stress mercy and compassion. The Islamic connection, for example, between fasting and almsgiving has much to teach us. Self-denial becomes a form of mercy. Restraining our own cravings, we become more able to turn to the misery of others and to care for our planet’s future, threatened as it is by the excesses of our consumer society. Climate-change activists, peace campaigners and political prisoners can similarly inspire us with the strength of their convictions and the depth of their commitment.
Any publication worth its salt has to be concerned about these issues. And so too, any publication worth its salt needs the pepper of interest in all other fields of human endeavour: the arts and literature, current affairs, family life, sport, science, education, fashion, law, and so much more.
How can we live cut off from these? Adamah is for the chronically curious, who love this wonderful world and want to explore it ever more, whether they see it as a gift from God or they see him as a distraction from exploring all that this world has to offer.
If you’re ready for a good, warm-hearted but sharp-minded exchange of views about everything that makes life worth living, welcome to Adamah. Nothing strident but nothing superficial either. Keep it lively, keep it friendly, open in heart and mind to a whole range of positions. Yes, rooted in a Christian worldview, but a Christianity open to goodness, truth and beauty wherever it may be found and mindful of the oft-forgotten injunction to turn the other cheek to those who oppose you.
And what happens then? Well, they don’t always strike you. They might even speak calmly to you. And you learn to your surprise that you actually have a lot to learn from them.
Listen, don’t shout. Talk calmly, don’t lecture. Laugh, don’t scream. Call this naively idealistic, if you like, but we’re launching Adamah with a hope, and yes a prayer, that it might just work …
Joseph Evans & Luke Wilkinson